Sunday, September 30, 2012

2 more Caudills-Ninth Ward and Out of My Mind

Ninth Ward by Jewell Rhodes focuses on Lanesha and her elderly caregiver Mama Ya-Ya who live in the impoverished 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. Both of them are feared a bit by the local residents because each has a special ability outside the normal: Mama Ya-Ya can predict the future and Lanesha can see ghosts, including her mother who died when she was born. You might think this is going to be a modern ghost story but you would only be partially correct. This is really a story about personal strength and character. Mama Ya-Ya has predicted Hurricane Katrina and a dark aftermath.  The story timeline follows Lanesha's life leading up to and directly after the devastating storm hits New Orleans. She will have to call on all her inner strength to save herself, her friend and her beloved Mama Ya-Ya. Lots of hurricane action coupled with the comings and goings of local ghosts make this a unique mix of realism and fantasy. This book won the Coretta Scott King award in 2011.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is a unique experience story very much like Anything But Typical. This time instead of getting inside the mind of an autistic young person, the reader experiences life from the point of view of a young girl trapped in a body severely limited by cerebral palsy. 11 year old Melody has a photographic memory and is mentally gifted but no one knows this about her. Confined to a wheel chair and incapable of speech, Melody has been trying to get her voice heard all her life. Although her parents believe she is much more than they have been told by experts, it is not until a computer comes into her life that things begin to truly change. With this computer, Melody can finally communicate. If you have ever felt like you were not being heard, come experience Melody's world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Underwater fantasy with a western feel - Caudill 2013

Dark Life by Kat Falls is a fast paced mix of old West frontier life and futuristic life under the ocean. 15 year old Ty is the first human born and raised sub-sea. His family is part of group of "settlers" establishing a ranching community in Benthic Territory.  Life above the ocean is difficult. Land is scarce due to the rising ocean levels. Most people live jammed in crowded cities with few resources. Gemma, also 15, is a "topsider"; a ward of the state called the Commonwealth.  She has runaway to sub-sea to find her missing older brother who holds the key to her independence. Gemma and Ty soon run into each other. Their unlikely pairing sets them on a journey involving dangerous undersea gangs, corrupt government officials, and hard working undersea ranchers.  The author succeeds in creating a believable underwater world of homesteads, transportation devices and creatures. Part 2, available soon in the LTC, is called High Tide.