Monday, July 30, 2012

Here's a Caudill nominee for the girls

Evyn Linney tells the story of about 6 months in her 8th grade life that change everything for her. It all starts out with a bang when her widowed dad informs her and her high school brother that he is getting married and that they are all moving from Maine to Boston.  And in case that wasn't enough the new wife is a divorced mother of six children. So new family, new school, new city - it's all too much for sharp witted Evyn.  Evyn tries to "bounce" with all this by talking to her deceased mom for comfort but even that old source of comfort doesn't cover this many changes on her landscape. Evyn's authentic view and voice will carry you along at a fast clip to find out where she will finally land in this excellent realistic fiction novel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3 More Caudill nominees

 One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is set in Oakland, California during the summer of 1968. Three sisters are sent by their dad and grandmother to meet their mother, a woman who 11 year old Delphine, the eldest, just barely remembers. Any hopes for a syrupy reunion are quickly dashed by the cold reception they receive from Cecile, poet and activist. Delphine puts her little sisters first and takes charge as best she can. Their month will include daily breakfast and day camp at the local Black Panther community center, an exciting excursion to San Francisco and trying to decipher the strange behavior of this distant woman who is their mother. Multi award winner, this book is full of great characters set during a tumultuous time in our history.  A top pick for any reader.

Trash by Andy Mulligan is the story of three very poor friends struggling to survive in a third world country. They are trash pickers by trade, a life clinging to a thread of hope that you might find something valuable thrown away by the luckier members of the society. Well, one day Raphael and Gardo do and their whole world changes.  Told in alternating first person chapters, different people touched by this discovery tell their part in this mystery-adventure involving thievery, deceit, love of family, true friendship and millions of dollars. Be sure to read all the way to the end including the author's note on "Book-Codes."
13 year old Jason Blake tells you his story in Anything But Typical by Nora Baskin. Jason is a gifted writer, a keen observer of human behavior and severely autistic.  You may have read about autism; you may know someone who is autistic; you may have discussed autism in class.  Let Jason tell you what it's really like. Through his narrative you will experience his daily challenges with things we take for granted. You will begin to understand his frustrations, his limitations with time, space and perception.  If you read carefully, you will begin to see and understand the world through his eyes. Be prepared to better understand autism but also fitting in. A powerful story for any reader.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Part II - Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth

Readers who chewed through Divergent will not be disappointed by this sequel. Tris and Four's (Tobias) story picks up where the last one ended with the aftermath of the deadly simulation attack still set in dystopian Chicago.  Plenty of action both physical and emotional develops with all the characters as members of the five factions trade secrets, intelligence, power structure and lives to meet their own goals. Twist, turns and blurred lines of loyalty and trust make it hard to predict what will happen next. Insurgent is a very well written, intelligent thriller filled with fierce but believable young people caught up in the collapse of their society. Which "Faction" do you see yourself defending? Or are you part of the "Factionless"?!
NB: Part III is due out in Fall 2013 and is as yet unnamed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

2 Caudill Nominees for 2012-13

This Caudill nominee is based on the real life experiences of the author. Ten year old Ha, moves from 1975 Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war to Alabama. Her family is "adopted" through a war relief program and starts life anew in a basement apartment in a small town. Being the "new kid" takes on all new meaning when you have to learn a whole new language, eat new foods and adapt to new customs. Ha was always a spunky, head strong smart kid in old country. She misses feeling that way. The story is told in the very popular here at Sears prose poetry style making this a fast paced but lyrical reading experience. The flow of the words will help the reader understand Ha's point of view during this particular time in her life but in our country as well. A great Caudill choice for anyone.
Don't let the cute cover fool you! Donna Gephart doesn't pull any punches in this humorous but serious story about middle school, family and friendship.  David, would be video comedian, is really nervous about starting middle school. His only hope is starting with his best friend Elliot, his only pal from their feeder elementary. Elliot however has other plans such as befriending the worst bully on campus by feeding him embarrassing information about David that is used against him.  Back at home life is complicated by David's mom having moved to another state and marrying someone new. David's dad and sister are trying their best to cope so David keeps trying to manage school on his own leading to one disaster after another. Things begin to turn around when David is paired for a science project with Sophie, a classmate, who appreciates his Youtube comedy videos and spreads the word. Modern realistic fiction needs to be believable to work as a good read and this novel hits all the right marks. Another great genderless Caudill choice.