Don’t get me wrong. I liked Last Night in Twisted River ! I really liked the larger-than-life characters Irving so perfectly crafts; I loved the nonlinear time-line, a brilliant effect when you begin a section and have to readjust to where you think you are, only to realize that you’ve landed elsewhere. Very Vonnegut, like his mentor. And I always forgive Irving’s lengthy, semi-coloned sentences; I am a bad girl there too. I adore Irving’s inimitable writing. He is a true master of the pen, able to take the most implausible premise and give it legs.
Where the God of Love Hangs Out follows a line of Amy Bloom successes, being, once again, wonderfully well-written and filled with humans grappling with life (messy, messy life). In this collection of twelve short stories, some connected – some not, the theme is not only discernible from the title, but also from the characters that "love," though they love poorly.
I have two reasons for reading The Lace Makers of Glenmara, a chick lit novel that I would probably never choose. One, I long to visit Ireland. No ancestors, no stories, it is just one of my bucket list destinations. Two, I am addicted to all things crafty. Wait, I don’t actually complete any crafts, I just read tons of blogs about them and wish everyday that my Delicious bookmarked crafty folder was not mocking me. Chick lit has to be pretty meaty to hold my attention so it was a surprise that I managed to finish The Lace Makers of Glenmara in two evenings.
Perhaps Shandi Mitchell best sums up the premise of her debut novel, Under This Unbroken Sky. In an interview she says it’s about, “two families consumed by the land that they yearned to possess.” Consumed is an understatement.
In 1938, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko returns to the wife and five children he left behind when he was sent to prison. His sister has housed the family, though she has her own struggles with a nasty-piece-of-work husband and two children of her own. Teodor has survived far worse trials than managing the harsh Canadian prairie,
It’s so much better when you have low expectations for a novel. I didn’t really think I’d like the premise of Undiscovered Gyrl, thought it would be forced metafiction. The worst. But Undiscovered Gyrl hooked me quickly and didn’t let me go. Like a train wreck, or better yet - an accident waiting to happen, I stared, unblinking, until the last page.
Katie is 17 and (as the book jacket says) a modern-day Lolita. One minute she’s a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, struggling with growing up, boyfriends, sex and normal teen worries. The next minute she’s a seductress, cold and unapologetic in the recounting of her quests. Through her blog, we watch. We sign on each day to read her next post. We watch her unravel, sense a terrible climax coming. A train wreck. A car crash. Then, one day, she’s gone............ Continue reading the review, along with resources for teaching, on Reading Rumpus.
Evermore: The Immortals, begins with seventeen-year-old Ever having just lost her entire family in a horrible car accident. Now she can see people’s auras and psychically know their life story at the slightest of touch. She used to be a popular, blonde, cheerleader type, now she’s the withdrawn sulky hooded figure trying to make her way in a new school. Then, of course, she meets the boy. Damen Auguste, immortal............. Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.
There are 13 reasons to use Thirteen Reasons Why, 13 supporting resources links, 13 discussion starters, 13 story extending activities, 13 other books about teens struggles and 13 facts about the author on Reading Rumpus.
The Well and the Mine is the story of an Alabama depression-era family told in five alternating voices. Father Albert is a hard working miner and his wife Leta is a practical mother who puts the interest of her children above all else. The story begins as youngest daughter, Tess, observes someone throwing a baby into the family well. Teen daughter Virgie soon joins Tess is trying to find out who that woman might be, while the youngest child, Jack, goes about the business of being a young boy.
Ask a kid what he wants to be when he grows up. What will you hear? Race car driver? Ballerina? Doctor? Astronaut? Historian… Huh?
In Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry, Scott Reynolds Nelson has done for historians what Indiana Jones did for archeologists. While the book appears to explain whether a real John Henry, the steel driving man of folk legend, actually existed, it slyly tells a first person story of Scott Reynolds Nelson, historian.
Reynolds’ personal quest starts as a small kernel of wonder while researching the men who built the railroads. He looks up from his computer screen and a clue pops out at him. From there, Reynolds is off to find out if there was a real John Henry.......... Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.
If the measure of a good story is the desire to turn each next page, then Sweeping Up Glass is a good story. Told in the first person by Olivia Harker, an authentic and relatable voice, and set in Southern Kentucky, in a time when segregation was a fact and civil rights had yet to be spoken of, Sweeping Up Glass is a genre straddling southern, historical, mystery that considers the wounds of hatred, the intricacies of family, and the complexity of pride, loss and redemption.
Assigning a genre to Of Bees and Mist is difficult. Part fable, part magical realism set in an imaginary world, Of Bees and Mist believes in fortune tellers, ghosts and mysterious occurrences while simply telling the chronicle of a family. And though basically a tale of family and marriage, Of Bees and Mist resides pleasingly close to the realm of the fantastical.
Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully is following a trend in children’s literature. Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (previously reviewed here), Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully follows the hand-scribbled diary format. Not that this is a bad thing. This trendy format is especially enticing to reluctant readers and preadolescenct males, two groups in need of reading incentives. Add the convincing voice of Max Quigley to the format and you’ve got an enticing look at bullying from the bully’s point of view.
Max is an unreliable, sarcastic narrator. He thinks that just because he doesn’t physically hit anyone, he’s not really a bully. Max’s idea of a good time is picking on Triffin Nordstrom, or Nerdstrom as Max’s renamed him. But Max’s teasing goes too far causing Triffin’s mother and Max’s parents to form an alliance. Their concocted plan is twofold: educate Triffin in social skills while Max gets help with his slumping math scores. And even though Triffin may be a loner, he’s none-too-thrilled to hang with Max. This comes as a great shock to the ever-popular Max.......Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.