Posts Tagged 'mother/daughter relationships'

After by Amy Efaw

after

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  350

RAC:  Yes

Devon is lying on the couch when her mom gets home from her evening shift at the local supermarket.  She is unresponsive and drifting in and out of consciousness and her mother assumes she is staying home sick.  When police officers come to the door to inquire about a newborn baby that was found in a nearby trashcan her mother tells them that she just got home, but that maybe her daughter saw something.  At this point it is revealed that Devon had recently given birth and no one around her even knew she was pregnant.  She is arrested for attempted murder and taken to the hospital.  Once she is mildly recovered she is sent to jail where she is working with a lawyer to fight to stay in the juvenile court system as opposed to being tried as an adult.  Devon feels ashamed and confused and does not want anyone to know what has happened.  Did she really try to kill her baby?  Had she really convinced herself that she was not pregnant or is that just what her story is?  Why didn’t she reach out to the many people around her who could have helped her instead of pushing all of them away?

Everyone has heard a story about a young girl who gives birth without anyone knowing about it and tries to “get rid of” the evidence.  This book tries look at this situation through the eyes of the young girl.  What was she feeling?  Did she realize what she was doing?  After the event has occurred, the reader follows as Devon comes to terms with her decision and tries to decide how she thinks she should be punished.  The characters are interesting and well developed and the details of the story are revealed in an interesting manner.  The final outcome feels right and satisfactory for a topic as serious as this.  It will be a hit with high school girls.

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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

alongfor ride

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/ Romance

# of Pages:  383 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Like other Dessen books, Along for the Ride follows a teenage girl, Auden, who is trying to enjoy the summer before her freshman year in college.  Her entire life she has worked hard at academics and let everything else fall away.  Her parents are divorced and both authors and professors, so there has always been a lot of pressure to excel.  Auden’s older brother, Hollis, is more of a free spirit and has been backpacking through Europe for almost two years.  Meanwhile, Auden’s dad recently remarried and had a baby girl.  When life with her overbearing mother gets too difficult she decides to spend the summer with her dad and Heidi in their small beach town.  Heidi is having trouble adjusting to life with a newborn since Auden’s dad spends all of his time locked in his office working on his next book.  Auden meets a troubled young man who seems to open up to her when he won’t talk to anyone else about the horrific event in his past.  As Auden navigates her own life she learns a lot from those around her.

Dessen portrays in this story how easy it can be for anyone to pass judgment on another person while not taking responsibility for his or her own choices.  In the end, many of the characters learn that in order to truly be happy you have to try things that are scary, which can be anything from relationships to riding a bike, even if that means you might fail.  In other words, playing it safe does not make for a satisfying life without regrets.  Auden’s family has always judged anyone who does not consider academics to be the most important thing to be beneath them.  During this summer of enlightenment, Auden begins to see that each person should be able to make his or her personal decisions about how to live life to the fullest and those people should have the benefit of not being judged for those choices.  A page turner!

Demons are Forever by Julie Kenner

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  292

RAC Book:  Yes

Kate Connor has been a demon hunter for a great deal of her life.  Her and her first husband were both demon hunters until they decided to start a family, when they both retired.  Some years later Kate’s husband was mysteriously murdered and she suspected that maybe he had come out of retirement without her knowledge.  Since then she has remarried and had another child, but lately she has been unable to remain retired as demons start infiltrating her safe suburban town.

Kate chooses to tell her daughter, Allie, the truth about what she does and of course Allie wants to become a demon hunter too.  While this causes some stress for Kate her main concern is finding out why there are so many demons around and how she can protect her family from them.  She believes the key to everything might be in her late husband’s possessions that she put into storage, but as she begins to uncover clues she also puts herself and her family into more and more danger.

This humorous tale about a soccer mom who also fights demons on the side has fantasy, mystery, and witty elements that many readers will enjoy.  The story seemed fairly simple at first, but ended up being more complex which makes it a fun ride to the end.  On top of everything else, Kate seems real and flawed in many ways making the story that much more believable.  She is not a superhuman perfect wife and mother who can do it all, which most people can relate to.  Instead, she has to make priorities and hope she is doing the best for her family.  Strongly recommended for those who are fantasy fans.


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