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review 2018-08-14 22:42
New Release Review!
How to Breathe Underwater - Vicky Skinner

 

There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page.  
 
Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Kate's life turns upside down after her dad's affair becomes public, it's more than just a relocation. It is the first time Kate really questions whether she wants to keep swimming now that she's not striving for her father's attention.
 
I imagine switching schools after growing up with the same team is difficult in itself, then add the pressure of being "the best", any kid would have a hard time. Kate manages to navigate her new circumstances with less than stellar grace and a few bad choices to makes things more challenging. Crushing on the boy next door is adorable and sweet, but navigating through an existing girlfriend and trying to make new friends does not make it easy. 
 
Kate's struggles with her new family life are an integral part of the story. Divorce is a difficult topic to write about, but Skinner does an exceptional job keeping things just the right amount of heavy without feeling overwhelming. It was important that we see how the divorce is affecting Kate's mom and sister as well. The camaraderie of their shared heartache is a refreshingly honest look at the emotional toll divorce can have on a family. 
 
Michael and Kate's friendship is the bright light in an otherwise tumultuous world. There's one particular scene that stands out in my mind where they sit in the hallway across from each other in the middle of the night eating ice cream. That sweet moment of friendship made me wish I had a neighbor like that, especially as I suffered from insomnia in high school too. I found their story endearing and frustrating at the same time. It is a splendid story fraught with awkward moments, sweet gestures, and a fair amount of hardship. 
 
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a heartfelt look at what strengths lie in moving on and forgiveness. 
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review 2016-09-15 18:13
Between Sinners and Saints - Marie Sexton

This was a really beautiful book, the writing was mesmerizing and the story intriguing, the characters both MCs and secondary were well established and so rich and deep, the slow build and the romance and angst were done wonderfully.

 

Levi was amazing I loved him so much, he was so attentive and compassionate and so patient, his love for Jaime was beautiful and reverently someone once told me that love is not about changing who you are but about becoming a better person for that person you love and that exactly what I felt happened to Levi and it was so heart warming.

 

He leaned over and kissed those lines on Jaime's wrist, as if he could take away the pain of whatever had caused Jaime to make them,..... 

Jaime was a wonderful character his struggles and and fears and pain was so real and he broke my heart but still he was strong and willing to fight for himself and his life and for Levi.

 

His fear was part of him.It wasn't something to be exorcised.It wasn't something to be obeyed.It needed only to acknowledged..........So Jaime accepted his fear.Yes, it was there.So be it.

 

Levi and Jaime were adorable together and their relationship was so intimate

even though they weren't touching for most of the story

(spoiler show)

it is like it wasn't need to achieve that level of Intimacy and love between them and when they get to it, it was so sweet and passionate.

 

Levi and Jaime made me laugh, cry and be angry for them and with them and I loved every minute of it and overall this was an awesome book and I have enjoyed reading it so much.

 

 

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review 2012-02-29 11:46
Whale Talk
Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher T. J. Jones is a smart young man. He lives with his wonderfully supportive adoptive parents, has the perfect girlfriend, and plays some mean basketball. It has taken him a long time to get to a place in his life where he can say he is happy though. It still takes a lot of self-control to suppress his anger because unfortunately, he lives in a town where people aren't exactly open-minded. As part African-American he faces daily racism from some of the Good Ol' Boys in town. He particularly has trouble with the star football player.

When T.J. is approached by one of his teachers to join the swim team he is confused. Cutter High School doesn't have a swim team. It turns out the teacher wants him to start the team and help him recruit other swimmers. T.J. decides to do it, if nothing else, to spite the school athletics group. T.J. is determined to get his swim team to perform well enough during the season so they can all qualify for letter jackets. The group of misfits he convinces to join the team turn out to need a lot more than a letter jacket - they need friendship.

Chris Crutcher packs in so many emotions in this story that you can't help but be sucked into it. He uses his wealth of experience to weave together a complex story of love and the true meaning of family. I listened to WHALE TALK on audio and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The narrator did a fantastic job. This is one of the classics of young adult literature. If you haven't read it yet, now is the time.
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review 2009-08-25 00:00
Carolina sports by land and water; including devil-fishing, wild-cat, deer and bear hunting, &c.
Carolina sports by land and water; inclu... Carolina sports by land and water; including devil-fishing, wild-cat, deer and bear hunting, &c. - There is no way I could resist a book by FLB that took its title from my favorite Yeats poem. There's some Tam Lin woven in as well. An otherworldly, tinkly, dancing story that, as one expects from FLB, manages to work in intense love of Los Angeles among the magical fairy dust. It was a lot of fun, light and frothy and suffused with that especial Southern California magic that Block has built a career on.
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