Leavitt, Lindsey. The Chapel Wars.
May 6th 2014
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
E ARC from Netgalley.com
When Lucy's beloved grandfather dies, he leaves her the family business-- a wedding chapel on the brink of financial ruin. He also leaves her a letter to give to the son of his bitter rival at the chapel next door. Of course, Lucy thinks that Dax is cute, and the two start dating even though Lucy has her work cut out for her in saving the chapel. Known for it's taste and sophistication in a sea of tacky, Elvis-officiating chapels, Lucy's chapel isn't doing great business, and she realizes it's because she isn't meeting the needs of potential customers. When she starts having Elvis in and doing other fun weddings, business improves, but it still isn't enough. A developer is trying to take out her entire block, and Dax's grandfather is helping him.
Strengths: I liked Lucy's devotion to the chapel and to her hometown of Las Vegas. The romance between Lucy and Dax is sweet, well developed, and believable. The divorced parents are interestingly portrayed. Great cover. I can see this being very popular.
Weaknesses: Too much drinking for my taste, which isn't shown as a good idea, but there was also too much grief for my taste-- Lucy grieving for her grandfather, and Dax for his father. Still, students won't be as bothered by this, and it was a good romance with a fun hook.
Rosengren, Gayle. What the Moon Said.
February 20th 2014
by Putnam Juvenile
Esther lives with her family in Chicago during the Great Depression, and things are going fairly well. Her Russian immigrant mother is very superstitious and not demonstrative, but her father has a job and the family is doing well. When the father loses his job, they decide to move to a farm in Wisconsin, leaving behind two older sisters. The farm is more run down than expected, and very hard work, but Esther and her younger sister make the most of their life in the country. They go to a small school and make friends, although Esther's new best friend Bethany is seen as cursed by the mother because of a mole on her face, and the two are not supposed to play together. There are several pivotal crises, and eventually Esther finds out why her mother is so protective. The family is not able to make a go of the farm and return to Chicago, which is okay because the older sisters, as well as a new grandchild, are there.
Strengths: My father's family moved from Akron to a farm near there in about 1938. They were able to grow their own food, but my grandfather drove in to Akron to work at Goodyear Rubber, so they had some income. The details of life during this time are excellent, the book is well-written, and I enjoyed it very much.
Weaknesses: Not a whole lot that was new, and few students ask for books on the Depression.
Instead of buying this one, maybe I'll just bring my 1961 copy of Jane Langton's The Majesty of Grace (later Her Majesty, Grace Jones). One of my favorites, but neither of my girls ever read it, so the copy should go somewhere other than my house!