Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Reviews for June

The Dead And The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Another apocalyptic book, this follows Alex Morales after the moon cataclysm, so it's not technically a sequel. But it contains the same urgency and interest. While I don't admire the prose for its beauty, it was a book that I didn't want to stop reading. Like a train wreck you can't look away from, the disaster and subsequent events are compelling and scary.

I would recommend this book for reluctant teen readers. Creepy and frightening. Don't give it to kids prone to paranoia or anxiety though!

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The sequel to The Way We Lived and The Dead and The Gone, This World We Live In unites Miranda and Alex, main characters from the first and second books. As starvation and hopelessness set in, this book doesn't have a happy ending, but it seems real (according to past events in the books). And really, what are you expecting with a book about the end of the world?

I liked it.

Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural - short stories and pieces selected by Marvin Kaye

Okay, how many times have you read a book filled with proclaimed masterpieces? But most of the time, you were thinking, These are masterpieces? Well, this book isn't like that. Every single story is extraordinary. If you can track this book down at the library or a used/out of print bookstore, it's worth the work.

I stole this copy from my brother, who stole it from my parents, so you could say it's making the rounds.

Check this book out, it's super-creepy and fantastic, especially for those interested in the art of the short story.

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed follows the story of Stopthief, later renamed Misha, an orphan living on the streets of Warsaw during WWII. The conflict is horrifying, seen through the eyes of this child who doesn't understand what's going on. It's horrifying anyway, I know, but the naive perspective of the main character creates a strange and compelling objectivity that makes the book difficult to put down.

Milkweed is heart-wrenching, but ultimately a tale of survival. It wouldn't be good for sensitive readers. I highly recommend it.

I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale

This book follows the experiences of Kirby, a teenage English girl abandoned by her mother. When Kirby's mother leaves her in the hands of devout family, her life is suddenly turned upside-down. Her uncle and aunt are part of a religious commune with strict observance of the Biblical lifestyle. They rename her Esther and as she struggles with rules, feelings of betrayal and harsh punishments, she begins to question who she really is. Esther, or Kirby?

I Am Not Esther doesn't have beautiful prose, but the story is interesting. Ultimately a tale of hope and healing, I think teen girls would find it fascinating. It reminds me of The Chosen One, but I would say Beale's book is geared toward an older audience.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

This middle-grade novel follows Esperanza, age twelve, through a series of tragedies. Starting in Mexico, Esperanza must survive the loss of her father and a move to California.

This is a beautiful book. I don't want to give the story away, so I won't. But I recommend it. I will give it to my eight-year old and I think my twelve-year old will enjoy it as well.

Carolina Autumn by Carol Lynch Williams

I love this cover, by the way. I like covers with ART. Those of you who know me know I complain about the whole photography book cover trend (unless there are feet involved...). So this cover is nice. Warm, soft, atmospheric. Very nice. Anyway!

Carolina is fourteen and going into high school. So she has to deal with all of the drama associated with these things. She has a lot on her plate, including a mother with depression and a past family tragedy that is still having a huge impact on Carolina.

This book is short and sweet with some high emotion. One of my main love's for Carol's writing: I can see these things happening. Carol writes fiction, but she creates truth while she does it. Thanks for another beautiful story, Carol!

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