Thursday, April 26, 2007

Black-eyed Suzie || Susan Shaw

Chilling and riveting, angering and thought-provoking. We start off meeting Suzie, the "box" she puts herself in, and the "cloud" she floats on. A safe, quiet world. A world where her mother can't make Suzie talk...because if Suzie can't talk, then she can't say things to anger her mother and cause her mother to hurt her. Suzie stops sleeping. She stops talking to her mother, her sister, her father, her best friend. Everyone. She stops walking. The one thing she can't stop doing is crying. She retreats into this safe box, those safe clouds, hiding, until she is finally taken get help.

This is a beautifully written that book takes takes a frank look at the family dynamics of co-dependency and abuse, and leads the reader on a journey through Suzie’s healing process. The reader will root for Suzie as she opens up and starts to trust. After a dramatic breakthrough, Suzie alters the lives of her sister and herself forever.

Buy it here: Black-Eyed Suzie

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo || Obert Skye

Foo. " is a place where possibility is eternal; where scenery can change as effortless as dreams...impossible is a whisper spoken only by the souls who have just accidentally stepped in..."

Leven Thumps lived a crappy life. He was neglected, treated badly, and picked on in school. His life changes drastically, though, when he encounters shadows (evil, nasty things) and then meets Clover, his mischievous syncophant sidekick. Fate brings him to Winter, a nit with special powers, and Geth, who is optimistic (foolishly at times, it seems), and together, they set out to keep the world from losing its dreams and hopes.

I'm not a huge fantasy reader, and the only reason I came across this is because I'm reviewing it for work. When I read the back, I was intrigued. When I read the first paragraph, I was hooked. Obert Skye creates a brand of magic that will draw you in from the first page of vivid world-building.

Skye describes things in such a unique way that I couldn't help but laugh out loud because the descriptions were dead-on, perfect visualizations.

The few remaining plants in people's gardens didn't droop, they passed out. And the flags that only days before had hung majestically on the top of local flagpoles no longer looked majestic, they looked like multicolored pieces of cloth that had clinbed up and tragically hung themselves."

Rich in imagery, adventure, and action, Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is a real page-turner, and it's in these pages that readers will discover friendship, loyalty, how to believe in themselves, and how to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Obert Skye's work.

Grade: A+

Buy it here: Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Good Girls || Laura Ruby

All she wanted to do was have a little bit of fun before she dumped her "friend with benefits." She wanted to take control and make him squirm. Unfortunately, Audrey ends up in the hot seat when someone snaps a pic of her in a compromising position and the pic gets spread to the worst possible sources (Um, hello, parents? I mean, ew!) and her reputation is shot to pieces.

I LOVED the voice in this novel. Audrey is snarky, smart, funny, honest, fresh, and she draws you right into her world from the first line in the book. Good Girls touches on many things: loyalty, friendship, jerks, sex, even a little bit of Christianity. There is talk of the double standard of sluts vs. players, and how it affects the way girls interact with the guys they're around, and the way adults see them. Audrey is a complex girl in a complex situation, but Laura does a good job of meshing it all together to create Audrey's world. If this book has taught me anything, it's to expect the unexpected.

I learned about this book at the Children's Literature Breakfast in a suburb of Chicago in February of this year. A friend of the author mentioned to me how Laura's editors had given her a censorship kit and warned her about possible backlash. This definitely sounded like my kind of novel!

This is one of those books I will dissect a million times, trying to figure out what Laura Ruby did right. She sucked me right in, and I was nodding every other page. This is a great, great read.

Grade: A

Buy it here: Good Girls