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review 2017-11-06 02:30
Wintergirls - review
Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson

 

Wow. This book is relentless, intense, and depressing...

That being said, it also seems realistic. It chronicles Lia's descent into anorexia and self-harm. Her best friend was bulemic and has died at the beginning of the book. She tried to call Lia multiple times on the night she died, but Lia didn't answer. The guilt Lia feels contributes to her decline. She has been in and out of treatment and knows how to fool the system. Her mother, father, and stepfather don't know how to reach her or what to do to help her anymore. How do you help someone who is determined to hurt themselves?

 

This book is a difficult read and not for the faint of heart. I didn't enjoy it at all, but I did learn from it and I do see the value in it. Thus my 3 star review. Anderson describes what Lia looks like and what she does to her body in graphic detail. So, beware.

 

I think this could be a good book for teens or their parents to read. Teens may see themselves and see hope or realize what could happen to them. Adults can see the pressures that today's teens face on a daily basis. I think books about these issues are important when they show the whole situation in a realistic light. Anderson does an amazing job of getting inside Lia's head and showing us her thought process.

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review 2017-05-04 18:42
Art brings hope, even in war...
Amina: Through My Eyes - Lyn White,J.L. Powers

 

The debris was her canvas, the detritus of war her personal collection of art materials. And the itch in her fingertips drove her to keep creating, no matter how dangerous it was to do it.

- Chapter 1

 

She wanted both freedom and safety but she knew that was impossible.

- Chapter 1

 

Sometimes she forgot the fear, but when she remembered, it was worse than if she'd never forgotten. Because what kind of person could forget that you were living in the middle of a warzone?

- Chapter 8

 

Amina is 14-years old and she lives in Mogadishu. Her home has been damaged in the war. When her father is arrested and her brother is kidnapped by rebel forces, she is left to provide for her pregnant mother and ailing grandmother.

 

Amina is a brave girl who feels vulnerable and abandoned. She creates street art to help deal with her feelings and also to encourage people to feel hopeful. I liked Amina's character a lot. She tries her best to be strong, but she is also vulnerable. The story ends on a note of hope even though there is also sadness.

 

This book is part of the Through My Eyes series that chronicles the lives of children caught up in contemporary conflicts. The themes of courage, determination, and perseverance appear throughout the series. I think young people will enjoy this series and it could help promote empathy and cross-cultural understanding.

 

Amina isn't preachy, and it gave me an understanding of the conflict in Somalia that I never had before. 

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review 2017-04-22 05:12
Two teenage boys figuring out their identity and their friendship...
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

 

This is an amazing book that seems to truly understand the minds of teenage boys trying to navigate life. It appeals to both boys and girls who are trying to figure out their identity and their lives. Dante seems to know who he is from the beginning, but Aristotle (Ari) is constantly worrying about the fact that he doesn't know who he is or what he wants.

 

Some of the students in my class found Ari's angst to be more than a bit annoying, but I really enjoyed this book. I felt for Ari, even though, at times, I didn't really understand why he was so angry. Dante didn't always understand it either. However, I am certain I was just as confused and confusing as a teenager (especially to my mom). And now, I have my own teenage daughter. Her moods are more than a bit unpredictable and confusing; so now I know what my mother felt like.

 

I think teens, especially those questioning their sexuality, will enjoy this book.

 

Recommended to:

Grades 9-12, both boys and girls. 

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review 2016-09-01 02:45
ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

 Mildred D. Taylor

Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Puffin Books (first published October 1976)
ISBN:  0140384510 (ISBN13: 9780140384512)
 
Great story to share with kids nowadays. Set in the rural south in the US, the stories follow 1 family, from the children's point of view, as they deal with racial segregation in the educational system, in the small town as share croppers and landowners. I enjoyed the main character, Cassie Logan, as she learns about family loyalty, holding your head up high, while dealing with some  very real racism. 
 
 
 
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review 2016-03-09 03:32
Imagine living in a museum...
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg

Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away. That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back. She didn't like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes. Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere. To a large place, a comfortable place, an indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place. And that's why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

-Chapter 1

 

I loved this book as a kid. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to live in a museum or even a department store. This book actually holds up over time. It was fun to read and I was rooting for Claudia and Jamie.

Claudia is a strong character and she fits in my grad school paper perfectly. She knows what she wants and she is determined to get it.

 

Recommended to:

Grades 3-5, girls and boys who like a realistic adventure.

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