Schmidt, Tiffany. Send Me A Sign
2 October 2012, Walker
Mia has it all-- she's a cheerleader with a hot, soccer playing boyfriend, she has a good group of friends including best guy friend Gyver, and she's ready to start her senior year. Unfortunately, she also has leukemia. Her parents freak, and she has to spend the last month of summer vacation in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy. She decides not to tell her friends because she doesn't think they will understand, so she pretends she is visiting her grandparents. Gyver is the only one who stands by her. When she comes back, tired and slightly balding, it's hard to care about the things that once interested her friends. When she has to go back for more treatment, she does tell her boyfriend Ryan, and he is very supportive. Her mother still thinks she should keep the cancer a secret, and tries to pretend that nothing is wrong with Mia. Her dad is Mr. Information. She's torn between Gyver and Ryan as a romantic interest. Eventually, Mia becomes so ill that she has to tell her friends. There is drama, but they work it out, and Mia's prognosis seems to be good.
Strengths: This will be perfect for fans of Lurlene McDaniels' books. There's a lot of good information about cancer treatment.
Weaknesses: There is a little bit of discussion of drinking and sex, but nothing graphic. The part I liked least was the whole Ryan versus Gyver dilemma, and it also seemed beyond weird that the mother was so insistent on keeping the cancer a secret, and that Mia went along with it. Thirty years ago, maybe, but today I think this would be an unusual course of action.
Casanova, Mary. Frozen.
1 September 2012, University of Minnesota Press
In the 1920s, Sadie Rose has suffered the tragic loss of her mother, a prostitute, at an early age, and the experience rendered her selectively mute. She has been fostered by the mayor of her small Minnesota town and his wife, and raised in a very sheltered fashion, attended by Aasta and Hans, who work for the mayor. When she finds pictures of her mother en dishabille, she wants to find out more details about what happened, and starts to be able to speak again. She makes several new friends, but the mayor is not happy that she is talking to other people, mainly because he and other members of the ruling class of the town know more about the death of Sadie's mother than they will admit. Sadie eventually runs off and finds work in the same brothel where she was raised. Can she make peace with the past and find out what really happened to her mother?
Strengths: Picked this up because this author's Moose Tracks (1995) is still a popular mystery. This is a good, historical mystery as well.
Weaknesses: More of a high school book, what with the mother who was a prostitute. Nothing graphic, but the discovery of self and introspection makes this not quite for middle school.