29 May 2015

I’m Reading - Cindy L. Rodriquez's When Reason Breaks

Two girls—one seemingly with everything going for her; the other, not—both find solace and meaning in the poems of Emily Dickinson. One point of commonality for them is the English teacher that introduces them to the poet. There are others that the reader will discover as the story unfolds. Rodriquez seamlessly weaves through the school year telling their parallel stories until they become one in the surprising conclusion. You’ve heard the old saying, never judge a book by its cover, neither girl is what they seem to be and while Rodriquez hints at the plot twist that leads to the story’s conclusion, you still don’t see it coming. I was as surprised as the English teacher.

28 May 2015

The Winter of YA Literature

Winter 2014 was a brutal one here in Chicago and so I retreated to the land of “beach books.” Just about everything I read that winter took place on the beach and in the summer. Winter 2015, I escaped into the world of YA books.

I’d been turning my nose up at the genre thinking of the books that were available to me at that age and inwardly groaning. While talking to my mother on the phone one night, I mentioned that I felt like I had gone straight from Winnie-the-Pooh to and John Steinbeck. At which point she informed me that (1) it was Winnie-the-Pooh to Jack London and (2) I was only in the second grade. Her point being that today’s world of YA didn’t exist when I was a middle grade/YA reader. So I decided to give them a shot. And did I find some winners!

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing of some of my favorites.