Corrigan, Eirann. Accomplice.
1 August 2010, Scholastic Press.
Living on the east coast, Finn and Chloe are afraid that their high school academics are not good enough for them to get into elite colleges. After seeing a news item about a girl who was abducted and held for months by kidnappers and then got into the college of their choice, they come up with an elaborate plan-- Chloe will disappear for a while, Finn will help "find" her, and they will both not only get accepted into whatever college they want, but will get scholarship money. Their plan goes well, and Chloe is hiding in Finn's grandmother's house. Chloe's family and friends are understandably upset, especially when she is gone long enough for the local lake to be dragged. When her boyfriend, Dean, becomes a "person of interest" and is later arrested, Finn starts to question their plan and wants to back out, but Chloe wants to stick with it. In the end, their plan costs them more than they get out of it.
Strengths: This is a well-paced, unique thriller with a fantastic cover. I think that this will go over very well with my middle school students who always want murder mysteries.
Weaknesses: I've never understood the whole "elite college" thing, and my daughter got in to three different colleges, so the whole premise seemed unlikely to me, but then (thankfully) I don't live on the east coast!
Martin, Ann M. Better to Wish (Family Tree #1)
30 April 2013, Scholastic Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Abby is looking back at her life in the year 2022, when she is 100 years old. In anecdotal chapters, she recalls various scenes from her life that made an impact on her. Raised by a controlling father and a sad, frail mother, Abby and her sister Rose live in a small coastal town and get along as best they can.
Strengths: Historical events such as the Great Depression and WWII effect Abby, and details of everyday life are nicely portrayed.
Weaknesses: This was possibly the most depressing historical fiction book I've come across. Whatever bad things could happen, did happen. The poor mother. She suffers the father's abuse, has multiple miscarriages, finally has a baby boy who is "feeble-minded" and is sent to an institution and eventually dies. At least Abby manages to break free from her family, but the whole book made me too sad to think about handing it to a student. I was surprised at Martin-- Picky Reader adored the Doll Family books, which are a bit happier!
Another review of this at Secrets and Sharing Soda.
You Know It's Time For School To Be Over When: I tell a teacher "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part." When the students start to arrive at this time of year, I need to be hunting them down for overdues, not hooking up an LCD projector to a computer, expecially when two days ago I suggested to the same teacher that I could give her better service with a little more advance notice. She replied that it's not always possible to plan. Really? Because I got in to school at 4:30, and you're rolling in at 7:30, so that's not really the thing to say to make me want to help you.
I'm normally not that cranky.