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Abby and Luke chat online. They’ve never met. But they are going to. Soon.
Abby is starting high school–it should be exciting, so why doesn’t she care? Everyone tells her to “make an effort,” but why can’t she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she’s losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke–he is her secret, and she’s his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn’t who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don’t, they’ll never see Abby again.
Sarah Darer Littman
This is an extremely important YA novel that will leave you absolutely terrified because you’ll realize how vulnerable our children can be to online predators.
This novel doesn’t mince words, doesn’t try to be gentle. This novel is blatantly honest. Every parent, teacher needs to read this as a cautionary tale. I would much prefer younger YA read this simultaneously with a parent. WANT TO GO PRIVATE is an important book. Brace yourself – but read it! This book could save a person’s life.
Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.
Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?
Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.
An outstanding MG novel that I’m sure will become a favorite of students and teachers alike. I was completely captivated by this historical fiction novel, which takes place during the Depression. Esther is a young girl struggling to get her mom’s approval and love. Her mom is very superstitious and these superstitions guide Esther’s enter family, determining the good luck and bad luck they’ll have. At times, it’s frustrating, hurtful, and confusing for Esther, especially when she is forbidden to play with a girl she really likes as a friend.
Readers will move with Esther and her family from Chicago to a farm in Milwaukee. They’ll experience hunger, they’ll celebrate the holidays with them, they’ll go through Esther’s illness and recovery. Even though the novel takes place a good eighty years ago, readers will be able to relate to the characters. Family, friendship, and being neighborly are some of the bigger themes of this novel. It’ll has a timeless appeal like Little Women and Little House on the Prairie.
This MG novel is a winner!
I was the youngest child and the only girl so my mother and I were very close. She often told me stories about her experiences growing up. I think the one that made the deepest impression was the lesson she learned about the importance of being honest–not just in terms of always telling the truth but in always behaving truthfully as well. For example, the chapter about cheating in WHAT THE MOON SAID was based on a true experience from my mother’s girlhood. Mom couldn’t see the blackboard because her vision was poor and her family couldn’t afford glasses, so a friend used to copy the problems for her and my mom, as thanks, would provide the answers. She didn’t feel that she was doing anything wrong, since she wasn’t receiving answers, but one day her teacher caught on to what was happening. My mother and her friend were both accused of cheating and made to stand in front of the class as punishment. My mother, who’d only received praise from her teachers before, was mortified! The lesson stayed with her forever. She told it to me as a cautionary tale, and it obviously stayed with me forever, too. So the most important lesson my mother taught me was honesty, but also kindness. My mother was a gentle soul who was always kind and generous, especially to children.
I’m going to answer these questions in reverse order. My opinion on superstitions is that they are absolutely not true. That being said, I also believe that if we believe in them, they become true and can have impacts on our lives. Good moments and bad ones happen in the course of every day. If we believe in superstitions, we’ll connect the bad moments to the mirror we broke or the salt we spilled earlier. Conversely, when something good happens we’ll connect it to the lucky shirt we’re wearing or the wish we made on the first star the night before.
I don’t believe in superstitions, yet, as a result of the beliefs planted in me as a child, I confess to tossing salt over my shoulder and never opening an umbrella in the house or putting shoes on a table. Logic, it appears, only extends so far when it comes to tempting Fate.
That’s a lovely compliment, thank you! If the story feels timeless I think it’s because it’s so centered in the main character, Esther. We get drawn into her world very quickly so everything feels very real.
But looked at another way, all the things that happen to her really ARE timeless. Parents still lose their jobs, forcing families to move to places that are not as nice as the homes they left behind. Money is tight, and it gets tighter as things don’t improve. Food becomes less plentiful. The same families are forced to move again, this time to live with friends or relatives. Sadly, this is an all too real experience for many children today in the United States since we experienced our own economic crash in 2008.
Esther’s desire to please and her love of animals are the two most significant traits I share with her. I really loved being able to give her a dog and horses to make up for the movie theaters and ice cream shops she had to leave behind when the family moved from Chicago to the farm.
I would have to say my brother Dennis. He was a wonderful big brother–protective, and also willing to take time to teach me things, from tying my shoes to playing chess, riding a two-wheeler to doing yo-yo tricks. When I was about eight years old he told me to think about how my actions or words might make someone else feel; to always try to put myself in their shoes. This advice was really taken to heart and I believe that it–combined with my love of reading–is why I’m a writer today. The ability to put myself in someone else’s shoes has enabled me to make even very flawed characters somewhat sympathetic. But more than that, putting myself in other people’s shoes has also been a great maxim to live by and made me a better friend and a better person than I might have been otherwise.
