Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

The jacket blurb says it all: “the soul’s ability to connect outside the bounds of reason.”

subway loveIn the mind and time-bending novel about love, Laura boards a subway in the 1970s and ends up in a parallel New York City years in the heyday of the graffiti bedlam when authorities scrubbed away subway car art almost as fast as it was painted. She meets Jonas and an instant connection snaps between them. What I appreciate is that Baskin never editorializes on the bizarre connection through time and space. It just is. Laura endures a bizarre hippy mother, her abusing boyfriend, a mean brother and a distant father. The connection with Jonas is really the only positive connection in her life. He convinces her to confide all her hurts to her father. Their effervescent love story continues while their tagger friend, Zan, an artist of the subways, is planning the most expansive tag of the city: decorating an entire train with his art in one night. Laura and Jonas and Zan all seem to understand the almost reverent experiences they are enveloped in.  Read it!  Romance readers will adore it. Quirky story readers will love it.

(Having just attended a seminar on tagging, I now wonder if Zan contracted cancer later on. The toxic cleanser used by the city killed many of the taggers of the 80s).

Nora’s Website  baskin



      Wahoo Gray and his animal wrangler dad, Mickey, are hired by the producer of the wildly popular survivalist television show “Expedition Survival” to guide their star through fantastic perils with Everglade wildlife.  Derek Badger is well known for his impromptu survival skills and eating anything, alive or dead, for the show.  But Derrick arrives with a flaming red dye job, a phoney tan, and a belly a bit too rotund for sleek man of the wilds.  This prime dona is flown to a luxury hotel each night.  But that does not mean he is not entertaining to Wahoo and irritating to Mickey.  After blasting Alice the alligator as being too tame for a wrestle, Alice takes Derek on a spin in the pond.  He almost drowns.  Other wildies have their nip of flesh from the star in his less than stellar performances of bravado.  He slinks off into the Everglades to meet his fate.  In the meantime, Mickey and Wahoo have whisked Tuna away from her abusive father and are alluding him in a chase through the Glades.  The producer insists that everyone search for her star.  Great action.  Snorts of laughter.  This is such a fun book for guy readers, well, anyone.


Carl’s Website

Noelle tries to keep herself invisible, from the bullies at school who make fun of her clothes, bump her in the hall and hoot over her lettuce and mayo half sandwiches made from the slim pickings at home.  Her mother only allows Noelle a room, otherwise, she is totally neglected.  She settles for whatever she can get, even boyfriends, meeting Matt clandestinely, instead of study hall, for make-out sessions.  Being blocked from walking down the aisle in Spanish by gorgeous Julian Porter, Noelle fantasizes about the perfections of his eyes, hair and build.  She can feel his smile as she sidles past him  to get to her desk.  Things could be worse, she could live the tormented life of Ali Walsh, the only one in the school bullied more than her.  Ali has invited Noelle to her home, but Noelle is afraid of increased torment if their relationship grows.  After a particularly horrible lunch scene, Noelle is invited to work on the school literary magazine that meets during lunchtime, and it really beats hiding in the restroom crouched on top of a toilet seat.  Simon, the student editor,  brings loads of food each day “for the staff.”  Another guardian angel, Sherae,  manages to help with mall runs at times of desperation.  I like the wisps of hope in the novel, and how Noelle lifts herself up on the shoulders of friends whose acts of kindness far outweigh the daily taunts.

Dealing with bullying is never easy, and Susane shares her own high school endurance race with it.  She has started a program for schools called “Your Ideal Life” which helps young adults plan for their better lives.

Susane’s Website

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Posted: June 2, 2012 in abuse, Fantasy

Bitterblue is a young and naive queen who gradually learns about the horrors of her father’s reign.  Bored by the endless paperwork piled on by her father’s four advisors, there is little time left in each day.  Bitterblue’s nocturnal escapes into the underbelly of her oppressed city gives her the strength to learn her role as queen and to uncover the pain shared by her advisors and kingdom.  Po and Kai from the previous novels of Graceling and Fire join her in the creepy castle.  The horrors inflicted by King Leek even scars the reader.  If there is ever a novel that shows the effects of a powerful and evil leader on an entire nation, Bitterblue is it.  Though disturbing, this book can be devoured by itself, but I am sure you will want to read all three novels.
Kristin’s Blog

Ben Campbell’s life is thrown into turmoil when his dad announces that he is divorcing Ben’s mother, and then chooses a boyfriend! Ben is furious that his dad would destroy their family and plots revenge. If he find trouble, he is there. And he brags about it. Make the old man’s life miserable. So what does his father do? Plunks him down into population 400 Normal, Montana. Let the games begin. Did I mention Ben arrives with spiked hair? A real hit in a cowboy community. Soon the plot thickens as Ben discovers that even a town of 400 has some secrets.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Michael Harmon’s Website

Liam is handsome as his striking model mother is beautiful. He wears the best designer clothing, he has style, he has magnetism, he does not have his father’s love.

