Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sweaty Reading

This will be brief. My entire family will probably be sleeping in the basement tonight if it doesn't cool down any more. I HAVE been reading, but my brain is completely liquified in the heat.

Thor, Anika. A Faraway Island.
Have to add this book (the first in a four book series) to my Holocaust collection if only for this one fact-- of the 500 Jewish children who were taken from Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna and Prague and sent to Sweden for the duration of WWII, only one in four were reunited with their families. This is the story of two sisters, Stephie and Nellie, who are sent to live on an island, where they are separated. Nellie, the younger, assimilates well and enjoys her young family, but Stephie not only has a strict and dour foster mother, but also has to put up with bullying at school because she is not Swedish. Picky Reader was watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks the other day, so finding this was perfect timing. We had quite a discussion about how many children were fostered during the war, for various reasons.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Alice in Charge.
I love Alice. Really. I love how Naylor makes the books informative, touches on topics of interest to teen girls in an instructive kind of way. I do not for the life of me understand why she is so often challenged. That said, even though it was nice to see what Alice was up to, this latest installment was so fraught with problems at every turn that I found myself wishing that Alice were younger. I understand that as a senior, she is under a lot of stress about college applications, but Alice also has to deal with neo Nazis in her school, her stepmother possibly having cancer, her father's business tanking, a developmentally delayed friend being molested by a teacher, the aftermath of Mark's death AND Patrick's parents moving away from Maryland. It was just too much. I hope the next installment is a tiny bit cheerier. We are reaching the end of Alice's saga, and I don't want to be this depressed when we send her off into the world.

McCahan, Erin. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else.
Fab cover on this, but it is also about a girl who is a senior in high school, and there is a little too much fooling around with a boyfriend for this one to be middle school appropriate. Older daughter ran off with it, which was fine.


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