Archive for the ‘grief’ Category

Scoot over Lois Duncan and share your “on the end of the seat” suspense chair with Jennifer Wolf.

Jaycee’s estranged friend, Rachel, has been murdered in a drive-by killing.  Her once lovely little home is trashed by the police investigation, her mother’s sorrow and the horrid blood stains in Rachel’s bedroom.  Jaycee is tormented by not having answered Rachel’s texts the night of the shooting. Added to that, the memory of  Rachel and she going to meet someone at the local vacant, vandalized house still haunted Jaycee.  What Rachel saw that night frightened her enough that she ran, through broken glass in her bare feet, all the way home. After that, Rachel chose a dangerous, seductive path that Jaycee just could not understand and their friendship was severed.  Now Jaycee is determined to find the murderer. Hovering around her are sweet Skylar who obviously loves her, and his smooth brother Evan, who would love to have her.  Jaycee’s lawyer father insists that she stay away from both young men.  But she cannot, as they appear to float around the solution to the murder.  In tense and terse building action, Wolf creates a nail-biting situation that will suck you in.  How much is Jaycee willing to risk to solve this murder that everyone else says is just a freak coincidence?  Is there really a rabid, powerful gang in town?  Rachel trusted only one person.  Can Jaycee trust him, or is he the key to all the danger?

Check it out.  Buy it.  Read it. And “always do the right thing.”dead girls

jennifer wolfJenn’s Website


Karl is in incurable love with Fiorella, a girl in love with the written word, especially her favorite author. This all-about-me girl insists that Karl unveil his soul to her in letters. It appears that Fiorella has not noticed that Karl is a shy plumber’s assistant with a perchance for fishing and visual art. Karl shows up on the doorstep of the favorite author from whose viewpoint we witness the unfolding of this Cyrano de Bergerac-ish story. The author (Aidan?) and Karl seem to be kindred spirits and before he knows it, the author is assisting Karl, hanging out and fishing together. The unexpected friendship results in surprising pathos, tradegy and some kinks in Fiorella’s grand plan. Chambers switch-ups in writing styles were fun to read. Does the young man get the girl?

ENDERS’ Rating: *****
Aiden’s Website


Family tragedies can pile up on a person at dizzying speeds and Thomas Makee’s pile is suffocating him. He has dropped out of school, dropped his music and family, but hasn’t dropped his obsession with a former girlfriend, nor drugs. When he tumbled from a table and acquires 10 stitches, he starts part-time jobs in cubicle-ville and at a restaurant sink. Francesca, from Saving Francesca, works at the restaurant owned by a relative and practices her music in the back room. Tom and Ned, the cook, yell suggestions to her from the kitchen. Loved that! Back to the tragedies…they affect the entire family, sorrow dripping from the stories of Georgie, Tom, Dom and others. I was getting depressed. But humans do have the ability to choose their futures, and there is lots of right choices being made to shovel out of the misery. The family dynamics in this Italian (I am pretty sure) family are loud, argumentative and volatile.

Probably not the cheeriest review I have written, but I am hopeful for all the family! Lots of language, so best for older YA readers who can also wrap their minds around the heaviness of the plot. Well worth the read.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Melina’s Website


Lacey is sure that if she had not dawdled with makeup for the weekly “breakfast with Dad” on Saturday mornings, that he would be alive today. Everyone but Lacey knows that she is overcompensating for her guilt by trying to solve her brothers’, mother’s and other people’s problems. The idea of starting a group for grieving teens who are ostracized by others seems a great way to create something positive from her pain. But Mom still works later than ever, Tanner thinks he cannot have fun as Dad is not. Logan resorts to being a party animal. Dealing with grief is harder than Lacey even realizes. The group presents a surprise. So many books deal with grief, but this is the first I have seen with a “fixer” as a main character.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Kristen’s Blog


How many of us think about the world we know versus the world to which we wish to travel? Cora Bradley is wishing for an escape, anywhere but her angry and sorrowful home since the death of her reckless brother Nate. Then add entering high school, changes in her best friend, and having art with Damien who was in the car when Nate wrapped it around that tree.

Cora draws exquisite maps of the world she wishes to see, and ends up creating a map of the world she knows. I have not read such a profound book about the different faces of grief. Will her parents loosen the vise of protection from her? Will Cora be able to accept the summer art program? Will Damien prove just as volatile as her brother?


ENDERS’ Rating: One of the top books of 2009

Lisa Ann Sandell’s Website



Brava to BF! In her quest to delve into romantic stories involving dark sides she has concocted a deliciously wicked story with Jekel Loves Hyde. The story is gripping from “I buried my father the day after my seventeenth birthday.” That is in the prologue…do not gloss over it by looking for chapter one. Jill discovers that her father’s death, her not so delightfully alliterative last name, captivating Tristin Hyde, and a science competition sporting a hefty scholarship are all going to complicate her already sorrowful life. Fans of Jessica Guide may mourn the lack of a sequel of that novel, but not for long. Fantaskey’s sense of suspense, shared first person narrations, and episodic tension make a page-turning read that is sure to keep YA readers begging for more.

ENDERS” Rating: Better have mutliple copies in my library!

Beth Fantaskey’s Website


Katie busies herself after her mother’s death with hard, physical work gardening at a local mysterious estate. Meanwhile, her father, and art restoration specialist, is trying to restore one of the estates mysterious art pieces, painted by the father of the reclusive daughter living there. Katie is curious about the old lady and wonders what would make her hid from the public since a storm many years before. She asks the local, flashy librarian (I like that!) for local history material for some leads. Woven into the intrigue is the story of Katie, her dad and her mother’s last trip to Barcelona before the mother’s death. Kephart weaves the warp and woof of these grief stories into a believable, intriguing mystery. Katie is a great PI and love wins in the end.

ENDERS Rating: Okay, this is my 2nd review of her books, and I now will wrench her books out of other reviewers hands!


Beth Kephart’s Blog



I used to have a book display of titles with the ratings of 1-5 Kleenix. This is worth, oh, six.

It was love at first sight when Mia saw her first cello. Her passion for her music leads her to a climatic choice between her art, her family and her soul mate. I dare not say more, but Mia has to leave someone or something behind, no matter what she chooses. Sniff!

ENDERS Rating: 6 Kleenix

Gayle Formans Website



Whoo hoo!

I have found a wonderful young woman character in Arden Vogel whose quest to do the things that must be done, as her father instructed, is fulfilled in High Dive. Arden high dives into impulsiveness by aborting her trip to Germany, dropping into Paris with three Texan co-eds she met on the flight to Europe. Katie, the organizer, reserved a hostel at a great price for the Texans. With no room at the inn, Arden is reduced to paying an exorbitant price, in cash, for a sleazy room in a dive hotel. I worried that the foursome were going to crash and burn any second, but they successfully made it to Florence where the girls had reservations and a curfew in a convent. Arden’s rapture of the statue of David was priceless, and her comments about the beauty in Florence was great for anyone planning/hoping for a visit there.

The crash and burn happened when Lola, one of the Texans, ran into two guys from home. After sneaking them into the convent and a disgusting night with two drunk guys in her room, Arden packs up and leaves for her original destination: the family vacation home in Sardinia. With her father dead and her mother on duty in Iraq, Arden has to do what has to be done, and dives into preparing the home to sell. Wonderful events interlace the heartache of leaving her childhood memories.

Each of the four girls brought great life to the story. The wrapping of Arden’s childhood memories around her current grief and anxieties show how bitter herbs are mellowed by the sweet. We need more Ardens! Write more!

ENDERS Rating: Refreshing, great characters, amazing story!

Tammar Stein’s Website