Jillicious Reading: January 2011

1.19.2011

The Running Dream
by Wendelin Van Draanen

SummaryTrack star Jessica has always boldly taken on the toughest opponents on the track.  But when her leg is crushed in an accident and amputated below the knee, she faces a challenge she could never have imagined

NotesThe Running Dream is an authentic, compelling novel.  Ms. Van Draanen convincingly explores the ups and downs of trying to recover from a tragic accident; Jessica is realistically depressed and filled with self-pity one day and handling her trials with humor, hope, and determination the next.  She is a likeable, believable character that the reader can’t help but root for as she progresses as a patient and as a person.  Not everyone will experience a sudden life change like Jessica’s, but all can relate to the challenge of overcoming obstacles and will find inspiration in the gentle reminder to take things one step at a time. 

Click to learn more about Wendelin Van Draanen’s writing and her “Exercise the Right to Read” campaign.

1.16.2011

Hunger
by Jackie Morse Kessler

Summary: Anorexia?  How can Lisa have anorexia when she is so fat?  Fueled by the Thin Voice that constantly rides and shames her, Lisa ignores her friend’s concern and continues to obsess over food.  A failed suicide attempt causes her to summon Death.  He assigns her the role of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse.  As Famine, she travels the world witnessing extreme gluttony and starvation as she tries to restore balance in the world and in her own life.

Thoughts:  Wow. This is a powerful novel about eating disorders told in a captivating, new way.  Hunger provides insight into the struggles of those who deal with food issues and what makes these struggles so difficult.  Some readers may share Lisa’s severe struggle with food; others may relate more to simply trying to cultivate a healthy self-image or trying to please those around them.  Lisa, her parents, and her friends are believable, realistic characters; Death and the other Horsemen are innovatively imagined.  I really liked this creative but compassionate look at a very serious problem and look forward to Ms. Kessler’s next work.  Her second young adult novel, Rage, comes out in April 2011 and tells the story of a girl who deals with the world by injuring herself. 

Interesting note:  A portion of the proceeds from Hunger are donated to the National Eating Disorders Association.    

Click to read more about author Jackie Morse Kessler.   

1.05.2011

Forgive my Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs

Summary: Lily is a typical high school girl…. except she happens to be half-mermaid and the daughter of the Sea King.  She has fallen head-over-tail for Brody, star of the swim team, and has big plans for him to one day rule with her over the ocean kingdom.  That is, if bad-boy Quince, her annoying (but oh-so-cute!) next door neighbor, will stop getting in the way.

ThoughtsForgive my Fins is frothy fin-tastic fun!  Just look at that cover!  Mermaids, cute boys, hidden undersea kingdoms, and real-world feelings of wanting to fit in and be loved are blended together into a light-hearted fantasy that is well worth the plunge.  Fans of Meg Cabot and author Tera Lynn Childs’ other Oh.My.Gods novels should definitely dive in.  And, good news for those wanting more fishy tales:  the sequel Fins are Forever hits land this summer!  

Click to read more about author Tera Lynn Childs.      

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Summary: Dash is browsing the shelves of The Strand, the beloved NYC bookstore, and discovers a red Moleskine notebook.  The book is full of clues and sends Dash on a literary scavenger hunt.  When he completes the tasks, he leaves clues for the owner, Lily, to continue the game. This red notebook leads the two teens on a delightful Christmas treasure hunt that neither could have ever expected.

Thoughts: Knowing that this book involved The Strand (one of my favorite places in the world!), I was in love before I even started!  And, the book did not disappoint.  Once again Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List) collaborate skillfully to create loveable, eccentric characters, a unique plotline, a fun romp through NYC, and a clever romance.  I adored witty, wordsmith Dash and the free-spirited, animal-loving, big-hearted Lily. This is my favorite Cohn & Levithan collaboration, and my Christmas wish would be more Dash & Lily!  

Exciting note:  Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares has already been optioned for a movie!  

Click to read more about authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.            

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