Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A YA Novel About Dealing with the Horrors of Cancer

Source: Goodreads
Slipping Reality by Emily Beaver (AuthorHouse Publishing, 2011, 272pp.)
“People would think that living with a sibling with cancer ... would be tough. Drama at every corner, never getting a break from the constant trauma and stress and overall my-life-sucksitude. But if anyone could believe it, it wasn’t like that at all.”
Having a loved one suffer from a terminal illness isn’t as dramatic as you would think, says 14-year-old Katelyn Emerson. At least, not on a day-to-day basis. Based on the author’s own heartbreaking story, Slipping Reality chronicles the struggles of Katelyn Emerson, a 14-year-old girl whose brother is dying from cancer. She sees her life as a “purgatory. Nothing ever changes. For the last three years, her brother’s condition has been unpleasant but endurable, so she invents two imaginary friends to keep her company: Tristan, a sage father-figure, and Cedric, his adopted son who serves as her love interest. As the weeks pass, she shrinks away from her life and deeper into the shelter of her inner world. But when Matthew’s condition takes a sudden turn for the worse, she learns the consequences of living in denial. While many readers can relate to Katelyn’s frustrations about the “boredom” of suburban living, the subject is a bit sophomoric compared to terminal illness. Once we reach the half-way mark, however, our heroine is forced to realize the true horror of her situation, and that’s when the story gets really, really good. Recommended for Ages 13-15.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

If Hogwarts Taught Spy Skills Instead of Magic, It Would Look a Lot Like This

Source: Author Website
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter (2006; Disney-Hyperion, 2016, 304pp.)

If Hogwarts were a school for young spies instead of magic, it might look a lot like the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Fronting as a boarding school for bratty rich girls, it’s really a top-secret training school for spies. The school has hidden passageways, eccentric professors, and a rather unique curriculum, including classes in Covert Operations, Culture and Assimilation, and Protection and Enforcement (kind of like P.E., but way cooler). The heroine of the piece, Cammie “Chameleon” Morgan, is a sophomore and daughter to the headmistress, so naturally, she’s a whiz at spy stuff. When it comes to talking to guys, however, she’s clueless. So what does she do when she’s befriended by a sweet, handsome local boy? She can’t tell him anything about herself (that’s classified!), so she decides to make things up. Before long, the inevitable strains between her new boyfriend and schoolwork begin to form. Can her new beau handle the truth? With excellent world-building detail, sympathetic characters, and a strong heroine, the Gallagher Girls series makes an excellent choice for female teens looking for a new series. Recommended for Ages 13-15.

An Amazing YA/Crossover Novel

Source: Author Website
Pure (Pure #1) by Julianna Baggott (Grand Central Publishing, 2012, 448pp)
“We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar, benevolently.”
Nine years after the earth is devastated from an atomic blast, the remains of civilized society huddle under a dome that overlooks a wasteland. Those who live outside the Dome are horribly disfigured mutants who live on a hand-to-mouth existence. When Partridge Willux, the next-in-line for leadership of the Dome, escapes into the poisoned wasteland to look for his mother, he meets a young mutant girl named Pressia. Together, the two begin a journey that leads them to an unexpected destiny. Pure, the first is a trilogy, is an amazing, imaginative novel with excellent world-building details and character development. Recommended for Ages 16-18, but will also appeal to adults with an interest in dystopian fiction and science fiction.