Tag Archive | abuse

Names They Gave Us – enough against chaos? by Emery Lord (book review)

book cover of Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…

Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.

If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…

This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.

(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).

Have you ever bargained with God?
**kmm

Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.

The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?

Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?

Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?

Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.

Ozzie’s world is shrinking At the Edge of the Universe (fiction) by Shaun David Hutchinson

book cover of At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com First Tommy is gone,
then the memory of him is gone from every mind,
except one…

Why can’t anyone remember Tommy? His best friend since 2nd grade, boyfriend since 8th grade, love of his life – by his side on July 3rd, gone on July 4th, and no one remembers him but Ozzie!

Just published this week, you can find Ozzie’s story – with each chapter title showing a smaller and smaller diameter of the universe from science websites – at your local library or independent bookstore now.

What do you do when a friend leaves?
**kmm

Book info: At the Edge of the Universe / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Ozzie can just find where his boyfriend Tommy has gone, then the high school senior can stop his family from disintegrating, celebrate gender-fluid best friend Lua’s musical success, and prove to everyone that Tommy does exist!

And discover why lab partner Calvin started cutting himself after quitting the wrestling team.

And stop the universe from shrinking, shrinking, with his little Florida town at the center.

Still Life With Tornado, by A.S. King (book review) – artist’s block, memory overload

book cover of Still Life With Tornado by AS King, published by Dutton Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAn artist who can no longer draw,
A fractured household that never heals,
Memories buried and unearthed.

All Sarah wants to do is make art, until something stays her hand, blocks her power to create, and keeps the 16 year old wandering Philadelphia on a hunt for something (anything!) original instead of finishing school.

Then her 10-year-old self arrives, followed by her 23-year-old self…

Fall into the middle of Sarah’s existential crisis with this free excerpt of chapter one here on the publisher’s site.

Happy book birthday to Still Life With Tornado ! Mighty stoked that I get to hear author A.S. King as keynote speaker at KidLitCon 2016 (aka paradise for kids’ and young adult book bloggers) in Wichita, Kansas, this weekend.

Family stories dis-remembered? Share, please.
**kmm

Book info: Still Life With Tornado / A.S. King. Dutton Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a teen artist stops going to school because she suddenly can’t create, her 10 year old self appears in her Philadelphia neighborhood, prompting Sarah to relocate memories that she’s hidden and consider if anything is original in the world.

As she wanders familiar and distant parts of town, Sarah wonders why big brother Bruce transferred to college in Oregon right after their not-so-good family vacation in Mexico six years ago and has never contacted her.

Ten-year-old Sarah goes with her to the museum, 23-year-old Sarah tells her that 16 is a popular age for existential crisis (even this isn’t original?!), and Dad is still yelling at night nurse Mom all the time.

Is Sarah going crazy?
Why can’t she remember what happened in Mexico?
What is truly original in life?

Whatever happened at school might be the reason Sarah won’t return, but she will have to bring back some memories – old and new – if she wants to be able to draw and create again. Chapters from Mom’s viewpoint and 10-year-old Sarah’s memories of Mexico sketch out the fragile framework of their family life, together yet distant.

Hope endures – read for inspiration, with your ears!

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Bookmark the SYNC site now so you can download great audiobooks all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of Boy Born Dead by David Ring, John Driver | Read by Paul Michael Published by christianaudio | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Boy Born Dead: a Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph (download page)

by David Ring, John Driver
Read by Paul Michael
Published by christianaudio

Neglect at birth left David with cerebral palsy. Orphaned, he was rootless and abused in the foster care system until he was befriended in high school by another David who inspired him to complete his education, rise above his past, and become an international speaker to inspire countless others through ministry.

Words in the Dust (download page)

CD cover of Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy | Read by Ariana Delawari Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comby Trent Reedy
Read by Ariana Delawari
Published by Scholastic Audio

In her Afghan village, young Zulaikha hopes and hopes – for a school, for cleft-palate surgery, for peace. God willing ‘Inshallah’  – her new friend will teach her, the arriving Americans will fix things, her stepmother will love her – but is hoping enough?

When has hope gotten you through the bad times?
**kmm

Road trip tales – time to read with your ears!

Time for a road trip? Tales of escape from and escape to are ready for you read with your ears with free audiobooks from SYNC!

If you download them before late night Wednesday (25 May 2016), you can listen to these complete audiobooks any time using your computer or electronic device.

