Monthly Reads

I need to start keeping track of all the books I read and a short summary. It’s getting to be too much to keep in my head!

Story of a Girl Cover Touching Snow Cover Just Listen Cover Dragonhaven Cover Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney Cover Dragon Academy Cover

Story of a Girl: Sara Zarr – When she is caught in the backseat of a car (Buick) with her older brother’s best friend – Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” (though she hasn’t slept with anyone since) she longs to escape a life defined by her past. She takes a job at a pizza dive where she ends up working with non other than Tommy (the best friend). She dreams of moving out of her parent’s house with her older brother, his girlfriend, and their infant daughter. *2007 National Book Award Finalist*

Touching Snow: M. Sindy Felin – Karina’s life is spiraling into misery. She and her siblings are too busy dodging their step-fathers hammering blows to build their own lives. After “the daddy” nearly kills the eldest girl, Karina, he is taken away on child-abuse charges that don’t stick. This story reveals many real-life social issues facing Haitian immigrant families. Written in retrospect, Karina reflects, “The best way to avoid being picked on by high school bullies is to kill someone.” A difficult book to read (becuase “the Daddy” is so brutal and the children so helpless), the promise of “justice” is all that kept me from total frustration. Well written. *2007 National Book Award Finalist*

Just Listen : Sara Dessen– “Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything”—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf ’s Department Store.This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling.With Owen’s help,maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.”

I couldn’t put this book down and I’ve just checked out two more Dessen books. Her characters are realistic (esp. the sister dynamic – their interactions struck a chord with me). Sophie, Annabel’s former (fake) best friend, was also well done. She was just the right part manipulative and addictive. I’ve known girls like her!

Dragonhaven : Robin McKinley– This longwinded story follows Jake, a 14-year-old boy living in Smokehill National Park – one of the last dragon havens in this contemporary alternate reality. Beth Wright of School Library Journal writes, “Once readers get through Jake’s overdone teenage diction in the first few chapters, they will be engaged by McKinley’s well-drawn characters and want to root for the Smokehill community’s fight to save the ultimate endangered species.”

Well, I didn’t find myself rooting for Jake or his squawking dragenlet, Lois. The series seems to drag on and on (perhaps because the sentence structure is torturingly bad!). Twice the length it should be, the narrative hints of a middle-aged woman not a teen boy. I enjoy fantasy (and there were some unique aspects of this take on dragons), but if there is a sequel (and there are threats of one), I will pass.

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney : Suzanne Harper– Sparrow is the seventh daugther or a seventh daughter. She is a psychic but it is a talent she keeps well hidden. It is her mission to fit in now she has the chance. When the school district lines are redrawn, Sparrow transfers to a new school, where no one knows her sisters are local psychics and (in her opinion anyway) oddities. But her “just fit in” task is made difficult by her three mentor spirits and the appearance of Luke, a spirit who persists on being heard.

Great cover, good story, an overabundance of quirky characters. Gladly, it does not delve into teen angst macabre but remains heart-felt. An enjoyable read… but there may be some *uproar* over the psychic element (as it is taken as absolute truth).

Dragon Academy: The New Kid at School : Kate McMullen, Bill Bisso (Illustrator) – Monty Pyhton meets Wart in this goofy take on Dragon slaying!

3 thoughts on “Monthly Reads

  1. I think The Truth About Forever is my favorite Sarah Dessen book with Just Listen a close second. Her books all feel very similar, but they’re no less engaging for it. Her blog is also entertaining, though understandably much less regular with a new baby.

    I’d been wanting to read Dragonhaven and am disappointed to hear it isn’t great.

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