Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bruised by Sarah Skilton


Imogene was there the night the gunman was killed at the diner. All she can remember is blood and a boy under another table, across from her. Imogene, who has a black belt, didn’t lose her life that night, but she lost her confidence, her heart, and her purpose.

Imogene’s character grows in amazing ways, the realizations she finally makes are hard won, and worthwhile.  There is a romance of sorts in this novel but its secondary, in a manner of speaking, to dealing with the PTSD that is happening to her after the diner event. I did wish I knew what Ricky’s therapy was, how he needed to deal with his own issues from the shooting. He does to talk to Imogene at the end, but I wanted more. (He is the boy under the other table, who becomes the romantic interest.)

I really liked this book, but I don’t like the cover, and the paper-back cover is similar to the hard-back. The broken trophy makes sense; I’m just afraid that many of my students will bypass it because of the cover. There aren’t as many karate students here as there used to be, but I’m pretty sure if I can “sell” this to the right people, it will take off.

Goodreads summary:

Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else--more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it's all her fault.

Now she's got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight--a real fight--she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She's drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.

But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen's big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who's beaten and bruised fall in love?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian


This was a slow starter for me. I felt it was going to be a “message” book masquerading as a sports book, and I was right, unfortunately. There was a good message in place:  accepting other people and trying to understand other cultures. But Ms. Padian also threw in skin-heads, rich vs. poor, drug and alcohol abuse, cyberbullying, and political activism. All of these things can be used to make a point, but it seemed like overkill to me. Not to mention that the romantic interest was a college sophomore girl falling for a 17 year-old-boy.

So will all of that, I’m glad I finished it, but I only did, because it’s on our Gateway possibilities list. I think I can target this to our few soccer players who are patient readers and willing to give a book time to get interesting.

Favorite Quotes:
Pg. 17 – Somali is a no-holds-banned language. Half the time it sounds like people are fighting each other, but it’s just that they get that animated. The hands go, too, emphasizing each word. I think you’d render a Somali person partially mute if you tied their hands.
                   (This is so me!)

Pg. 260 – Time is a lunging dog on a leash when you’re in an emergency room. It yanks you forward in ways you can’t control….

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall


While this is not a book in verse, I felt compelled to write a blurb/hook in that fashion.  It was a fun, fast, read. I already have several kids who want to read this one.  

Can you have...
a love story…
from 14 points of view?

The brother,
the brother’s friends
the roommate, and
the girl friends

The professor,
the barrista,
the waitress, and
the bus driver

The bench and
the squirrel

From the outside
we watch two people
who everyone thinks
should be together.

They meddle,
and discuss.

Will they,
or won’t they

become a pair?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Cady lives a privileged life; every summer she spends on her grandfather’s private island is like a dream.  Until summer fifteen, which she can’t remember. 

What and why Cady can’t remember make up the basis of this compelling mystery.  Many will keep turning pages of the novel as I did, hoping, yet dreading, to find out what happened.  What could be so awful hat she’s block out al memory of it?  What could be so terrifying that she has migraines that take her under for days, addicted to pain pills? 

I can think of several people who will like this novel.  It’s a definite Gateway possibility, I hope my other committee members like it as well as I do!  I’ve enjoyed other E. Lockhart books before, but this one was more dramatic than funny like The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, or Fly on the Wall, but equally engaging.