Posts Tagged 'illness'

Crazy by Han Nolan

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  348

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2013-2014

Jason tries to blend in at school and not draw anyone’s notice because he doesn’t want anyone to know how bad his home life is.  His father has always had some mental issues, but when his mother suddenly dies he finds it is up to him to take care of his father and everything else.  When he tries to rebel against some of the rules in class, however, he ends up having to meet with other troubled teens in a counseling session every week.  Soon, he comes to find that others have difficult issues to deal with as well and begins to open up a bit.  Will his new friends help him keep his secret even after they see his deplorable living conditions and the fact that he is solely responsible for his father’s survival?

This is a powerful story about a group of young kids who deal with more than most students can probably imagine in a single day.  Loss of parents, illness, infidelity, divorce, mental illness, and substance abuse are all discussed as these high school students try to help each other cope.  The counseling sessions do help Jason come to terms with the fact that he is not alone and he can reach out to people.  Reading this book could help high school students to be more understanding of each other and hopefully not as superficial.

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  265

RAC Book:  Yes

Iowa High School Award Winner 2010

Jenna Fox was in a horrible car accident and wakes up a year later in a different part of the country with no memory of the previous year.  She lives with her mom and grandma and her dad is back home.  No one will tell her why they moved or why she has no memories of her life.  They assure her it will take time to recover and remember who she was.  In this book, it is possible to replace organs or create clones, but it is illegal to do so.  As Jenna starts piecing together bits of information that do not make sense she starts to wonder what her parents were willing to do in order to save her.  How far would a parent go to save a dying child?

Students who like Jodi Picoult books will enjoy this one, because it moves quickly and has several twists and turns in the plot.  There are also many moral issues discussed as the society struggles with the previous overuse of antibiotics that have annihilated several species of plants and animals on earth.  What scientific measures are appropriate if the intentions are good?  When does it go too far?  An interesting futuristic story that will leave the reader thinking about the possibilities the future could hold if we do not monitor some of our ways today.

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers

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Genre:  Sports/Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  266

RAC:  Yes

Slam is called Slam for a reason.  He can dunk a basketball right in the face of stiff competition.  When he is moved to a new school he has some trouble adjusting.  First, he is now separated from his friends, including his best friend, Ice.  He also has to focus on his grades because if they slip too much he won’t be eligible to play basketball, which is his favorite thing in the world to do.  His new school is much more difficult, so he is having trouble keeping up.  Plus, his coach and some of his teachers think he has an attitude problem, which does not help matters.  As Slam tries to deal with the many aspects of his life there always seems to be a new distraction to get in the way.  Friends from his old school try to convince him that Ice may be into something bad since he has a lot of money to burn all of a sudden.  Slam doesn’t want to see that Ice may be dealing drugs because he knows it could be the end of their friendship.  At the same time all of this is going on, Slam is fighting to get a place on the school basketball team.  Will he ever feel like he has some control over his life?

Fans of Walter Dean Myers will like this book as well.  Slam is a likable character with a lot of difficult, yet believable things going on in his life.  Many teenagers will be able to relate to dealing with friends, school, sports, and family at the same time.  Myers also weaves exciting sports action throughout the story which will make sports fans happy.  Most readers will wish that the story was longer just so they can follow Slam as he navigates through all the different people in his life for longer.  Teenage boys will be reaching for this one.

Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  280 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Liz’s grandmother, Bunny, dies before the book begins and Liz watches as her mother sinks further and further into a depression.  Liz and everyone else loved Bunny too, but she feels helpless as she watches her mother withdraw from everything important to her.  Meanwhile, the mean old lady across the street has some new visitors.  Liz learns that these visitors are her estranged daughter who is very sick and her two children.  Nathan is about Liz’s age and extremely angry about the fact that his mother is dying.  Courtney is younger and no one seems to want to tell her the true prognosis of her mother’s condition.  As Liz struggles with everything around her the one constant is her love of the piano.  She finds that playing the piano can help her cope with anything, but can she help those around her find their own ways of coping?

This story about life and death reaches out to everyone.  It illustrates how differently people handle loss and how all of their relationships are affected by it.  It also shows how important it is to communicate with people you care about, whether it be during a difficult or easy time.  When people fail to communicate with each other about anything it can cause tension and lead to bigger problems later on.


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