Amber needs a day to herself. She knows her parents and best friend are going to be worried sick thinking she is running away, but it can't be helped....moreAmber needs a day to herself. She knows her parents and best friend are going to be worried sick thinking she is running away, but it can't be helped. Too much has changed and she can't stand the thought of putting on a happy face in front of everyone knowing what she has to do tomorrow.
In her attempt at solitude, Amber meets Cade who also seems to be looking for an escape. They decide to spend one perfect day together - no pasts, no questions, no regrets.
At first, knowing she wasn't going to have to explain anything to Cade was a relief, but soon she realizes she wants to know more about him than they agreed to share. Some of his actions cause her to worry about him and she is torn between allowing him to keep his privacy or convincing him to talk about his life.
Together, Amber and Cade work through their fears in order to face their coming challenges and end their perfect day by going their separate ways - for the time being.
THE DAY BEFORE is a quick read since it is written in verse. Amber's secret is easy to figure out, but Cade's is a mystery up until the end of the book. This book is okay, but I enjoyed her others much better. (less)
Ellen Hopkins does it again. PERFECT, written in her signature novel-in-verse style, follows the lives of four teens as they struggle to live up to th...moreEllen Hopkins does it again. PERFECT, written in her signature novel-in-verse style, follows the lives of four teens as they struggle to live up to the expectations of family, friends, and most importantly, themselves.
Stress leads Cara, Kendra, Sean, and Andre to respond in different ways. Two have secrets from their parents, one stresses to perform athletically, and one is determined to have the perfect body. Their choices lead them down paths they didn't know were possible.
What I love about this book is its connection to IMPULSE. During Cara's sections of the book the reader gets to see what her and her family are going through while her twin brother, Connor, is in Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted suicide.
PERFECT is one of the best novels Ellen Hopkins has written. It also has one of the BEST covers!!! PERFECT is also the first of Ellen Hopkins' books I listened to on audio. Each character has a different narrator which really adds to the enjoyment of the book. I think I'll go back and listen to her others on audio too.(less)
Lizzie and Hope are as close as two sisters can be; so, when Hope walks in on Lizzie with a shotgun in her mouth, Hope is thrown into a world of confu...moreLizzie and Hope are as close as two sisters can be; so, when Hope walks in on Lizzie with a shotgun in her mouth, Hope is thrown into a world of confusion. She can't imagine what would drive Lizzie to such an extreme action.
After Lizzie is taken to the hospital and put in lockdown, Hope is left alone in the house with her inattentive, prostitute mother. She does her best to keep up a normal life even though Lizzie is always in the back of her mind.
In a visit with the hospital's therapist, Hope finds out about a journal Lizzie kept and after seeing how anxious it makes her mother, Hope realizes she needs to find it. She knows her mother did something to make Lizzie attempt suicide, but can't decide what. Her mother has been acting guilty and scared ever since she found out about the journal and Hope knows if her mother finds it before her, no one will ever find out what Lizzie wrote.
GLIMPSE is a heart-wrenching story about the deep love between two sisters and Hope's courage as she finds a way to rescue Lizzie from the hell her life has become. Told in verse, GLIMPSE is a fast-paced story that will grab you as soon as you finish the first page. Carol Lynch Williams handles this edgy topic with grace and finesse. If you enjoyed THE CHOSEN ONE, you'll definitely want to read GLIMPSE.(less)
What would you do to survive? Can one decision change your life forever? TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins tackles these and many other issues. Five teens, all...moreWhat would you do to survive? Can one decision change your life forever? TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins tackles these and many other issues. Five teens, all from different backgrounds, find themselves in places and situations they never could have foreseen.
Eden, a preacher’s daughter, finds true love. When her parents discover the innocent relationship they send her to a home for troubled teens.
Seth is dealing with the grief of losing his mother and a father that is becoming more distant as the days go by – seeing only what he wants to see. There is no way Seth can reveal he is gay to his father. His mother might have understood, but not his father.
Whitney has lived in the shadow of her successful older sister her entire life. Feeling ignored by the ones who should love her, Whitney finds affection and attention wherever she can.
Ginger’s mother is a prostitute and lives with her Grandmother and many siblings (all from different fathers). She has been betrayed multiple times by the woman who should be taking care of her – her mother.
Cody, the All-American kid, always keeps his drinking and fooling around under the radar so he never gets caught, but when his step-father gets seriously ill and his younger brother starts getting into major trouble, it falls to Cody to find a way to make ends meet and hold what’s left of his family together. In trying to be a good guy, he develops a dangerous habit.
