Posts Tagged 'domestic abuse'

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

dead ends

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  328

RAC:  Yes

Dane is a bully who is a mere few strikes away from expulsion, but he still can’t seem to keep his fists under control.  One day he notices a boy with Down Syndrome following him to school and he decides to put him in his place, but surprisingly the boy immediately has an effect on him.  His name is Billy D and he is Dane’s new neighbor.  Billy D wants Dane to teach him how to fight and find his father and in return he will tell the Warden at school how much Dane is helping him navigate the new building and protecting him from other bullies.  As Dane walks Billy D to and from school everyday they start to become friends and Dane helps Billy D solve the clues his father left for him in an old atlas.  Billy D is sure that the clues will lead to his father’s location, but Dane is starting to grow concerned that this path to Billy’s father might end with him getting hurt in some way.  Can Dane help Billy D long enough to avoid expulsion?  Can Billy D solve the clues and do those clues lead to his father?  What is the reason why he does not know where his father is?

Dane and Billy’s unlikely friendship pulls readers in as they try to follow the clues left by Billy’s dad.  You can’t help but want to know about Billy’s backstory and all the things he doesn’t want to tell Dane about.  Meanwhile, Dane is dealing with a single mom, an absent dad, and unexplainable rage issues.  Can these two find a way to help each other grow?  The characters are incredibly complex and sympathetic which fuels the entire story.  Recommended for reluctant readers.

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Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

bruiser

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  328

RAC Book:  Yes

Tennyson and Bronte are siblings whose parents are English professors.  Tennyson feels very protective of his sister, Bronte, which is why he is upset when he learns she is dating Brewster who is known as Bruiser around their high school.  Tennyson tries intimidating Brewster and even follows him to try and get him to leave his sister alone, but what he ends up finding is that Brewster is covered in bruises and other injuries.  This leads Tennyson to believe that Brewster is being abused at home, but upon further inspection he realizes that Brewster’s situation is a whole lot more complicated than that.  Brewster, through no effort on his part, takes on the pain of anyone he cares about.  As Tennyson and Bronte start to get to know him they start to like having him around and vow never to tell Brewster’s secret.  The problem is that this unusual power is killing Brewster and he does not know if he can stop it before it’s too late.  What will he have to give to protect those he loves?

This story is very different and unique which is why it is so captivating and engaging.  Shusterman creates a set of characters that any reader can empathize with.  The chapters alternate between Bronte, Brewster, and Tennyson, which also helps the reader to see the situation through multiple perspectives.  This book is recommended for everyone, but could be especially useful with reluctant readers.

Accidental Mobster by M.M. Cox

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  247

RAC Book:  Yes

Danny Higgins is forced out of his home when a domestic dispute between his parents ends badly.  Surprisingly a man he’s never met before, Gino, comes to rescue him from foster life claiming to be his godfather.  Gino lives a very extravagant lifestyle with his wife and two kids, but welcomes Danny wholeheartedly.  As Danny begins to get used to this life that is so different from where he came from, he learns that his godfather has ties to the mob.  He cares about his godfather and wants to protect him, but he cannot deny that Gino has made some terrible choices in his past.  Plus, he is being blackmailed from more than one person and he has to figure out how to protect himself from all the people who want to hurt him and his new family.  Is there a way to protect Gino and his family without having to give up his new happy life?

This story is quite engaging.  Danny is a likable character from a tough background who finds himself in happy new surroundings.  Of course he doesn’t stay happy for long as he struggles to find ways to save his reputation and protect his adopted family from those who wish to tear them down.  Danny is very clever and often comes up with elaborate plans in order to get what he wants.  This is refreshing because many characters simply let things happen to them and Danny is very proactive.   High school boys will especially enjoy the story because it has a little espionage and a lot of action that they tend to enjoy.  A very fun read.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  266

RAC Book:  Yes

Gaby lost her husband three years prior to the start of the book and hasn’t seen her kids all together for the holidays since.  This year she sends out a video message announcing that she is getting married on Christmas Day and won’t announce who the groom is, so they better all be there.  Her kids are battling different tough issues.  Claire, is married with three kids.  Her husband is a bum who uses recreational drugs and occasionally abuses her.  Lizzie’s husband has Cancer and is struggling to deal with his many appointments and seizures.  Seth is a struggling writer who is desperately trying to get a book published so he can marry his long time girlfriend.  Finally, Emily is a workaholic lawyer in a firm who doesn’t fully appreciate her and her boss keeps trying to hit on her.  They are all happy and intrigued by their mother’s announcement, but are worried about their own lives at the moment.  Can they all come together for the holiday and their mother’s big wedding?

This is a fun, lighthearted and fast paced Christmas story.  There are some tough issues like domestic abuse and drug use, as well as some tough language at times, but the overall positive message of the story and the power of family makes the story fun and heartwarming at the same time.  Recommended for readers looking for a fun holiday read.

Crackback by John Coy

Genre: Sports/Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 200

2008 Iowa Teen Award Winner

RAC Book: Yes

Miles Manning has been a starting football player since he was in junior high. His team begins the year with high aspirations of winning state, but those dreams quickly vanish when their two starting quarterbacks get hurt and their coach has to leave for radiation treatments. The new coach blames Miles for everything that goes wrong with the team and believes he thinks too much and should just react to situations.

As hard as life is at school, however, it is worse at home. Miles’s dad is like a ticking time bomb that they all tip toe around and try not to set off. He still manages to find things to be angry about and usually goes after Miles when he wants to yell at someone. He was a big football player himself, so whenver he can he tells Miles all the mistakes he is making and never compliments him on what he does well.

On top of everything else, the players who are doing well on the team have all started taking recreational drugs including steroids and want him to do the same. This story accurately depicts the many aspects of a teenager’s life and how pressure can come at a student from all sides at times. Despite the many people trying to pull Miles down he always does what he feels is right, even if he knows there will be consequences. He cannot allow others to think for him and instead chooses to always think for himself. Miles has to learn that there will be life after high school and in order to survive he needs to look ahead. Recommended, especially for sports readers.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 250 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Tyler struggles with both his home and school life. His father works for one of the most powerful men in the community and struggles to please him. The stress of his dad’s job transfers to a difficult home life for Tyler as his father often takes his frustrations out by yelling and him, his mother, and his sister. Although his dad never hits anyone, he is not afraid to yell and throw tantrums in order to get the respect from his family that he thinks he deserves.

At the same time, Tyler is still remembered for a vandalism prank he pulled the previous year. He is constantly picked on and ridiculed, but the most popular girl in school, who also happens to be his dad’s boss’s daughter, has decided to show some interest in him. When Tyler makes a difficult decision at a party to walk away from a bad situation, he ends up landing in even more trouble than he could have imagined.

This powerful story will resonate with readers in a similar way to Anderson’s popular Speak. This story asks many questions about high school life such as: Do the rich and powerful always win? Can someone be beaten into submission? Can someone survive abuse in all aspects of his or her life? Is it possible to stand up for yourself against all powerful forces? Students will find this story haunting but possible, which will leave them thinking about these questions long after they have finished reading.


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