Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WNDB Wednesday- Dysfunctional Families

31420696Helget, Nicole. The End of the Wild
April 11th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Public Library Copy

Fern's family is struggling more than most. Her mother was killed in an auto accident a year ago, and her step father is out of work. Their town is an impoverished one, so when a fracking company sets up operations in the woods near Fern's house, many people look at it as a great opportunity, including Alkomso, Fern's friend, and some of her other classmates. To Fern, it means that the woods on which she depends for food for her family is in jeopardy, and she will be unable to help feed her younger siblings. Her teacher, Mr. Flores, is concerned about the environmental impact of the fracking. Fern's friend and neighbor, Mark-Richard, is put into foster care after he accidentally sets his house on fire, and Fern must also try to make peace with the neighbor who cause her mother's accident, but whose dogs help save her from a bear. With the school science fair approaching and many students doing projects on the fracking operation, Fern, as well as her town, must decide on how to achieve the delicate balance which will allow both the citizens and their environment to survive.
Strengths: I appreciated the fact that the author was able to portray fracking as something harmful but which could help out people in many ways. This is a hard thing to do. There are not a lot of books that include the difficulties of modern rural poverty, and this provided a sympathetic and informative portrayal of such a situation. Alkomso's family is Muslim, and some of their difficulties are realistically portrayed as well.
Weaknesses: Another dead mother? It would have been nicer if Fern's mother had been alive to share the recipes with her. The family still could have struggled just as much financially. I know that in areas of rural poverty in Ohio, it's hard for everyone to find jobs.,
What I really think: I will probably buy this one because it addressed the important modern issue of fracking, but the cover is NOT appealing. I'm also a little irritated personally that people who are opposed to fracking don't address the larger, contributing issues-- people keeping their houses too warm and driving to work when they could find other transportation, but that doesn't have anything to do with the book!

Ellis, Ann Dee. You May Already Be a Winner
July 11th 2017 by Dial Books
Copy provided by the publisher

Olivia's family lives in a trailer park and has been struggling ever since her father walked out. Her younger sister, Berkeley, is unable to go to child care because she's had a cough, and since their mother needs to go to work, Olivia has been staying home from school. She is very conscientious about making sure her sister does school work, plays outside, and has her meals, but it's not an ideal situation. Eventually, the school demands that Olivia goes back. She's not thrilled with the idea, especially since she has met a boy, Bart, who has been hanging around the park. Olivia writes letters to her father, whom she believes is working at a national park, but doesn't hear back from him. It's tough to go back to school, but even tougher when her mother wants her to take Berkeley to school with her. She does this successfully for a few days, hiding her in a broom closet with activities and food, but eventually the girls are found out. Social Services finds their father and sends their mother away, and things slowly return to a new normal.
Strengths: This was an intriguing book, and my readers enjoy stories of young people on their own, trying to make up for dysfunction parenting. The stories of Jacqueline Wilson, especially Lily Alone,
Castelman's Sara, Lost and FoundConnor's Waiting For Normal, and even Tanaka's disturbing Nobody Knows are all popular in my library. The family problems were realistic, and Olivia tried her best to handle her circumstances. I enjoyed the neighborhood, especially since it seemed very much like any other neighborhood where residents know each other. My grandparents lived in Countryside Estates near Ravenna, Ohio for several years.
Weaknesses: At almost 350 pages, this is a bit on the long side. Since Olivia's rich imaginary life is somewhat confusing (especially at the beginning of the book), I think the story would have been stronger without her daydreams.
What I really think: No one dies! The cover and title of this one are both strong, and I think this one will see steady circulation.
Ms. Yingling

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