Monday, April 04, 2011

Spring Break Back Log

Just did not feel like reading much over break, and certainly didn't get near the computer much. My apologies. I'm back now.

Edge, Laura Bufano. From Jazz Babies to Generation Next: The History of the American Teenager.
E ARC from Net Galley

With a brief overview of teenagers before the 1920s (not really considered a subgroup), this launches into the flappers of the 1920s and continues right to the present day, complete with lots of interesting facts (modern teenage girl sends 100 texts a day). Well-illustrated, this is a very fun view of history that students don't often get to see. My only complaint about this is that my own teenage years are barely mentioned, since the book goes from 1975 to 1981 and doesn't really mention disco or polyester. As a friend of mine said, perhaps it was just too painful! Still, definitely a good nonfiction book to have on hand.

Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray.
Based on the author's own family history, this story follows 4-year-old Lina and her mother and brother as they are taken from their home in Lithuania and sentenced to work in Siberia. Their father has been arrested separately. Conditions are brutal-- not enough food, clothing or shelter, and the constant fear of retaliation by the Russians who have arrested them. There is very little written about the Baltic states during the war, so this is a great addition to a well-rounded World War II collection.

Flores-Galbis, Enrique. 90 Miles to Havana.
Another under discussed historical era is Cuba in the 1960s. Julian's parents decide to send him and his brothers out of Cuba to avoid the effects of the revolution, not realizing that Operation Pedro Pan's camps were less than ideal. While it might be hard to sell this historical period to students, the story of Julian's struggles with bullies in the camp and his survival and his attempts to get the rest of his family out of Cuba will make this an appealing story. This would also be a good addition to a high school collection if the 1960s are covered in history.

Smith, Charles R. and Aronson, Marc. Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full-Court.
With contributions from such well know sports writers as Bruce Brooks, Walter Dean Myers, and Robert Lipsyte, this book will certainly circulate. The story has good characters, but the main one here is basketball, so I had a bit of trouble following. Also, the story by Sharon Flake, while interesting because of its nonbasketball point of view, is a somewhat odd addition. Smith's poems are actually good, and regular readers know that I am sparing with my praise of poetry. Like the 39 Clues series, it's always interesting to see writers work together, so I will no doubt buy this one.

Monir, Alexandra. Timeless.
Michele's mother is killed in a car accident, and she is forced to go live with her grandparents, whom she feels are responsible for scaring off her father. They are exceedingly wealthy, and enroll her in a fancy private school. In the palatial house, she finds a diary that transports her back in time to 1910 and puts her in the middle of a family feud. Of course, she falls in love with a boy that she meets, and time travel causes problems for her in her proper time. I would have loved this when I was in 8th grade, but I'm not sure it had any fresh, new ideas, and the misty cover is also kind of generic. Fans of paranormal romance, who read a book a day, would be pleased with this one.

This week: more organized, coherent and regular reviews!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your reviews. The three in the middle look fantastic, especially Between Shades of Gray.