Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life ****

Reinhardt, Dana. A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life. 2006.

Simone is adopted, and has always known this. Now she is older and her parents tell her that her birth mother, Rivka, wants to meet her. Simone has never really been interested in that, but her parents push her to do so. When she does, she learns that Rivka has a terminal illness. Simone learns about Rivka's background and the circumstances surrounding her adoption. She learns a lot about family and herself. There are a lot of other threads going through the story, too to keep things interesting and moving along.

Recommended for anyone that has been adopted as they may identify with Simone's feelings. Also recommended for anyone interested in reading about families and the characters's changing place in their family.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blood and Chocolate ****1/2

Klause, Annette Curtis. Blood and Chocolate. 1997.

I have been meaning to read this book for years. Now that a movie version of the book is coming out this week, I thought now was a good time to finally read it.

Vivian lives with a pack of werewolves. There is a lot of internal strife over who the new leader will be. The younger members have been getting into mischief. They try to not to kill humans because it can get them into trouble. When some humans start to get killed, no one knows who is doing the killing and Vivian thinks it is her. She ends up falling for Aidan, a regular boy. The pack isn't happy about it because they don't want her to date anyone else; they threaten to hurt him if she continues. She doesn't listen and things inevitably become complicated.

This was a great novel. I don't normally enjoy vampire/werewolf type books, but this one was quite good. The characters were interesting and the plot was very rich. Vivian also experiences many emotions throughout the novel and the author describes them quite well so we get not just plot, but feeling as well. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Private ****

Brian, Kate. Private. 2006.

This is yet another new teen series featuring teenage girls. In this series, the girls are living at an exclusive boarding school for girls in New England. The action primarily follows Reed, a girl that has come to the school on scholarship. She goesthere to get away from an alcoholic mother and to try to make something of herself. Once she gets there, she is intrigued by The Billings Girls, an exclusive group of girls that live in a special dorm by invitation only. Amazingly, the group seems to take a liking to her and she thinks she might have a chance at getting invited as an official member of the group. It seems that membership means following a set of rules and doing things she might not want to do, and she wonders if it is really worth it.

This series is recommended for any fans of the other series circulating around now.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lush ****

Friend, Natasha. Lush. 2006.

Sam's father is an alcoholic. She is afraid to bring people home because of his erratic behavior. He keeps everyone on edge all the time, because they never know what he will do next. Her father claims that he has given up drinking, but she knows differently because she knows where he has his bottles stashed, and the levels keep going down. Her Grandmother is in denial about it all and her mother pretends like it isn't happening. It seems to Sam that she is the only one that seems to see what is going on.

Sam doesn't know where to turn because she can't tell her friends what she is going through. She starts exchanging letters with a stranger at the public library by leaving their letters in the same book on the shelves. She doesn't know who she is corresponding with, but she feels better having someone to talk to. She starts to get the attention of a HS boy, Drew, and this starts to get her into some trouble along the way too.

I highly recommend this book to middle and high school readers, particularly those that have relatives with alcohol problems. There are resources at the end of the book for readers interested in learning more about the topic and also getting help if they are in the same situation.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Facts Speak for Themselves ***1/2

Cole, Brock. The Facts Speak for Themselves. 1997.

This book is narrated by Linda who has just been taken to a home for troubled teens while the police investigate a recent murder. She goes back in time and tells the reader about her mother and their life together. Her mother has made many bad choices, most of them because of men. She seems to be unable to be alone and she goes from one man to another. She becomes pregnant with one man's baby and then leaves it in the care of Linda while she does whatever she wants. Then she marries an elderly man and moves them to Florida, but when he starts to show signs of old age, she splits, leaving Linda there to take care of the man herself. When things go wrong, her mother finally retrieves her and is pregnant with yet another man's child. Things go from bad to worse, with Linda stuck in the middle and trying to be good and take care of everyone.

The reader sympathizes with Linda because she doesn't really seem to know any better and she is making some awful choices herself, but it is because she doesn't know what is right or wrong anymore after watching her mother live a life of bad choices. This isn't a happy story and doesn't end with all of the ends tied up neatly with Linda all cured and happy. Still, readers may enjoy seeing what it is like to be a teenager that has lived a life like this, in her own words.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The 310: Life as a Poser ****

Killian, Beth. Life as a Poser. 2006.

I just can't get enough of these series that keep popping up. This series, the 310 series, is from MTV books (who knew MTV put out books?) This series isn't as scandalous as Gossip Girl so anyone that can't read that series because of its content may like this series as an alternative.

The series follows Eva Cordes who has moved from Massachusettes to California. Her Aunt Laurel is an LA agent and she will be working to get Eva into show business. Her mother, a former star herself, has never been in Eva's life and lives with Laurel. Eva is living in the company apartment complex with a variety of aspiring teen actresses, all of whom add spice to the story. C Money, whose mother is a casting agent, sets his sights on Eva but Eva can't stand him. Laurel, however, makes her date him because if she rejects him, she may never get work. Meanwhile, Eva is desperate to find out who her father is since she has never been told who he is.

The book leaves lots of story lines open and I can see this series can go on for quite some time, assuming it catches on. Not much is really resolved because the author wants to lead the reader into reading the next book in the series. Highly recommended for girls who are interested in these types of series books.