Monday, March 8, 2010

A classic!

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954; NY: Perigree, 2006).

Bottom line: boys really are savages.

Not that a group of girls would have done any better; still, Golding creates a scathing commentary on so-called civilized society in this classic novel of life on a desert island. When a ship wreck lands the boys in this place, a few short weeks is all it takes to make them into blood thirsty savages. A stunning story that stays with you long after you turn the final page.

An Epistolary Novel for Adults

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (2008; NY: Dial Press, 2009).

This is an absolutely lovely novel for book lovers everywhere. Juliet, a writer in postwar Britain, receives a letter from a man on one of the Channel Islands, Guernsey, that had been occupied by the Germans during the war. He had found a selection of Lamb's essays that had belonged to Juliet and, since her name and address were inscribed in it, feels inclined to write her. Their correspondence along with letters Juliet writes to her publisher and other friends and acquaintances paint an exquisite portrait of life at an interesting intersection. Don't let the odd title put you off--this book is so worth reading, with something for everyone.


Shug by Jenny Han (NY: Aladdin Mix, 2006).

Sweet read about a 12-year-old girl named Annemarie, aka Shug, who is starting junior high and trying to figure out why, all of a sudden, she wants to kiss her best friend Mark, who she's known all her life! Things aren't all that great at home with Mama drinking too much, and Daddy gone all the time on business. All of her friendships seems to be shifting and changing, too. What's a girl to do? Shug tackles her problems with spice and spunk. Great novel for grades 4 & up.

Returnable Girl

Returnable Girl by Pamela Lowell (Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2006).

13-year-old Ronnie has been bounced around foster homes since her mom and brothers left her two years before. Now she's being given a last chance with a new foster mother, a single woman who is a therapist and who really seems to care about helping Ronnie settle down and learn to trust. Ronnie has one friend--an outsider like herself who has a bad home life, but Ronnie would rather be friends with the popular girls, who turn out to be not that great. Ronnie struggles with her old behavior patterns--lying and stealing--and then agrees to help her old friend avenge the popular girls, with catastrophic results. She also faces a life-changing decision when the mother who abandoned her says she wants her back. Should Ronnie believe she has changed, or stay with her new mother, who seems much more trustworthy?
Language, sexual situations. Good for grades 6 & up.


Creepers by Joanne Dahme (Philadelphia: RP Teens, 2008).

When 13-year-old Courtney moves to Murmur, Massachusetts, she first notices the abundant ivy on her new home--and then that it happens to be next door to a cemetery. She quickly becomes involved in helping her new neighbors, eccentric father Christian and teen daughter Margaret, preserve the cemetery from developers and solve the mystery of the rampant ivy, which they say involves a girl who died hundreds of years ago at age 13. A witch, attack ivy, ghostly carving, and voices from the past all make Creepers a spell binding read, suitable for grades 5 and up.


Snap by Carol Snow (NY: Harper Teen, 2009).

A lot of kids will be able to relate to 15-year-old Madison Sabatini's situation in Snap: dad's business goes down the tubes and suddenly the family is living in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Family house sold. Most belongings repossessed. Lying to old friends about what's going on yet somehow trying to make sense of what's happened and unsure about the future. Madison's parents do not handle the situation well at all--c'mon people, COMMUNICATE.

That aside, Madison makes some new friends in her new town and has to solve a mystery about odd, spooky images that are appearing in her photographs. Enjoyable story, though Madison is a bit spoiled and whiny. Some language, sexual situations. Grades 6 & up.