Tag Archive | bicycles

J for Julia and journeys – A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, by Emily Horner (fiction)

Cass is waiting to hear about Julia’s secret project,
Funny, smart, drama chick Julia,
Best friend ever.
Dead in a car crash – bam. Just like that.

Now Cass won’t see how Julia would have finished her amazing play and will never know if there could be more than just friendship between them. But she and Julia had long planned that they would bike all the way to the Pacific Ocean after graduation – no reason to wait a whole year, so Cass preps for a solo bike trek in the summer before her senior year, taking along Julia’s ashes from Chicago to the sea.

Let the drama kids take Julia’s work-in-progress and turn it into a play over the summer – Cass is taking action. She doesn’t sit around moping and mourning – she pedals and aches and discovers things about herself and about friendship that she never imagined. That’s probably the most ‘ninja’ way to live of all – Julia would have cheered for that.

Look for this debut novel at your local library or independent bookstore and journey along with Cass and Julia, maybe finding a little more love along the way.
**kmm

Book info: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend / Emily Horner. Dial Books, 2010. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation: After Julia’s death in a car crash, Cass can’t stay in town as the Drama Kids get ready to perform Julia’s “top secret” play as a tribute to begin their senior year of high school. Cass decides to bicycle from Ohio to California, just as she and Julia had planned. But instead of Julia as her traveling buddy, she’ll have her best friend’s ashes along for the ride to the Pacific Ocean, Julia’s dream destination.

Why would she want to spend all summer painting sets for Julia’s incredible “Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad” musical, especially when Heather (who loudly questioned Cass’s sexual orientation throughout junior high) gets the lead and Julia’s boyfriend keeps changing the staging? Why?

So, armed with cellphone, maps, spare bike parts, her parents’ blessings, and Julia’s ashes, Cass heads off across the country. She meets good people, not-so-good people, her first love, and herself along the way.

Can Cass make it all the way to California on her bike? Will the Drama Kids be able to put on Julia’s musical with no adult interference? Did Cass love Julia or was she in love with Julia or does it even matter since Julia is dead?

Alternating chapters of Then (the summer trip) and Now (last-minute preparations for the musical) reveal Cass’s worries and wonderment about life, love, and dividing by zero (“so ninja!” according to Julia). (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, by Abby McDonald (book review) – city girl in Canadian mountain town

book cover of Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonaldFor Fun Friday, we’re heading north of the border. I can see why Jenna would rather spend her summer with the godmother she hasn’t seen in years, instead of sweltering in a Florida retirement community with her grandma – it’s been ridiculously hot in C.Florida this summer already and there’s only so much bingo that a teen wants to deal with…

But how could she be prepared for a small community in the Canadian forest, where hunting and fishing are essential parts of life, a one-horse town where everyone has known everyone forever?

Oh, I did laugh out loud when Jenna, the kayak, and the beaver lodge had a sudden meeting, but Jenna’s summer looks like an uphill climb, doesn’t it? And what about the bear, and the moose, and the mountain biking? Well, you’ll just have to read this funny book to find out, eh?
**kmm

Book info: Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots / Abby McDonald. Candlewick, 2010. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Jenna is a Green Teen for environmental awareness at her high school, so when she can choose between spending the summer in the Canadian woods with her godmother Susie or snoozing through card games at her grandmother’s Florida retirement village, she jumps at the chance to head north.

But the teens of tiny Stillwater, British Columbia, have known each other forever and don’t exactly welcome Jenna. Ethan, Grady, and Reeve play practical jokes on her from the moment they meet. Fiona hates everything, especially her stepmother, Susie, who works frantically with her new husband to transform a huge old house into a bed-and-breakfast resort before the first guests arrive in a few weeks. And Jenna’s best friend doesn’t get much cellphone signal at her summer camp job back home… what else could go wrong?

How about crashing through a beaver dam with her kayak or accidentally catching a trout? “I left the cork on the hook! I didn’t think anything would actually bite!” screams vegetarian Jenna.

The five teens start to get along as they create a website (complete with videos of Jenna’s rookie attempts at rock climbing and dirt bikes) so the inn can compete with the new luxury spa hotel across the valley, but secrets and misunderstood kisses may end the whole summer with a crash!

Does everything have to be eco-friendly or else? What makes a true friend? Why do guys have to be so complicated? (and watch out for the bear, Jenna, and the moose, too!)(One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)