Posts Tagged 'alcohol abuse'

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  281

RAC Book:  Yes

Alona is arguing with someone on her cell phone when she fails to look before she crosses a street and is killed by a school bus.  She dies, but does not go to heaven as she expects.  Instead, she remains around her high school and finds she can see how everyone is coping with her death.  To her dismay, her high school did not come to a screeching halt merely because its most popular girl died.  She begins to get frustrated because she doesn’t know how to get to heaven, but then she realizes that the weird goth kid, Will Killian, can see and hear her.  She makes it her mission to make him help her get to the other side, but Will needs some favors of his own.  Can the two overcome their differences to work together and find happy outcomes for both?

This is a fun, light story with some very real problems in it.  Alona was the popular girl of the class, but that did not mean her life was perfect and Will soon finds that she hid some very serious problems from her classmates.  Meanwhile, Will is struggling with his gift of seeing the dead and worries he might end up like his father who had shared the same gift.  There is a bit of swearing, but it won’t be anything most high school students aren’t used to hearing.  The message of the story is clear and readers will move through the fast paced story quickly.  The ending is a little unclear, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

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Three Willows by Ann Brashares

cover-3-willows

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 12 and up

# of Pages: 318 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Ama, Jo, and Polly are three friends who met in 3rd grade and have drifted a bit over the last few years. In the summer before their freshman year of high school they each take a different journey. Ama reluctantly takes an opportunity to go on a wilderness adventure in which she can earn school credit.   In order to get credit, however, she has to survive to the end and rappel off of a mountain. Jo goes to her family’s summer home with her mother and gets a job at a restaurant. Polly decides to go to a modeling clinic. Ama has a difficult time adjusting to her wilderness adventure because she is weak, slow, and seems to get hurt a lot. She thinks about giving up and going home several times, but she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about her real feelings. Jo realizes that her parents’ marriage is in trouble and makes some bad choices over the summer in order to avoid dealing with it. Polly feels very lonely with no friends and a mother who spends all of her time in her workshop. She responds by putting herself on a strict diet. As the three struggle with their personal problems they all realize how important it is to keep your true friends close.

Those who were fans of the original sisterhood books will like this story. The writing style is the same and it is easy to care about these three girls and the struggles they have to deal with over this very important summer. The girls from the traveling pants series are mentioned briefly, but it is not a sequel to those books. Instead, it is a book about friendship with three new girls. These girls are a bit younger than the traveling pants girls, but they will find an audience who cares about them and wants to hear what happens to them after they start high school. The transition to high school is a time of many changes for young girls and that is illustrated beautifully in this story as each girl struggles with different challenges and finds inner strength she never knew she had. Brashares knows how to write very relatable and interesting teenage girls.

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Poetry

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  530 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Awards: Iowa High School Award Winner 2009-2010

This story is told in poetry form and follows a young girl named Pattyn whose strict family belongs to the Church of Latter Day Saints.  She is the oldest of six girls and her father does not hide the fact that he would prefer boys.  He often drinks and then hits Pattyn’s mother and the other members of the congregation look away.  As Pattyn begins to think about boys, love, and women’s roles in life she begins to question everything her family stands for.  After some mishaps at school she is sent to live with her aunt who opens her eyes to a different way of life.  Will she ever be able to break free of her family?  Will she ever be able to protect herself from her father’s wrath?

This story depicts a very dysfunctional family through the eyes of the oldest teenager daughter.  She struggles with finding right and wrong and wonders if she is wrong to want a better life than what her mother has.  The time she spends with her Aunt is refreshing as Pattyn begins to learn and grow in a bigger world than the one her family has shown her.  Her summer romance with Ethan shows her what a good relationship is like with open communication and mutual respect.  The story ends ambiguously and many readers will wonder what actually happens to Pattyn.  The ending reminds readers that sometimes there is no happy ending for the characters you have come to care about.  This is a serious book that discusses serious issues.  Fans of A Child Called It or The Rules of Survival will find this interesting.  Those looking for a lighthearted romance need to keep looking.


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