Ellen Hopkins utilizes her trademark realistic voice, there isn’t any sugar-coating of the subject matter here, to weave the story of five total strangers together to form a heartbreaking look at what some people are forced to do simply to survive. Ellen Hopkins, once again, comes through for her readers with this spellbinding novel-in-verse.
There are only two complaints: 1) it felt like it took a little too long to get into the gritty part of the story, even though I realize the need to get to know each character prior to their fall into destruction and 2) the end feels like it comes too soon. I felt I should have been able to turn the last page and read more about the fall-out the characters had to go through. Read it and see what you think and let me know.(less)
It has been years since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but she still hasn’t recovered. The three things that give her any peace at all are writing a...moreIt has been years since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but she still hasn’t recovered. The three things that give her any peace at all are writing and playing music, her best friend Claire, and her loving boyfriend Blaze. Sadness covers her like a blanket and prevents her from enjoying some of the new things going on in her life.
Alice’s father has remarried and he and his new wife are expecting a baby. Alice feels nothing but resentment toward Victoria, the new wife, and the baby that is on the way. When Ivy finally does arrive, Alice doesn’t even go to the hospital to see her and doesn’t want anything to do with her once she comes home.
Alice is devastated when her father tells her the whole family is going to visit Victoria’s parents over Thanksgiving break. She is forced to ride the whole way sitting next to Ivy in the backseat acting as a human pacifier in order to keep her quiet.
While Thanksgiving is relatively painless, Alice is ready to get back home. With her father called away for a work emergency, Victoria and Alice must make the drive home alone. A big winter storm is moving into the area fast and Victoria decides to leave a little early to stay ahead of it. Alice takes a Tylenol PM to prepare herself for the ride so she can get some sleep and not be expected to talk to Victoria or take care of Ivy. When she wakes up with the car stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but white, she realizes she may have made a mistake. Maybe she should have been paying attention.
Lisa Schroeder weaves together individual poems to create a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and healing. Alice is forced to take stock of her life and decide what really matters. Working together with Victoria becomes a necessity, not only for their survival, but for Ivy’s survival as well. Alice’s struggle with her family and faith come alive for the reader as we experience everything through her eyes. The relationship between Alice and Blaze is refreshing. The devotion the two have for each other is rare for two teenagers in this day and age. Readers will be brought to tears while reading this incredible story of personal triumph and transformation.
Anke lives in a house full of fear. Fear of her father. His temper can flair at any moment and everyone around him suffers. Anke’s brother and sister...moreAnke lives in a house full of fear. Fear of her father. His temper can flair at any moment and everyone around him suffers. Anke’s brother and sister take the physical abuse and Anke is, for the most part, ignored in the house. Anke feels she has no choice but to sit back and witness what is going on around her. Sometimes she even feels jealous of the attention her brother and sister get, no matter how horrible the attention is.
Anke has one bright spot in her day - volleyball. Against her father’s wishes, she tries out and makes the team. Volleyball gives Anke confidence and a small circle of friends.
At the beginning of the school year, Anke develops a crush on Kyler, a tall, blonde soccer player. She tries to be where he is during the school day and hopes to attract his attention. She also has a confusing relationship with Jed, a boy who lives across the street. Between her family’s dynamics, volleyball, school, and boys, Anke has a lot on her mind. Will she ever get the courage to say something about the abuse at home?
BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE is written in verse. It doesn’t take long to read and although the subject matter is very serious, the point of view is coming from an onlooking Anke so it isn’t graphic. The ending wraps up a little too quickly and there is a loose end that will leave you wondering about one of her relationships.
Jack is back! Miss Stretchberry moved up with him so luckily he has her as a teacher again. It’s time for Miss Stretchberry’s poetry unit again and th...moreJack is back! Miss Stretchberry moved up with him so luckily he has her as a teacher again. It’s time for Miss Stretchberry’s poetry unit again and this time Jack isn’t as reluctant to call himself a poet.
While Jack does write about Sky, his lovable, yellow dog from LOVE THAT DOG, most of his poems focus on a fat, black neighborhood cat that he absolutely can’t stand.
Just like in LOVE THAT DOG, Jack uses poetry to discover his true feelings about some important things in his life; the two most important being his mother and cats.
The nice thing about HATE THAT CAT is the explicit teaching of multiple literary devices. Jack goes through the process of learning how to utilize alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, metaphor, and simile in his writing, with the help of quality examples. HATE THAT CAT would be extremely useful in the classroom.
