Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kiss Me Tomorrow ***

Shreve, Susan. Kiss Me Tomorrow. 2006.

Blister (aka Alyssa) and her best friend Jonah are just starting Junior High. He dumps Blister so he can follow around the "cool" kids. These kids aren't the best behaved kids in school and they end up leaving Jonah with a bunch of shoplifted electronics equipment. Blister knows Jonah would have never steal anything. After he runs away, Blister knows where to find him and tries to help him stay hidden. Meanwhile, her mother and her boyfriend decide to move into a house together, which just so happens to be across the street from Jakob, one of the guys that left Jonah to take the rap for the shoplifting.

This was a good middle school title. Recommended for middle school girls.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Klepto ***

Pollack, Jenny. Klepto. 2006.

The year is 1981 and Julie is about to start at the NYC High School for the Performing Arts. She immediately makes friends with another girl Julie that is pretty and seems to have everything. She starts to hang out with Julie where she learns how to shoplift all sorts of things from all sorts of stores. After awhile Julie finds that she is unable to stop shoplifting and thinks she has become a kleptomaniac. She has other problems as well. Her parents are always fighting. Her older sister seems to be a total introvert with no friends. She really likes Josh, but he doesn't seem to like her back, at least at first. Julie becomes afraid that she can't stop shoplifting but she is also afraid Julie will dump her if she stops, which would leave her without a best friend.

My only problem with the book is that it felt more like the author was trying to make a point rather than write an entertaining story. The author blurb even stated that the author attended this high school and used to be a shoplifter, so perhaps the problem was that it was non-fiction packaged as fiction. This isn't to say this isn't a good book, it just wasn't one of the better ones I have read.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sold **** 1/2

McCormick, Patricia. Sold. 2006.

Lakshmi, a 13 year old girl from Nepal, lives with her mother and her step-father. He has a gambling problem and he doesn't work, so that leave the family poor. Lakshmi has asked to be allowed to go to the city to work as a maid like her friend, but her parents have never allowed it. Eventually, they don't have a choice and her step-father sells her to a woman who says she is taking her to the city to be a maid. The truth is that she is taking her to the border of India where she will be smuggled in and then sold into prostitution.

Lakshmi fights against it, but she soon realized giving in and being with the men is inevitable. She realizes soon enough that she will never buy her way out. She is approached by an American who is trying to get her to come to America. She refuses to go because she is told by the others that the Americans are worse and won't treat her as well.

This wasn't an easy book to read, but it was beautifully written and the reader will learn about something they probably know nothing about. Unlike Cut, this book is written like poetry, not in prose. The short sections work for this particular story. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Being Bindy ***

Brugman, Alyssa. Being Bindy. 2004.

This book was just released in the US with a different cover.

Bindy is in 8th grade and things start to change. Her best friend Janey was like a sister to her, always spending lots of time over at her house. Now, she has started hanging out with Hannah. Now Janey has started to dress and act differently. Eventually, she drops Janey altogether. Then, Bindy's father and Janey's mother start to date. Together, the girls agree they have to break them up because they don't want to end up being sisters, but it is really more Janey's idea and it sort of falls apart anyway. Meanwhile, Bindy is trying to navigate HS without friends and also her relationship with her distant mother.

I recommend this book for a middle school audience or perhaps 9th grade in HS. The characters are younger and act like it so older teens would't enjoy reading it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Homefront ****

Gwaltney, Doris. Homefront. 2006.

It is 1941 and Margaret Ann's life is throw into a tailspin. Her sister Elizabeth leaves for college, and Margaret Ann is excited because now she can have Elizabeth's room instead of sharing a room with her cantankerous Grandmother. Out of nowhere, her Aunt and cousin Courtney move in and take her room away from her. They had fled from England because of WWII. Before long, everyone is nice to her and she seems to get all the attention. Her friends and her boyfriend like Courtney more than they like her. This makes Margaret Ann hate Courtney and treat her badly. Elizabeth ends up coming home and marrying her boyfriend Tommy and is soon pregnant. Then Courtney's father is declared Missing in Action. It seems that WWII is changing everything.

I know most people don't like Historical Fiction, so I know this review will fall on deaf ears so to speak. Still, this was a great book, filled with wonderful characters. Margaret Ann is really strong willed and, since she is the narrator, it makes the story interesting. Highly recommended for teens that enjoy historical fiction.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up ****

Craft, Elizabeth and Sarah Fain. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up. 2006.

This is basically a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants rip-off.

A week before college starts, four friends decide to change their college plans in order to pursue their dreams. Instead of staying in Boulder like she had planned, Sophie goes off the LA to pursue acting. Kate, who is a high achiever, decides to give up on Harvard and travel around Europe. Harper, who has been hiding the fact that she was actually rejected by NYU, was still planning to to go to NY. She decides to stay at home and write the Great American Novel. Becca does go to college to escape her dysfuctional family. The story alternates between each character as they each pursue their dreams and figure out what they want from life.

Fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will, of course, enjoy this book, because it is practically the same story. It's a great story about life and following one's dreams. The only annoying part is that each of their stories involves a guy, and those guys seem to help the girls along on their self-discovery. I sort of wish they could have gotten there on their own, but that's just a small quibble. Great choice for advanced teen readers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No Right Turn ***1/2

Trueman, Terry. No Right Turn. 2005.

Three years prior, Jordan was home alone when his father shot himself to death. Now, three years later, he has shut himself off emotionally and only has one friend. His mother has started datting Don, a guy down the street. Jordan isn't happy about it, but he does start to bond with Don over his Corvette Stingray. Because Don is on the road a lot for work, Jordan starts stealin the stingray to impress a girl, which seems to work pretty well. Of course, we all know it's just a matter of time before Jordan gets caught.

I think this book will please male readers. It's not as well written as his previous novels such as Stuck in Neutral, but it was still interesting and worth reading nonetheless.