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text 2018-10-04 04:36
Win a e-book edition of East Van Saturday Night on BookLikes

What people are saying about East Van Saturday Night:


"... your writing is fresh, visceral and intuitively captures the rawness of youth and the dark energy of East Van..." and “...chronicles the past so authentically...”

- Al Forrie of Thistledown Press, an independent Canadian publisher since 1975



“Your stories have merit and I enjoyed the memories they stirred in me. I really enjoyed the chapters with Chris’s attempt at crossing Canada. ... I found East Van Saturday Night to be more like a one story novella with chapters, as the stories are of the same character.”

- Ally Robertson, Content Producer and Social Media director of Access Television


Enter to win one of fifty e-book editions at



Author Amazon Page


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review 2018-09-16 06:45
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly
Missing Abby - L.A. Weatherly

I assume this is set somewhere in England, based on the author's bio. It's written from the perspective of Emma, a 13 (or possibly 14?) year old girl who realizes that she was likely the last person to see her former best friend Abby before she disappeared. She reports their encounter to the police and is forced to think about a time in her life that she thought she'd left behind and that she desperately hopes no one at her new school will ever find out about. Although a part of her wants to try to continue with her life as normally as possible, she can't stop thinking and worrying about Abby, Abby's last words, and the events that eventually drove them apart.

This was aimed a bit younger than the YA I normally read, and some of my issues with it stemmed from the fact that I was too old for this book - definitely not the book's fault. Emma was concerned with how others viewed her in a way that made perfect sense for her age and experiences but that I found extremely frustrating. For example, back when she was friends with Abby, Emma loved sci-fi, fantasy, writing stories, and playing make-believe games in which she and Abby were adventurers fighting against an evil witch named Esmerelda. Some horrible bullying eventually led to her cutting herself off from Abby and attempting to completely remake herself, right down to her hobbies and interests (this isn't a spoiler - it comes up pretty early on). It struck me as a huge and emotionally draining amount of work for something that seemed likely to cause a new set of problems later on.

Although Emma's actions and thoughts often frustrated me, I could see where she was coming from. Every time she considered taking the route I wanted her to take - talking to an adult about her plans to find Abby, talking to her friends about the bullying she went through - something came up that made that route seem, to Emma, potentially more dangerous and/or difficult than the alternative.

This was a more realistic take on a "missing persons" mystery than I was expecting. Emma wasn't smarter than the cops, although she had knowledge, through her past connection with Abby, that turned out to be helpful. Also, there were no 13-year-olds battling adults in adrenaline-fueled climactic moments - instead, Emma mostly battled her own emotions and the reactions of some of Abby's friends.

I appreciated the scene between Emma and her friends near the end, and I liked the way the relationship between Emma and Abby's friends progressed, once I got past Emma and Sheila's horrifically awful first encounters. Unfortunately, one sore spot for me was the way Weatherly wrote about counseling. It wasn't so much Emma's reaction to the idea of it - horror and anger that her family thought worrying about Abby was crazy - but rather that her reaction was never really challenged. One character told Emma that she'd been to counseling before and that it wasn't what Emma thought. In the end, however, Emma's dad decided that it'd be better to just talk and listen as a family more. Readers were never shown that Emma's ideas about counseling were false.

All in all, this was pretty good, if occasionally frustrating and exhausting from an adult perspective. I did wonder how dated certain aspects were, though. This was originally published in 2004. The parental controls on Emma's internet seemed to be extremely strict - at one point, she mentioned that there was really only one site that she could go to that at all interested her. And is it still believable for that many parents and teens to be weirded out by teens who play Dungeons & Dragons and like sci-fi and fantasy?


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-09-09 22:45
The Recess Queen - Alexis O'Neill,Laura Huliska-Beith


Brief Review:

The Recess Queen is about a young girl who is a bully to her classmates. She is not liked very much by her peers because of this, but before the students went on school break another girl was assigned to work on a project with the Recess queen and learned why she does what she does.

Idea of how it can be used in a classroom:

The Recess Queen could be used to show students just because someone is being a bully it doesn’t mean that they are a horrible person and they might be, being treated that way at home. The teacher could have the students write/discuss about a time where someone wasn’t nice to you and it made you want to do the same to others because you needed a way out of it too or have the students write about a time where they were the bully or the bullied.

Reading Level & Leveling System:

Lexile Scale


Pre-k to 2nd

Book Rating:

I would rate this book a 5 because it shows the students the different perspective of why the Recess Queen was doing what she was doing and I think would let the students be a little more understanding of their peers and know that they really don’t know what each other is going through at home and its best to try to understand where each other are coming from.

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review 2018-09-09 22:39
The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up For Others - Bob Sornson,Maria Dismondy,Kim Shaw


Brief Review:

The juice box bully is about a young boy who just moved to a new school and was bullied at his last school and nobody did anything about it, so he decides he’s going to be the bully, so he doesn’t get bullied anymore. And learns a lesson of how to treat others.

Idea of how it can be used in a classroom:

The Juice Box Bully could be used during the first week of third grade teaching students its not okay to bully anyone in the classroom not even if there is a bully. The teacher could have the students come up together to write a pact about how no one in the class will be a bystander to bullying or be a bully and then sign it to show that they are willing to follow the pact.

Reading Level & Leveling System:

Accelerated Reader

3.2; Third Grade Second Month

Book Rating:

I would rate this book a 5 because it is empowering to young students, who could possibly having a hard time being bullied and gives a method to stopping bullying.

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review 2018-09-09 17:47
Bully - Patricia Polacco

Bully is a great book to use during the first few days of school for grades first-fifth. This book is about young students who want to be accepted in school and online bullying takes place during this adjustment of a girl moving to a new school. Online bullying occurs more than people think, so I think it is a very important topic to cover in your classrooms. An idea to go along with this book is for students to identify the theme and the message of the story. Students would enjoy acting out the book to be able to fully grasp the effect it can have on students.


Lexile Level: 630L

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