Must admit to spending my entire day savoring Linda Newbery's Flightsend. Sigh. Charlie's mother has broken up with her long time boyfriend, Sean, after suffering a late miscarriage, quit her teaching job, and moved to a small village to try to set up a greenhouse and get her life back together. Charlie misses Sean and grieves over the lost sibling, but gets a job at a local artists' colony and is working on passing her exams. Nothing earthshaking happens, but the book was so wonderfully British and I adored it. Problem: worst cover I have seen lately, and I don't really have any students that would be crazy for it.
Beth Bauman's Rosie and Skate was also very atmospheric-- this time, an east coast resort town during the off season. Rosie and Skate's mother died when they were small, and their alcholic father is in jail for shoplifting repeatedly. The girls are living with a cousin, and Skate stays with her boyfriend's mother from time to time, since he is off at college. Again, nothing much happens, and I enjoyed the slowly unfolding story of the girls' coping. This one I had hoped to hand to Picky Reader, since she loves problem novels, but there was just enough unclothedness with boyfriend that I decided to pass.
My issue with sex in books is that a huge portion of my circulation is hand sold, and I am not really comfortable handing a student a book that, like Dede Crane's Poster Boy, starts with a detailed discussion of particular portions of anatomy as well as scantily clad hot tubbing. This was a shame in this book, because the story of a boy dealing with his younger sister's terminal cancer by researching and trying to eliminate all the carcinogens from his environment was really interesting and moving. I gave this one to 8th grade son, but it's different handing a book to one's own personal child.
Yes, I read books to my dog sometimes. Tammy Gagne's Poodles, in the Capstone Edge Books series, was well-illustrated and fairly informative, but even if I had money to spend on books about particular breeds, this was a bit young, even though it says grades 5-8. This would be great for an elementary school. This did result in my dog (Sylvie, after the main character in Roderick Townley's The Great Good Thing) getting a spring haircut!