Click on the title to get to its download site, or visit SYNC to see what’s available this summer week: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD audiobook cover of 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith | Read by Kirby Heyborne Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com100 Sideways Miles
by Andrew Smith
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Published by Tantor Media

Measuring time as the distance that the earth travels during each minute, epileptic Finn longs to escape being just a character in his father’s epic SciFi novel, so a road trip with his best friend to find Finn’s lost love is in order.
This Boy’s LifeCD audiobook cover of by Tobias Wolff | Read by Oliver Wyman Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Tobias Wolff
Read by Oliver Wyman
Published by HighBridge Audio

In this memoir chronicling his mother’s continued flight from abusive relationships, Wolff puts a darkly comedic spin on his battles with the terrible men in her life during his teen years.

What road trip would you write about?
**kmm

Writing Clementine, by Kate Gordon (book review) – journaling secrets, reader optional

book cover of Writing Clementine by Kate Gordon, published by Allen & Unwin | BooksYALove.comWhen there’s nothing to write about
and you still have to write,
sometimes big truths appear…

Year 9 is tough on Clementine, with her best friends and family members growing away from her, until fascinating Fred arrives, dressed like a dandy from a bye-gone era, asking her to join his steampunk world and truly become the self she writes about in her philosophy class journal.

This Australian title arrives in the US on Sept. 1st , so your local library or local independent bookstore should be able to easily get it through Independent Publishers Group.

Several in-school personas in Writing Clementine  don’t match up with their leisure-time pursuits – what’s the most unusual public-private contrast you’ve seen?

**kmm

Book info: Writing Clementine / Kate Gordon. Allen & Unwin, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Clementine feels left behind as family and friends change, so a new student’s invitation to role-play in a steampunk society lets the Tasmanian teen experience acceptance and romance that she never even dreamed about in her journal.

Her best friends demand that Clem grow up in a hurry, then they move on. Her brother’s been holed up in his room for a year, and she feels responsible. Her philosophy teacher requires daily journal writing, but won’t read or comment on it unless asked.

A new student moves to town, like a reviving breeze with his elegant clothes and intriguing smile. Fred is such a contrast to creepy Sam and the other boys at school!

When Fred introduces her to the Burnie Steampunk Society, Clem finds new friends as they pretend to live in Victorian times.

Can she ever accept that Fred likes her just as she is?
Why can’t she just fix what’s wrong for her beloved big brother?
What should she do about Sam’s unwanted attention?

Clementine faces choices, changes, and challenges during her first year of high school, as recounted in the pages of her philosophy class journal. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

R for road trip Finding Paris, by Joy Preble (book review) – big sis gone? little sis searches!

book cover of Finding Paris by Joy Preble published by Balzer + BrayA scavenger hunt!
In Las Vegas!
For sister who doesn’t want to be found…

It’s always been just-younger Leonora who’s watched over Paris as their mother’s rapid job turnover so often let the sisters loose wherever they lived.

Now Paris has set Leo on a scavenger hunt to find her – seems more like a wild-goose chase – and is promising to take care of Leo??

Happy book birthday to Finding Paris! (yes, most US books/movies/music are published on Tuesdays)

Ever have a scavenger hunt that was just perfect? Share, please!
**kmm

Book info: Finding Paris / Joy Preble.  Balzer + Bray, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When artsy Paris disappears, the clues she leaves for little sister Leonora send the high school junior all over Las Vegas and beyond, accompanied by cute Max she met at the diner and a growing sense of dread.

Moving from Santa Monica to Las Vegas was Mom’s idea, sure that marrying so-so gambler Tommy would stabilize their lives.

Leonora just saves her money from work, studies for SAT, and counts down until she can leave for college, med school some day. Big sister Paris creates found art, fascinating jewelry, would do anything for Leo.

Then Paris abandons Leo at an all-night diner and sends her on a scavenger hunt. Max has time before work to help Leo find her sister, so they follow clues all over Las Vegas.

The clues get frantic – what trouble is Paris escaping from?
A road trip? That far? Will Max really help?
Something important has been taken from Leo – can she get it back?

Love and loyalty are tested as secrets peel away and the miles add up.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Stronger Than You Know, by Jolene Perry (book review) – moving beyond abuse

book cover of Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry published by Walt Whitman TeenAway from her abusers at last,
trying to become normal…
but what is normal?

