Monday, June 29, 2009

THE PACT by Jodi Picoult Posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Jodi Picoult
AR:  Yes
Interest Level:  Upper Grades

I selected this older title (c 1998) to read on my Kindle during my travel on a business trip and it definitely held my attention.  This is the story of Emily and Chris, and their bond that began, literally, from the moment they met, in infancy.  The children of best friends and neighbors, they began their life together when they were introduced by being placed in a bassinet together the day Emily was born.  They grew up best friends, and it was only natural that they would also take their relationship to the next level upon entering their teen years.  Their lives, on the surface, from the outsider, were perfect.  They were intelligent, witty, well-rounded young adults from respected families.  They were destined for success and a long happy life together.  All this is shattered, though, when Emily is found dead, in Chris's arms, at 3:00 in the morning.  Could it really have been a suicide pact gone wrong, as Chris tells the police upon being questioned?  Could Chris have murdered her?  Nothing is certain, except that lifelong friendships are shattered, and the outlook of two families is bleak, as they try to fit the pieces of the shattered puzzle that has become their lives, back together.  

This book was hard to read--Jodi Picoult does an excellent job of drawing the reader in and making them care about her characters.  She tackles tough and timely subjects head-on and to the point.  My heart broke for Chris as well as both sets of parents.  I'm thinking about a trailer for this one.... hmmmmmm

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Authors Who Have Commented on Our Blog!

Since starting our blog, we've had a few authors comment on our blog posts. We thought it would be cool to post an entry that will link to their comments. To view what the authors think about what WE think, click on the book covers below:


Friday, June 19, 2009

by Amy Kathleen Ryan
AR:  Yes
Interest Level:  Upper Grades

I listened to this one on audio, on my way to and from Austin and it was an easy, breezy listen.  The story centers on Krisiti, a high school student who can read minds.  She knows that almost every boy who looks at her thinks about her self-described "enormous gazoombas", she knows that the one guy she is head over heels for (Gusty, short for Augustus)  thinks she's sick, and she knows that her ex-best friend Hildie (who also happens to be Gusty's little sister) absolutely despises her.   She thinks she's got everyone figured out--until her "vibes" don't tell her a few very important things--and she has to readjust the way she thinks about everything.  What if she's been wrong about everything? What if she can't really read minds?  This book will be enjoyed by teen girls--I've already ordered it for our library.  

BAIT, by Alex Sanchez posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Alex Sanchez
AR:  Not Yet
Interest Level:  Upper Grades

The cover of this book caught my eye while I was browsing the new releases at Barnes and Noble.  When I read the book's summary, I knew it was a book I had to read.  BAIT is the story of Diego, a teenage boy who is living with a great deal of pain and guilt he's carried over from his childhood.  He was born in Mexico and came to America as a small boy when his mom married Mac, the man who would become his stepfather--and the only father figure he would ever know.   There is more to Diego and Mac's relationship than meets the eye, and when Mac commits suicide, Diego is left to deal with the secrets and lies that are tightly woven into the very essence of who he is as a person. 

The book opens with Diego being introduced to Mr. Vidas, his probation officer.  He's in trouble for punching a known gay guy in the face for flirting with him.  At first, Diego is defiant and reluctant to talk to Mr. Vidas.  He has trouble controlling his temper whenever his masculinity is threatened in any way, and he continues to find himself in trouble.  It doesn't take long though, for him to realize that Mr. Vidas genuinely cares and wants to help him. Mr. Vidas tells Diego that he has to deal with his anger or it will deal with him--and that one phrase makes so much sense to Diego that he decides to open up to his probation officer.  The reader is taken on a painful journey of fear, pain, guilt, abuse, and self-hatred as Diego struggles to deal with his past.  

As far as contextual difficulty goes, this book was fairly easy--was it an easy read though? Absolutely not--it was one of the toughest reading experiences I've had in a while.  I was so sad for Diego and what he experienced in his childhood--and it really made me stop and think about the kids I come into contact with every day.  I consider myself a pretty "with it" adult, but this book really drives home the importance of loving every person--and taking into consideration the things they've been through along life's path.  That being said, Sanchez  does a fantastic job of driving home the importance of dealing with whatever issues might be eating away at the soul--finding the problem, identifying it, and cutting it out--so the wound is clean and can finally heal.  

This was a difficult book to read, but it is a powerful book that I feel will help so many who have been abused.  It's definitely not a book that everyone will be comfortable reading, but reading this book could be a life-changing event for someone who really needs it's message.  

Well done, Alex Sanchez!