Posts Tagged 'alcoholism'

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girl on train

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

# of Pages: 323

RAC:  Yes

Rachel is a recently divorced alcoholic, who travels to the city everyday on the train pretending to her roommate that she still has a job.  Every day she passes the house she used to live in with her husband, who still lives there with his new wife and baby.  A few doors down from that house she starts noticing another young couple that she comes to identify with.  She makes up names and stories for them to help her feel like she really knows them.  What she doesn’t know is that their lives are not nearly as perfect as she thinks they are.  One day as the train drives by she sees something unusual that confuses her.  The next day she sees on the news that the woman she has been watching everyday from the train has gone missing.  Should she go to the police?  Will anyone believe her with her history of erratic behavior and alcoholism?

Fans of thrilling mysteries will love this title.  The mystery is well crafted and keeps you in suspense for most of the book.  Several important characters are discussed who all seem like they could possibly be the culprit at one time or another.  The ending is exciting, thrilling, and a bit surprising.  Readers looking for a psychological mystery won’t be disappointed.

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The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  323

RAC Book:  Yes

Hope has a tough home life, but she never fails to look after her mute, autistic brother, Jeremy.  Her life turns upside down when Jeremy is accused of murdering the high school baseball coach with his bat.  She has T.J., her best friend, and Chase, the sheriff’s son she secretly has a crush on, to help her prove Jeremy’s innocence.  The evidence against Jeremy is overwhelming and he is not speaking to help explain what happened. Meanwhile, their neglectful mother obviously believes her son is guilty.   Can Hope prove her brother is innocent without pushing everyone away? Can she come to terms with the situation if he is in fact guilty?

This mystery has many great elements that will keep readers interested. First of all, there are many surprising plot developments revealed as Hope investigates what happened that fateful morning. The empty jars Jeremy collects provide a unique and interesting way of understanding Jeremy and of helping Hope learn what really happened to the coach. There are also many great characters with multiple dimensions and motivations including Jeremy’s lawyer, Chase, TJ, and Jeremy.   The truth is in front of the reader the whole time, but Hope has to put the pieces together. Overall, a good mystery.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  373

RAC:  Yes

Calli is a seven-year-old girl who has been unable to speak since she witnessed a terrible incident years before.  Her best friend, Petra, understands her without words and they do everything together.  One morning both girls disappear from their beds and police wonder if they are together.  Meanwhile, Calli’s alcoholic and abusive father is also missing and her mother begins to fear the worst.   Can the well meaning deputy find the girls before it’s too late?

This story written by an Iowa author takes place in an Iowa town and accurately depicts the relationships people have in small town Iowa.  Each chapter follows a different character and helps the reader piece together what happened to these two girls.  The strong friendship these girls have ends up benefiting both of them in very different ways.  There are tough issues addressed such as kidnapping, alcoholism, and, abuse but the story is very engaging and will make readers want to find out what happened to these girls.  Recommended for Picoult fans.

Lush by Natasha Friend

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 178 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Samantha struggles with the fact that her father is an alcoholic. He is a successful architect who often comes home late or not at all due to his drinking habits. Her mother is constantly making excuses for him and trying to tell her that everything is okay, but Samantha does not believe this and starts to grow distant from him. After a binge he is always apologetic and promising change, but Sam quickly learns that his word means nothing. Her little brother is young enough that he doesn’t understand what is going on, but Sam tries to protect him from it nonetheless. She begins leaving notes for someone in the library she believes might be able to help her, but the person responding to her notes is not who she thinks it is. As she deals with some bullying at school the situation at home continues to get worse. The worst part is that she starts to wonder if she could have the same tendencies as her father.

Alcoholism is a very serious topic for young adults, but this story relates the topic best to teenagers and what it can be like to live with an alcoholic. This book discusses the warning signs, the symptoms, and even the steps needed to begin overcoming this disease. Having said that, it never gets preachy or gives the impression that something of this nature can be fixed quickly. Communication is stressed as being very important to helping a family member work through this problem. A good book about a serious subject.

Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski

Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  344

RAC Book:  Yes

Sixteen year old Lucy Phillips lives in Manhattan in the late 1800s.  Her father has trained her to be a medium and hold seances in order to make money.  One night during one of these fake seances, Lucy hears a real voice asking her for help.  The voice belongs to a girl named Lindsay who lives in present day Manhattan.  She lives with an alcoholic mother and an abusive stepfather and is having trouble coping.

Lindsay is not too eager to listen to the voices in her head, afraid that it will cause others to think she is crazy.  Lucy, on the other hand, can’t wait to reconnect with Lindsay so that she can support herself as a real medium and earn money by predicting events in the future.  Through their eventual friendship, Lucy does prosper while Lindsay’s situation worsens.  Lucy feels so bad about Lindsay’s problems that she devises  a way to help her from the 19th century.

Silent Echoes was a delightful story about two girls who could speak many generations apart from each other.  Both need the other’s help and are struggling with their current lives,  but they learn a lot about the times they live in as well as each other.  They begin to see how some girls in both settings simply do not have many chances to raise above their dire circumstances.  The book also speaks about how many rich people will do anything to stay above the poor, even if it is unethical.  Many issues are covered in this book, but the interesting and fast paced story is what many readers will enjoy.  Highly recommended.


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