Poets included in HATE THAT CAT are:
Walter Dean Myers William Carlos Williams Edgar Allan Poe Valerie Worth Alfred, Lord Tennyson Christopher Myers T. S. Eliot
The poems that are referenced throughout HATE THAT CAT are included in the back of the book.(less)
One family - damaged by tragedy. A father who drinks too much; an absentee, professionally-driven mother. Twin girls left in the middle.
Kaeleigh and...moreOne family - damaged by tragedy. A father who drinks too much; an absentee, professionally-driven mother. Twin girls left in the middle.
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins - each with their own deep, dark secret. One daughter attracts the inappropriate attention of their damaged father. The other daughter, usually ignored, takes part in riskier and riskier behavior just screaming to be heard. Both girls suffer in silence, living behind the facade of a perfect, all-American family.
Ellen Hopkins has written another gripping novel in verse that will leave you on the edge of your seat. If you are at all familiar with her work you know to expect the unexpected. Prepare for your jaw to drop when you reach the end of this gripping tale. You absolutely won’t believe your eyes.
Be aware - this is a graphic story. I have Crank in my middle school library, but I WOULD NOT have this one available to them. It is HEAVY!!(less)
Ava loves Jackson and Jackson loves Ava. Her life has improved greatly since she met him and they started dating. So when Jackson dies unexpectedly at...moreAva loves Jackson and Jackson loves Ava. Her life has improved greatly since she met him and they started dating. So when Jackson dies unexpectedly at a school party she is devastated. Even the simplest things like getting out of bed and eating seem beyond her abilities. Her feeling of guilt over his death weigh heavily on her and prevent her from beginning the healing process.
During one of her darkest moments she feels a brush of coldness against her skin. Hope fills her up as she thinks it could possibly be Jackson. Thinking there is a chance that he hasn't completely left her makes her happy, but it also causes her concern because she thinks she might be going crazy. Soon after the first encounter though, she receives proof that Jackson is, indeed, still with her.
After some time with Jackson around, Ava begins to think about everything that happened and how she completely lost the sense of herself while she was with him. When asked what makes Ava special, her reply is, "Being Jackson's girlfriend." She experiences the love of her friends and family which allows her to gain perspective and be able to start the process of healing, even if that means giving up the thing she loves the most.
Lisa Schroeder has written a thoughtful story about love and loss, but with an interesting supernatural twist. Its free verse style makes this such a fast-paced story. You will not be able to stop yourself from turning the page to see what happens next and with it being a book of poems you won't have an excuse not to keep reading until you finish.
Three troubled teens cross paths at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital, after attempting suicide. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all have demons that tr...moreThree troubled teens cross paths at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital, after attempting suicide. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all have demons that try to pull them under and get them to succumb to the temptation to try it again; this time making sure they succeed.
Connor's overbearing family, only concerned about his GPA, or his making the varsity football team, or getting into an Ivy League college, offer no solace during his time of need. Feeling suicide is the only answer after a deeply emotional love affair ends; he takes a gun and points it to his chest before pulling the trigger.
Tony, after many years in a juvenile home for a crime that still haunts him, decides to ease his feelings of despair and loneliness by swallowing a handful of pills, only to vomit them up and be found by the police lying on the sidewalk unconscious.
Vanessa is a cutter. In order to ease her mind in any time of stress she slices her skin with anything sharp enough to do the job. One day, when she was drowning in her blue ocean of sadness, she cuts too deep. She feels herself slipping into the abyss until her younger brother Bryan walks in and finds her. When he calls for their ex-nurse Grandma, she is able to hold off death.
After arriving at Aspen Springs, Connor, Tony, and Vanessa are introduced to a life under constant surveillance, strict routines, and hours and hours or counseling. Immediately the three form a bond, feeling drawn to one another as if they might be able to save each other from death. Together they navigate the regulations of the hospital and make progress toward healing as they tell each other their deepest, darkest secrets; things they won't even tell their counselors.
Ellen Hopkins uses her wonderful free verse style to weave together the story of three troubled teens as they attempt to heal the terrible scars left by their lives. The consistency the author uses when alternating the points of view makes the story easy to follow. Hopkins gives away just enough information that the reader feels a part of the story while still saving a big bang for the end. IMPULSE is a great story that reveals the importance of family during the healing process and is a must read for anyone who knows a teen.