Category Archives: book review

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

laughing at my nightmare I was shocked to see that this book was a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist.  Not because I didn’t think it was deserving, though, but because I was shocked it didn’t actually win!  Shane Burcaw’s self-deprecating sense of humor and unwavering positivity in the face of adversity have already garnered tens of thousands of readers for his blog [laughingatmynightmare.tumblr.com], so it comes as no surprise that the book has also been universally well-received.    Continue reading

Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita

flunkedI have always loved fairy tales, though I have often wondered how it was that all the “big bads” got away with so much.  Why was it that no one ever stepped up and did anything about the people who abused their power?  Sure, Cinderella got away from her terrible stepmother — but why wasn’t her stepmother held accountable for the things she had done?  This story goes outside the box and brings a little bit of justice into the mix with the Fairy Tale Reform School.  The teachers at FTRS — such as Cinderella’s stepmother, the sea witch from the Little Mermaid, and the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood — are actually working to atone for their bad deeds.  Such a clever premise!

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Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

ask the passengersWhen Astrid Jones and her family moved from New York City to Unity Valley, PA, none of them quite realized how drastically their lives would change.  Astrid’s mom became so concerned with how other people saw her and so controlling that it seemed nothing Astrid did was ever even close to good enough.  Her little sister, Ellis, was so concerned with popularity and upholding her reputation that she’d probably have disowned Astrid if it would have guaranteed her immunity from the rumor mill.  This apparently pleased her mom, though, since she frequently invited Ellis to “mommy and me” nights out.  And their dad?  When he wasn’t moping about his lack of job prospects and smoking pot in the garage or attic, he seemed content enough to sit silently while his wife belittled him in front of the kids. Continue reading

A Corner Of The Universe by Ann M. Martin

corner of the universeYou may have noticed that I am doing daily reviews this week, as opposed to my typical weekly post, and that is for several reasons.  First of all, I have a lot of book reviews to catch up on!  Secondly, school vacations are the perfect time for tweens and teens to read for fun, and I wanted to help out the people who might want/need extra suggestions.  Last but not least, I realized that I was inadvertently on a roll with books that took place in summer…  Since I still have a few more books that fit the bill, I decided it would make sense to  keep with it and to help us all escape the winter blues, one book review at a time.  :-)

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That Summer by Sarah Dessen

that summerAlthough my hubby and I are still sickeningly sweet on each other, I sometimes find my brain wandering and thinking about how it would change my life and/or the lives of our children if we were to get a divorce.  It’s not because I think it’s even a remote possibility, but rather because divorce is just so darn common.  I frequently hear about couples divorcing and how hard it is for the kids who are caught in the middle and have to adjust to a their “new normal.”  Since my parents are still married, as well, I can’t say for sure whether Haven’s experience rings true enough… but, based the popularity of Sarah Dessen’s many books, I can’t imagine she got it wrong! Continue reading

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

100 sideways milesEver the sucker for a cool book cover, it only took one glance at this book for me to decide I *had* to read it.  The fact that I loved Winger, also by Andrew Smith, certainly didn’t hurt.  I have to admit, though, that I had a hard time getting into this story at first.  Perhaps I was just too tired to “get it,” since I do most of my pleasure reading at bedtime, but I felt myself getting kinda lost in the beginning.  It reminded me of how I felt when I read The Marbury Lens — which makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that Andrew Smith also wrote that book.  In the beginning, there were a few moments where I thought to myself, “Wait!  Was that supposed to be the ‘real’ Finn or the character [also named Finn] from his dad’s book?”  In hindsight, I guess it may have been written like that on purpose, since Finn often felt trapped in his father’s story, but it made me feel a little crazy not to know what was going on!  Fortunately, things got less confusing and everything fell (more or less) into place by the end of the story.
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Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

once was lostIt’s always fun to escape real life in the pages of a book, and I find it somehow more satisfying to read a book about a sweltering summer heat wave when I’m living through a snow-filled winter storm.  Add that to the fact that all of Sara Zarr’s books are pretty darn amazing, and you have a fantastic reason to read this book right now!
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