July 11, 2013
Becca at Sea
by Deirdre Baker
Ten-year-old Becca spends two summers and even a winter at Gran's island cottage. She has many adventures both large and small - digging for oysters, witnessing a wild herring run, making blackberry jelly, dealing with bossy cousins. There's also time for sailing, swimming, gardening and Scrabble. Through it all, we see Becca growing and maturing and having wishes come true.
A wonderful summertime read.
July 9, 2013
Awake and Dreaming
by Kit Pearson
Nine-year-old Theo and her young, irresponsible mother, are trapped in a miserable, poverty-stricken life. Sad and lonely, Theo dreams about belonging to a real family like the ones she reads about in books. When her mother takes up with a new boyfriend, Theo is sent to live with her aunt in Victoria. During the ferry trip, she makes a wish on the new moon and is amazed when it comes true. She wakes up as part of a perfect family, with caring parents and four brothers and sisters. Now she has new clothes, good friends, and the security of knowing that she is wanted. But as time passes, the magic literally fades, and Theo finds herself back in the real world.
Kit Pearson has created a wonderful character in Theo, whose thoughts and emotions are instantly relatable. The story itself is realistic and believable, even though a ghost helps Theo through her troubles. This fantasy element is so seamlessly woven into the novel that it can be accepted easily.
A captivating read that is highly recommended.
July 4, 2013
Who I Kissed
by Janet Gurtler
Who I Kissed sounds like another fluffy read, but it has surprising depth. Seventeen-year-old Samantha kissed a boy and then he died. He was allergic to peanuts, and she'd eaten a peanut butter sandwich shortly before she kissed him. Consumed by guilt, she does everything she can to punish herself, from quitting the swim team to having sex with a boy she doesn't love.
The story has everything reminiscent of a soap opera, with many misunderstandings, tender moments, petty jealousies, and an attention-stealing chihuahua. But through it all, Samantha's feelings and emotions are real and palpable, as are those of her friends and relatives. How they each deal with grief and forgiveness form the core of what turns out to be a finely nuanced and sensitive novel.
July 2, 2013
If I Tell
by Janet Gurtler
When Jaz catches her mom's boyfriend making out with her best friend Lacey, her life falls apart. Already messed up because of a past racial bullying incident and unresolved identity issues, her tendency to bottle things up just makes things worse. It takes quite a while for Jaz to sort things out; many readers are bound to lose patience with her. It's amazing that her friend Ashley and want-to-be-boyfriend Jackson bother to stick around. Things come to a head with her mother's postpartum depression, making Jaz finally able to stop feeling sorry for herself.
A fluffy summertime read with enough drama and romance to satisfy teenage audiences.