Caught in a compromised position, drunk, on top of his father’s desk, with an ugly girl he normally would not even glance at, Liam is sentenced to moving to Nevada with his grandparents, his version of Siberian exile with Stalin as his roommate. His beautiful but emotionally blugeoned mother intercedes by leaving his uncle’s telephone number for Liam to call and beg mercy. Now Aunt Pete is quite a difference from the grandparents, and a secret solution kept from his father. Liam packs his amazing wardrobe and toiletries to find himself in a roach-infested trailer without a closet or an iron. As the story unfolds, the reader sees that Liam’s mother is not the only casualty.

Written in her amazingly funny, poignant style, Going delivers another illuminating teenage story for us to consider. If you have not read Saint Iggy or Fat Kid Rules the World….stop that right now! Love the cover, btw.

ENDERS Rating: More, more!!!

K.L. Going’s Website

First off, congrats to the photographer whose work made the cover. Anyone will be drawn to the cover, and it does direct the reader to the book’s content rather than “boing” you off in the wrong direction. Publishers are better at covers than they used to be, with online image files to choose and all. (Well, except when two books come out the same year with the same image. Ouch!) There used to be illustrators who, for example, saw the word “wedding” in their skim-through of the book, then created a cover with the setting, hair color, dress all wrong. Drives me absolutely bonkers! I so disgress….

Absolutely Maybe is absolutely a hit! Lisa does provides excellent characterization so that the reader, moi et vous, can picture even secondary characters like Chessy, Twig, Sammy and Jess so well that we move into their stories. Our three main adventurers, in Hollywood’s Green Hornet, take off from Florida to Southern Cal for Hollywood/Daniel to make his mark in as a gifted film student at USC, Ted to work for an aging film star (thanks to Maybe), and for Maybe to maybe find her biological father after struggling through homelessness.

Best of all: such an entertaining romp of writing that shows how young adults have what it takes to save themselves. Brava!

ENDERS Rating: Buy it, read it, pass it on!

Lisa Yee’s Website
Lisa Yee’s Blog

As Chris left our high school he handed me the galley of AM. (Page numbered? Whew, we are good!) Enter a new anger management therapist, Nak, a Japanese cowboy therapist who has seen far too many teenagers suffer from AM, the name of his counseling sessions dedicated to a young man who always called the sessions Angry rather than Anger.

To begin each novella, Nak writes therapy notes on the young adults: Sarah Brynes and Angus Bethune, Montana West, Matt Miller and Marcus James. And then, let the emotion, the anger, the pathos, the epiphany begin!

As I read I said, “Oh, this is my favorite,” three times. Chris’ writing has never been better: eloquently sparse and band-aid-yanking raw. Love? It’s here. Prejudice? Oh yes. Hypocrisy? On open display. Strength? An upper-cut worth.

If you are a YA librarian, just save yourself some time and buy multiple copies. If you have been under a rock and are not a Crutcher fan yet, get your copy pre-ordered now!

ENDERS Rating: Beyond loving these haunting stories!

Chris Crutcher’s Website

One week from today Chris Crutcher will be visiting my high school. I first met Chris on the heels of a nasty challenge to his book Stotan! that I used in my Battle of the Books. (No pun intended!) That was in 1990 close to the beginning of my education career, and here I am, drawing closer to the end, seeing Chris Crutcher once again.

To prepare the students for his visit we have read “Guns for Geeks,” a short story, and an excerpt from Stotan! in our ninth grade advisories. I bought lots of copies of his books so students could check them out and get ready for his visit. Some classes read his books and created posters about them.

It was fun reading his books again. Chris’ humor is glib, intelligent, sassy. His messages about friendship, tenacity and surviving are always appropriate.

Deadline is his latest book, published just last year. Ben discovers that he is very ill and orders the doctor not to tell anyone. Ben is 18. He wants to experience everything he can in his senior year. All 128 pounds of Ben tries out for football, and his reckless abandon ends up being a true access to the team. He finds love. He begins to tire.

Another favorite is Whale Talk in which TJ is begged to be the swim team for a coach avoiding wrestling. He assembles a motley crew of social and emotional casualties to become the swim team that earns letters to the despair of “true jocks.”

The Sledding Hill shows the strength of friendship after death, and offers a treatise on censorship. Chris Crutcher, the character and author, enjoys the stage for a short time during a censorship hearing.

Chinese Handcuffs introduces Dillon, torn between two young women, trying to live with the violent death of his brother, and succeeding at irritating Mr. Caldwell at school. He knows that Jen is hiding a secret and is determined to learn more about her. All of the young people in Chinese Handcuffs are heavily into damage control with their lives.

Kelly, Chris’ assistant, promises me a ARC of Angry Management to review. It is out in July at a book store near you.

ENDERS Rating: We are talking required reading here!

Chris Crutcher’s Website