Held captive all her life by her own mother, cigarette burned and hurt by mom’s ‘friends’ – how can Joy suddenly go to high school, or feel safe with a man in the same room, or let anyone get close to her?

A powerful story that isn’t all ‘woe is me’ or suddenly happy forever, Joy relates her struggles with things most folks take for granted – learning to use a cellphone, going to a restaurant – as her aunt, uncle, and cousins help her as best they can.

**kmm

Book info: Stronger Than You Know / Jolene Perry.  Albert Whitman Teen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Rescued from a lifetime of abuse, fifteen year old Joy tries to move forward with her life with her aunt’s family, fighting the brokenness created by her own mother.

All the changes – from being locked in a California trailer for months at a time to having her own room in Seattle with a door that locks from the inside, from never going anywhere to attending a big high school, from having no one care about her to having family and friends who want Joy to be happy – even if they are good changes, it’s so difficult to forget the past, to get over the nightmares…

Perhaps today, Joy can stay in the room with her uncle, who wants to protect her.
Maybe soon, she’ll be able to hold hands with sweet Justin from history class.
Eventually, she might have to face her tormentors again…

A candid yet hopeful portrait of the shattering effects of abuse and the many adjustments large and small that can allow some measure of healing.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Opposite of Love, by Sarah Scheerger (book review) – goodbye letter, forever? help!

book cover of The Opposite of Love by Sarah Lynn Scheerger published by Albert WhitmanGone. Just… gone.
No forewarning, phone disconnected,
How can the love of your life disappear so completely?

Chase and Rose are very imperfect people, but they are so right together – until Rose vanishes, and her adoptive parents have no clue where she went.

The author provides an excerpt of this bittersweet story’s first chapter here for free. Check your local library or independent bookstore so you can read it all.

When you can’t keep the only thing keeping you sane in the face of abuse and indifference, what next?
**kmm

Book info: The Opposite of Love / Sarah Lynn Scheerger. Albert Whitman, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meeting through mutual friends, artistic Rose and kid-magnet Chase fall in love, but struggle to keep parents and their pasts from tearing apart their future together.

When Chase’s long-gone abusive dad demands visitation rights and Rose’s adoptive parents lock her in the house to keep the Native American teen out of trouble, the high school couple’s plans to leave behind their California town go up in smoke.

How will Rose locate her real mother now?
How can Chase protect his little sister when he’s away at Walter’s?
Why does Rose stop answering texts and calls from Chase and her friends?

Flashing back and forth between Chase’s frantic quest to Rose now before it’s too late and their earlier days of meeting, teasing, and learning to love, this story of choices and possible redemption follows two flawed people as they try to rewrite the dismal future that others predict for them.

 

Shelter, by Patricia H. Aust (book review) – escaping Dad’s abuse…maybe

book cover of Shelter by Patricia Aust published by Luminis BooksDad in dictator mode,
Family can never do anything right,
Bam! The abuse begins again…

While machismo may be the norm for Puerto Rican men on the island and in the US, Miguel’s dad inflicts mental and physical abuse on his family, plain and simple.

A great #diversebook from my 48 Hour Reading Challenge last weekend – ask for Shelter at your local library or favorite independent bookstore. In memory of its author, the publisher is donating part of the royalties to the women’s shelter where she volunteered before her death in 2012.

Share Miguel’s story with others once you’ve finished – for some it will be interesting information; for others it will be the hope and knowledge that they need to escape family violence.

**kmm

Book info: Shelter / Patricia H. Aust. Luminis Books, 2014.  [author obituary]   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Mom can’t take Dad’s abuse any more and escapes with Miguel and his big sister to a shelter, the teen is certain that his father won’t rest until he finds them.

Every detail of family life must be done exactly as Dad demands, or else! At first, Mom could keep the bruises hidden when she went to work, but not this broken jaw.

Fleeing to the women’s shelter is just the first step for Mom, Ellie, and Miguel – restraining orders, new cellphones, getting off the camp bus two stops early so the shelter location isn’t known, going to court.

But Ellie’s boyfriend Diego isn’t any happier with her being gone than Dad is that his family disappeared – even in Connecticut, no piece of paper should come between a Puerto Rican man and his woman!

During this anxious summer in another town, Miguel has to decide if he must always be in control like Dad or will follow his tae kwan do instructor’s teachings and become a honorable man.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)