Wright, Barbara. Crow.
Moses has a good life in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. His father is an alderman and a reporter for the African American newspaper, his mother does cleaning work to earn extra money for the family, and his grandmother, Boo Nanny, takes good care of him. He has friends, and enjoys his life of freedom, knowing that his mother was born into slavery but freed when she was very young. When the newspaper publishes an op ed piece stating that if it is okay for white men to father children with black women, it should be okay for black men to have white wives, the community is in an uproar. Wilmington had a large community of middle class black citizens, with representation in the local government, but an all white board of citizens decides that this should end and try to pressure Moses’ father to step down from his office and also try to shut down the newspaper. When the men refuse to give in, the newspaper first loses its offices, and then is torched by an angry mob. Things get worse and worse until there is widespread violence and destruction in the town, and Moses finds that while it is important to stick by one’s principles, it can be very hard to do so.
Strengths: Based on a historical event, this was a very vivid picture of what life was like during that time. I was drawn in my Moses’ concerns and attitudes toward his life and his father. The family dynamic was very interesting, and there was enough action that many readers will enjoy this.
Weaknesses: It might be hard to get readers to pick this one up, but I will definitely try.
Prineas, Sarah. Winterling.
Fer (short for Jennifer) is being raised her grandmother because her parents have both died. Grand-Jane is a homeopathic healer with a still room who is constantly afraid for Fer, who feels restless at the overseeing and just wants to be outside. One night, however, she is involved in a wolf attack and brings the boy who is attacked home to get help. Grand-Jane is very displeased, because the boy is really a puck, and the story of why Fer's parents were killed, and why Fer herself is a halfling is revealed. She tries to stay away, but Fer is drawn into the Way, and eventually leaves her grandmother to try to deal with the Lady of the Land, who is causing spring not to come... in both worlds. The lady has done something evil and has the creatures under her spell. Fer finds out that her mother was the true Lady, and feels it is up to her to find out what the Lady has done and restore both worlds to their proper states while figuring out where her own place is.
Strengths: Facile middle grade fantasy with enough adventure, a nice twist on the Ice Queen legend, present but not overbearing grandmother, competent world building.
Weaknesses: Seems to be rockin' everyone else's socks more than mine. I think it was Fer. Because she is a halfling, she didn't fit in, but my first impression of her was that she was kind of whiny. I finished the book quickly and enjoyed it, but didn't love Fer. Maybe the name bothered me, although it shouldn't, because my son calls himself Vid! (Short for David.)
Notes on Weeding: It went much better yesterday after I filled up a rounder I that I usually stock with Accelerated Reader recommendations with AR books I was considering pulling. This rounder is my most frequent stop, and as I looked at it again and again, and pulled books off it to show students, the number of nose wrinkles I got was enough to make me think "These are just past their prime."
The books I pulled weren't anything fabulous-- they were okay. But the also had appallingly bad cover art, they were dull and dusty, and very, very few students picked them up. When they did, they brought them back later in the day.
It's like the beautiful gray wool Talbot's slacks I paid an entire $5 for that were really comfortable and made me look slim(mer). They also were side buttoned and had very short, narrow ankles. Every time I pulled them out of the closet I put them back, and if I did wear them to school, I felt funny in them. Some things just don't work any longer. I'm not doing my students any favors if I keep books that aren't working for anyone cluttering up the shelves.