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 Life
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.
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.
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?
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)
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!
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)
Away 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.
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)
When you can’t keep the only thing keeping you sane in the face of abuse and indifference, what next?
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.
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.
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)
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