Jillicious Reading: November 2008

11.17.2008

Climbing the Stairs

by Padma Venkatraman

Summary: Vidya is an Indian girl growing up in Bombay during WWII. Coming from a progressive family, Vidya hopes that college is in her future instead of an arranged marriage like many of her classmates. After her father is severely injured in a riot, Vidya’s life takes a dramatic turn. Her family must move in with her grandfather’s traditional household, where men and women live separately and Vidya’s future dreams begin to fade. When she can, Vidya escapes upstairs to her grandfather’s library; there she meets a young man who shares her views and helps her reclaim her strength & independence.

Thoughts: This novel presents an interesting story from a unique perspective. I had not read much about India in this time period, and I learned a great deal. Vidya is a strong girl, and I loved the value she placed on books, reading & education. I hope there will be a sequel.

Things Not Seen

by Andrew Clements
Summary: Bobby looks in the mirror one morning and cannot see himself. Somehow he has actually become invisible. His parents, concerned about unwanted media attention, advise him to stay inside until they can help figure out the cause. Instead, he ventures out to the library and runs into, literally, a blind girl named Alicia. A friendship develops that helps both Bobby & Alicia “see” what’s really important.
Thoughts: This is such a unique, powerful novel. The author makes an unbelievable event completely believable and tells a beautiful story in the midst of it.

The Possibilities of Sainthood

by Donna Freitas

Summary: Antonio is your typical teenage girl. She goes to private school, enjoys being with her friends, and dreams of her first kiss. But, something that sets Antonio apart is her desire to be the first living saint. She writes to the Pope regularly offering herself as an ideal candidate. While awaiting a response from the Church, Antonio deals with with her over-protective mother & aging grandmother, vies for the attention of Andy (the boy of her dreams), and tries to figure out what is going on with that aggravating Michael!
Thoughts: I loved this fun novel! Antonio’s family & neighborhood is so endearing and makes the reader want to be a part of it. I also really liked Michael and his fiesty personality. Regardless of your faith, this book is absolutely divine. 🙂

This is What I Did

by Ann Dee Ellis

Summary: Logan witnessed a violent situation that involved his best friend; he is absolutely traumatized. As he is struggling to come to grips with what happened, he is also trying to fit into a new school and deal with some vicious bullies. This unique novel chronicles Logan’s thoughts as he tries to persevere and recover from a life-changing experience.

Thoughts: Whoa. This is a short but powerful novel. The format is quirky but perfect for the story. Even though the writing is sparse, it’s enough for the reader to get to know the characters and to hurt for what they’ve gone through.

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie
 by David Lubar

Summary: Scott Hudson is starting his freshman year and nothing is going his way. He’s constantly getting smacked by the seniors, having his lunch money stolen, and is completely ignored by the girls. He never sleeps because of his endless homework, he’s certain his gym teacher is trying to kill him, and he’s growing apart from his childhood friends. To be near the girl of his dreams, he joins the paper, runs for student council, and tries out for the play, all of which completely backfire. And, on top of everything else, he finds out his mother is pregnant. In hilarious journal entries written to the unborn baby, Scott describes his experiences as he tries to find his place in the high school world.

Thoughts: I listened to this Lubar classic on audio and enjoyed every syllable. It’s a delightful story of a great kid. I loved Scott’s English teacher and will forever be obsessed with Tom Swifties! 🙂

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