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? COFFEE!!!
Winter, spring, summer, or fall? It always used to be spring but as I get older it’s shifting to fall. Do you suppose there’s some hidden significance in that? J
Sci-fi thriller or romance movie? Sci-fi thriller.
Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction
Folding laundry or doing dishes? Doing dishes.
When Tessa’s best friend Noelle disappears right before the start of eighth grade, Tessa’s life changes completely–she shies away from her other friends and stops eating in the cafeteria. Now, two years later, Noelle has escaped her captivity and is coming home, in one piece but not exactly intact, and definitely different. Tessa’s life is about to change again as she tries to revive the best-friendship the two girls had shared before Noelle–now Elle–was kidnapped; puts up a futile resistance to the charming new guy at school; pursues her passion for photography while trying to build the bravado to show her photos to the public; and tries to balance her desire to protect and shelter Elle with the necessity to live her own life and put herself first.
“Tense! The constant push and pull of friendship, pain, love, and jealousy is beautifully drawn. A definite must read.”—Jay Asher, New York Timesbest-selling author of Thirteen Reasons Why
“[A] well-paced story with . . . emotional punches that really connect.”—Publishers Weekly
“Told without explicit detail, the headline drama about sexual predators will pull teens in.”—Booklist
“There aren’t many explorations of what happens after such a crime . . . and readers will . . . sympathize with both Tess and Noelle.”—BCCB
This is a outstanding debut novel by Kristina McBride that I promise you will have you on the edge of your seat and examining what it means to be a true friend. When Tessa’s best friend Elle returns to Centerville two years after she was kidnapped by a pedophile, safe but deeply altered, their friendship is tested beyond what most could ever endure. I spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about this book and was thrilled to interview McBride on my site about her perceptions of what it means to be a true friend. The interview is definitely powerful! I highly recommend this book and challenge the reader to see it not just as a story about the aftermath of a kidnapping, but the power of friendship and its ability to change a person for the better.
I went for lighter books this past month. A lot of adult/new adult romance novels, two free verse poetry novels (IDENTICAL and TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST), one serious adult novel, one middle grade novel, and one serious YA novel. I have this feeling that I may have read more, but didn’t review them yet. I’ll have to search my shelves!
It’s always so hard for me to choose just one of anything when it comes down to favorite novels, let alone series! There are so many! So, I decided to go back in time to the FIRST SERIES I EVER READ! It’s the DREAM CATCHER SERIES by Lisa McMann, Wake, Fade, Gone. These books had a profound impact on me as I fell in love with reading YA! So thanks, Lisa!
Review: Dated January 24, 2010 – The last statement, about sitting down with Lisa McMann? It happened when she came to Milwaukee! I adore Lisa. She’s dynamic, kind, fun to be with! Her books are fantastic. I recommend all of them.
From Lisa’s website: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….
From Lisa’s website: For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open–but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.
Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d even feared…
From Lisa’s website:
Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.
She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves–she has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.
Then a stranger enters her life–and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out…
He reaches toward her, his fingers black and bloody, his eyes deranged, unblinking. Janie is paralyzed. His cold hands reach around her neck, squeezing tight, tighter, until Janie has no breath left. She’s unable to move, unable to think. As his grasp tightens further around Janie’s neck, his face turns sickly alabaster. He strains harder and begins to shake.
Janie is dying.
She has no fight left in her.
I have been thinking about writing a review of WAKE for quite some time. Lisa McMann’s Wake series is absolutely BRILLIANT. I have read FADE too, and felt the exact same way. The situations she presents in the books re: drinking, sex, date rape drugs etc. are definitely right in line with what is happening with many teens today. I have pre-ordered GONE and am looking forward to it. REALLY!
This is strictly an observation – the F word is used a lot. As a writer, I can only assume that this is the voice that Lisa heard from her characters, and I deeply respect that need to be authentic to that voice. At times I found the F word distracting – but that’s me. To swear or not to swear is debated all the time among YA authors.
The bottom line is this – the concept for this series – helping people by changing the outcome of their dreams – is absolutely inspiring. I wish Lisa McMann tremendous success and if I am lucky will some day sit down to a cup of Starbucks coffee with her at some writers’ conference or book fair!
Crazy, but I never reviewed GONE! But readers, you have to know that I loved it! I love this entire series. So, here’s your opportunity to get a paperback copy of each book.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.
In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.
Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.
