Jacobson, Jennifer Richard. Paper Things
February 10th 2015 by Candlewick Press
Copy Provided by Young Adult Books Central and Reviewed there.
Gage and Ari's father was killed in the military, and their mother passed away after an illness. The two had been living with a friend of their mother's, Janna, but she and Gage didn't get along. Now that Gage is out of high school, he wants to see if he and Ari can make a go of it, so he moves her out of Janna's. The only problem? He doesn't have a job or a place to live yet. Ari wants to be with her brother, but couch surfing at his friends' houses and not being able to reliably get meals or clean clothes starts to take its toll on her. She has to lie to her friends and teachers, and starts to get behind in her school work. Ari's mother wanted her to go to Carter Middle School, but if she doesn't keep better track of her work, she won't be able to get in. Gage is trying to make their situation workable, but is still struggling. What is most important to Ari? How can she make the difficult choices she needs to make to improve her life?
Strengths: This was an excellent depiction of how many families are forced to live. Ari doesn't quite think of herself as homeless, but gets very excited when she meets someone who is living in a storage facility, because it's fairly warm and safe, and really cheap! Her struggles with keeping her uniform clean for school, and getting her work done on time, are good for students to read about so that they might develop some empathy for students who have more difficulties than they do. While this is sad, it does have an overall feeling of hopefulness.
Weaknesses: Ari's "paper things" are a big part of this, and I can understand that she needs something of her own to hold on to, but it fell flat for me.
What I really think: Much better than this author's Small As an Elephant. It will be a solid circulator among my students who like problem novels.
Asselin, Kristine Carlson. Any Way You Slice It
21 April 2015, Bloomsbury Spark
E ARC from Netgalley.com
There are only two things I feel a need to say about this book:
1. I really, really liked it.
2. Bloomsbury Spark only publishes digital books.
So, basically, I read this fantastic book about a girl who wants to play hockey even though her father just wants her to go into the family pizza business, AND THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A COPY TO MY STUDENTS!!! Yes, I'm really annoyed to the extent of Caps Lock. Nowhere on Netgalley did it say that this was published only as an e book, but now at least I know not to read anything put out by Bloomsbury Spark. In my library, I can only circulate printed books. Many of my students have no way to read digital books. Some do, but there is no good platform (yet) to use to circulate them. I may recommend this if the Ohio E Book Project picks it up, but I feel like I wasted my time reading this. Just frustrated.
From the Publisher:
Penelope Spaulding just can't catch a break. Between long hours at the family restaurant, homework, and her parents' plans for her future, it's hard to find a spare moment to breathe. But when she laces up her skates and steps on the ice, everything slips away...
Racing around the rink allows her to blow off steam after yet another fight with her dad about going to culinary school. So when Jake Gomes, the bad boy who lives down the street, dares her to join the Rink Rats, the local misfit hockey team, she surprises herself and joins in silent defiance of her father and his expectations.
The more she plays, the easier it is to keep lying, and soon Pen finds it impossible to come clean. She’s sneaking out to practice—and loving every minute of it. It doesn’t take long for her to fall in love with hockey…and Jake’s not half bad either. But she knows it can’t last. As soon as her dad finds out, she’ll be benched. For good.
She’s absolutely not going to tell her parents until she’s sure it will be worth the inevitable fight. Not only is she skipping shifts at Slice Pizza while a foodie reality show is on the horizon, but her lies are starting to take their toll on her game. It’s only a matter of time before everything falls apart.
With the team counting on her and with her relationship with Jake on the line, will she have to sacrifice the thing she wants most for the people she loves? Or can she step up and take her best shot?