This thriller and family drama centers around 16 year old Willa. The carefully tended bonds that hold her, her mother, her stepfather and her two stepThis thriller and family drama centers around 16 year old Willa. The carefully tended bonds that hold her, her mother, her stepfather and her two stepsisters and their mother together unravel in a matter of days. Willa's birth father commits a heinous crime against his current family, and family secrets spill unchecked.
The pace was fast & thrilling, but also made for a messy book with half-formed characters, half-considered motivations, and unsatisfying conclusions.
The author does not shy away from controversial themes including self-destruction, family disfunction and the nature of evil....more
In young adult novels, coming-of-age stories often are often set in high school hallways. In reality, the formative freshman year is often where teensIn young adult novels, coming-of-age stories often are often set in high school hallways. In reality, the formative freshman year is often where teens take their first unaided steps into adulthood. Rising author Rainbow Rowell tells the story of Cath’s freshman year at a large midwestern university using a clever novel within a novel within a novel treatment. Cath brings more baggage than her laptop and collection of Simon Snow t-shirts to college. Her twin, Wren, is at the same university but is going her own way, leaving Cath to contend with an upperclassman roommate, Reagan, and Reagan’s puppyish boyfriend Levi. Cath needs to deal with Wren’s new lifestyle, her manic-depressive dad and unresolved issues with her deadbeat mom. And she’s under pressure as the secret author of "Carry On, Simon", a fanfiction serial about magical teens followed by thousands. Roswell revives elements from "Eleanor & Park", notably the heartbreakingly hilarious dialogue and keen descriptions of first love. Especially recommended for teens anticipating their next step after high school, older Harry Potter fans and nostalgic young adults.
Read-alikes: Try the caustic wit of YA author John Green ...more
This spot-on teen romance is so funny, so sad, so real, so fantastic. Eleanor and Park might be outsiders, but teens will have no problem relating toThis spot-on teen romance is so funny, so sad, so real, so fantastic. Eleanor and Park might be outsiders, but teens will have no problem relating to these characters. Rainbow Rowell captures the teen perspective perfectly thru Eleanor & Park's view of the world and tricky family and outside relationships....more
Overall, it was OK. I liked the stock characters, as well as the characters that were a bit more unique. The ending did not fit the carefree, adventurOverall, it was OK. I liked the stock characters, as well as the characters that were a bit more unique. The ending did not fit the carefree, adventuring mood of the rest of the book.
YA novel of a family trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive household led by the enigmatically flawed father, told by 15 year old girl KambilYA novel of a family trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive household led by the enigmatically flawed father, told by 15 year old girl Kambili. The plot was just OK, but the setting of contemporary Nigeria is intriguing....more
Young adult fiction novel told in two parts. Part I is told from the perspective of Dana, the outside child of James Witherspoon and Part II is told bYoung adult fiction novel told in two parts. Part I is told from the perspective of Dana, the outside child of James Witherspoon and Part II is told by Bunny, James' legitimate daughter. The girls are contemporaries, growing up in close proximity in 1970's Atlanta....more
Vera Brosgol is an animator by training and trade. She is also the artist behind Anya’s Ghost, a debut graphic novel. Brosgol first thought of the booVera Brosgol is an animator by training and trade. She is also the artist behind Anya’s Ghost, a debut graphic novel. Brosgol first thought of the book’s protagonist, Anya, the “disgruntled, superior schoolgirl”, for another project. She enjoyed the character of Anya and “The rest was written like everything else gets written: pulled out of whatever weird space ideas come from, a weird mishmash of my own life and made-up stuff” (Brosgol on her blog Verabee).
Brosgol was born in Russia, and moved to America as a young child. Similarly, the character of Anya Borzakovskaya is a first-generation Russian-American teen. In the novel, Anya is doing her best to fit into her New England private school. She’s doing a pretty good job of staying under the radar, but then she falls down an abandoned well and befriends a ghost. With a new ghost friend comes new situations, and Anya is forced to decide where her allegiances really lie and to assert herself.
There is so much to enjoy in Anya’s Ghost. First and foremost is the realistic female protagonist. Before Anya meets Emily, the ghost, she is self-absorbed and discontented. She is struggling with her identity: she has a strong desire to fit in, a negative body image, is unsure how to deal with her emotions, and is just starting to assert her independence. When Emily escapes from the well along with Anya, we get an especially good look at Anya’s struggle with interpersonal relationships. She is typically respectful and affectionate to her family, her mother and a younger brother, but has a tendency to shirk family responsibilities. She has a hard time knowing who her friends are, and how to treat them. After Emily gets Anya into a party with her crush, Sean, and his girlfriend, Anya starts understanding that relationships can be complex. Unfortunately, Emily is not enlightened by the same experience
Brosgol’s work as a storyboard artist has taught her to efficiently draw fluid shapes that clearly communicate to her audience. This is especially true as the reader views Anya’s facial expressions and the subtle shifts in Emily’s appearance. The illustrations are rendered mainly in black and white, with subtle shades of grays and blues. This creates an appealing visual experience. It also helps create mood as the story becomes darker.
Finally, Anya’s Ghost presents an unique storyline with supernatural elements, suspense and a plot twist. The clear drawings and steady pacing of this mid-length novel will keep readers turning the pages to find out what happens.
Anya’s Ghost has won a number of accolades. It has popular appeal, winning the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Young Adults, Ages 12-17. The Eisner Awards, sponsored by Comic-Con International to raise awareness and appreciation of comics, have been called the ‘Oscars’ of the comics industry. In addition, it has garnered praise from library professionals. It was named a Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal, a Horn Book Best Fiction Book, and an ALA Notable Book for Children.
This book may have special appeal to young women, and/or teens who have experienced social barriers. This graphic novel is a wonderful addition to any collection serving teen readers.
In introspective verse, Josie Wyatt explores her family and world, and her place in it. Joseph is a seventh grader, shut off from her classmates by heIn introspective verse, Josie Wyatt explores her family and world, and her place in it. Joseph is a seventh grader, shut off from her classmates by her cerebral palsy. Her mom’s impatient manner and hectic schedule leaves little time for Josie. Her gran is her rock, or more correctly to Josie, her elm tree: present, strong and reassuring. This former farm family has had to let go of their 1,000 acre farm in Virginia and reimagine their life on a remaining five-acre spread that blooms with Gran’s gardens. But the starter mansions behind their old farmhouse yield a precious surprise, Josie’s new friend Jordan.
Zimmer’s free verse poetry is replete with plant analogies and references to nature, highlighting Josie and Jordan’s fascination with science and the natural world. The story takes place over the course of a year. The beginning of the book shows Josie following Gran’s lead; the end of the book shows Josie as a determined member of the Wyatt household of women.
The free verse format makes this novel accessible to readers beginning in grades 3-5, while subtle layers of meaning make this novel enjoyable for middle and high school readers, too. ...more