What would have happened if Anne Frank’s sister Margot had lived?
Jillian Cantor asked that question and came up with a brilliantly imagined story that seems plausible. Instead of dying in the Holocaust, Margot survives and moves to Philadelphia. There, she takes on a new identity as Margie Franklin, a non-Jewish woman who is from Poland. She ends up working for a Jewish law firm and falling for Joshua, the attorney she works for. He definitely is interested, but not so interested that he would give up his Jewish girlfriend for a non-Jew. (This was difficult or Margot, because she desperately wanted to identify with other Jews, but had suffered so much that it was hard to reveal her secret. (Margie had a number tattooed onto her arm, which she kept hidden underneath clothes. She suffered from a tremendous amount of survivor guilt and was often profoundly lonely.)
The characters in this novel really resonated with me. Cantor showcased antisemitism and discrimination that was prevalent in the US in the 1940s and 50s. Having interviewed Holocaust survivors, Cantor was spot on in her depiction. There is a great cast of Jewish and non-Jewish supporting characters for readers to find likable and interesting.
Bravo to Jillian for being brave and daring to imagine a different ending for Anne Frank’s sister Margot. Obviously, it’s pretend, but in pretending it helps to keep the memory of Anne Frank, Margot Frank, and the others who died in the Holocaust in the forefront of our minds. It also makes you ask the question, what if they had lived? What would they have contributed to this world? Maybe we could all be a little kinder to one another. And wouldn’t it be a miracle if genocide would exist no more!
First daughter Audrey Rhodes re-creates Alice Roosevelt’s infamous antics in this fun, smart middle-grade debut
First daughter Audrey Rhodes can’t wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey’s chances for making any new friends. What good is being “safe and secure” if you can’t have any fun?
Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun…and more problems than she can handle.
I don’t read that many MG novels, but I was totally captivated by When Audrey Met Alice, a story about a first daughter Audrey Rose discovering Alice Roosevelt’s diary in one of the closets in the White House. As Audrey tries to adjust to her own life as first daughter, Alice through her diary becomes Audrey’s guide. I love how Behrens uses historical information in this novel and mixed it with a modern story. I was transported to the White House and Audrey’s school. I got a very strong sense on how difficult life was for her living in the White House, always under a microscope and not seeing her parents much (her mom is president).
Going back to the history, I loved learning about what it would have been like for a first daughter in the early 1900s: fashion, trips, friendships, social pressures.
The description of the White House was very cool with the gardens, the bowling alley, the movie theater, the dining rooms, and bedrooms.
Audrey is a very likable character who I believe many MG students will adore. There’s a good balance between history and present day, and I loved the use of a diary to share the information and how Alice ended every diary entry with: To Thine Own Self Be True. It’s a great message.
A winner, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is a must for MGers, schools, libraries.
While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she’s crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.
Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering–and temperamental–barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she’s trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can’t stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery
WHISPER FALLS had me completely captivated with its integration of history and modern times. I loved learning about a time in American history that I knew very little about, the late 1700s with indentured servants. Susannna’s life is absolutely brutal, yet Langston balances it with her love for the children she works with and her love for her family. In modern times, we have Mark, a young man who spots Susanna through the Whisper Falls after he crashes on his mountain bike. Susanna has never seen a bike and Mark can’t get over the girl dressed in the weird costume.
Things I loved about this novel:
1. The historical information is detailed and interesting.
2. Love the relationship Susanna and Mark develop as they learn more about each other’s lives and centuries.
3. How Mark alters history.
4. Mark’s compassionate, supportive family.
5. Susanna’s strong personality.
6. Mark’s desire to help Susanna.
7. Langston took an unbelievable situation and made it completely believable.
8. The scenery is vivid in my mind.
9. Mark’s work ethic.
10. How Mark dealt with his ex-girlfriend.
11. This novel points out the modern conveniences we take for granted, and then makes us look at them from someone’s eyes from the eighteenth century.
12. Susanna’s protective nature toward her sister and the huge lengths she goes to protect her, including involving Mark.
13. Mark’s relationship with his grandparents – and the descriptions of the food his grandma makes.
14. This is a series, and I’m really glad because I’m very much looking forward to finding out what happens next for these characters.
This is an excellent YA novel for anyone who enjoys mystery, history, time travel, romance. Loved it!
To read a synopsis, click on my Hello? page or on Stuart Krichevsky’s Literary Agency Liza Wiemer page. I will have more to share in the upcoming months, but I wanted to start today by describing the journey to publication.