Posts Tagged 'nature'

Listen! by Stephanie S. Tolan

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 12 and up

# of Pages: 197 p.

RAC Book: Yes

2008 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Twelve-year-old Charley is still recovering from a car accident in which her leg was badly hurt. As she struggles to walk with a cane around the lake near her house she finds a wild dog whom she names Coyote. Charley makes it her mission to tame Coyote and keep him as a personal friend. She feels they have a connection and she needs a friend for the summer since her best friend went off to tennis camp.

Listen is a slow moving story about a girl coping with the death of her mother and then a traumatic accident of her own in which she spent many months rehabilitating from. Coyote helps her to come to terms with everything she has lost as well as finding how to move on. Animal lovers will enjoy this book because it accurately illustrates how animals and humans can help each other heal. A good story, but many students may find it too slow without enough action to keep them intrigued and engaged.

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Undercover by Beth Kephart

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  278

RAC Book:  Yes

Elisa loves to write poems and chooses to use that talent to help boys get girls to like them.  She believes that she will always be invisible since she is not pretty or popular.  When she helps a boy named Theo try to woo a popular girl she begins to enjoy meeting with him to share poems and other thoughts.  When his new girlfriend finds out she gets jealous and vows to make Elisa’s life miserable. 

Elisa is not just invisible at school, however.  Her mother and older sister are beautiful blonds who concern themselves with their appearance and the latest fashions.  Elisa doesn’t mind this as much as you would think because she has such a strong connection to her father, the person who showed her how to view nature in a way that she could write poetry about it.  Her father has been out of town on business for a long time and it begins to cause friction between her parents.

The idea of Elisa being a Cyrano de Bergerac is interesting, but not played out enough.  She seems to do it out of sheer kindness even though everyone around her treats her terribly.  Her fascination with skating is interesting, but also rushed in the ending which makes it feel underdeveloped.  The entire ending seemed rushed and too open ended for the intended audience.  Students will have many questions about it when they are finished.  The pacing of this story is uneven and fails to resolve itself by the end. 


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