Tag Archive | Oregon

O for Oregon, home to Crystal, Amber & impossible plans in Speed of Life, by J. M. Kelly (book review)

book cover of Speed of Life by JM Kelly published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR  | recommended on BooksYALove.comIdentical twins share so much –
genetics, mindset, memories,
even a baby…

Crystal and Amber have promised each other that they’ll graduate and get out of this terrible neighborhood, for baby Natalie’s sake. No way that college is even possible, let alone one for auto restoration, Crystal’s ultimate dream career.

Find Speed of Life at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if the twins can make it out of their low-rent, low expectations neighborhood… together.

When have you reached far, far for a dream?
**kmm

Book info: Speed of Life / J.M. Kelly. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: It’ll take both Crystal and Amber to raise the unexpected baby, keep up with school and work, and become the first women in their hard-scrabble family to ever graduate from high school – that’s the plan, that’s the promise.

But the twins didn’t expect that Crystal’s good grades and love of auto restoration might give her a chance to go further than a decent apartment in a less-bad part of Portland.

Or that working full-time at their aunt’s tavern would be more appealing to Amber than staying in school, where the childcare center allowed them both time to work.

Or the cute guy at the body shop would help Crystal get ready for the SAT, not knowing about baby Natalie or the sisters’ struggle to make ends meet.

Ancient One, by T.A. Barron (book review) – forest & livelihood both in peril

book cover of The Ancient One by T.A. Barron published by Puffin | recommended on BooksYALove.comA vanished people,
towering trees of mystery,
a chance to save the world…

Now out in paperback for its 25th anniversary, Merlin Saga author T.A. Barron’s tale of a young teen striving to complete a perilous quest even as she mourns her parents’ deaths is an adventure and a celebration of the interconnectedness of life, as it weaves together old secrets, ancient peoples, time travel, and an evil bent upon conquering the world.

When have you stood strong against wrong?
**kmm

Book info: The Ancient One / T.A. Barron. Puffin Books, 2016 (paperback); Philomel Books, 1992. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video about book] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At her aunt’s Oregon home, grieving teen Kate helps Aunt Melanie try to stop out-of-work loggers from destroying a newly discovered redwood grove and is hurtled back in time to meet nature beings and Native peoples who are struggling to prevent an evil force from overtaking their world. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Summer of Chasing Mermaids, by Sarah Ockler (book review) – voice lost, heart found?

book cover of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler published by Simon TeenA singer with no more voice,
a young mermaid expert ignored,
a dutiful son without a plan B…

No surgical procedure can ever restore Elyse’s voice, but time spent with the funny (cousin and her outspoken BFF), the darling (mermaid-obsessed young Sebastian), and the heartbreaker (Christian does what??) may start the healing of her musical soul.

Ockler writes of another summer of enormous changes in The Book of Broken Hearts  (my recommendation here).

If your greatest talent/gift/strength were taken away forever, how would you cope?
**kmm

Book info: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids / Sarah Ockler.  Simon Pulse, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After a boat accident robs Elyse of her singing voice, she lands in her aunt’s tiny Oregon town where the Trinidadian teen finds herself falling for the wrong guy and caring too much about the shady mayor’s big plans.

Leaving her twin sister in Tobago was so hard, but staying to watch Natalie continue the singing career which had been theirs together was impossible.

The warm Caribbean stole her voice; perhaps the chilly Pacific currents can heal her soul. But if Elyse ignores her cousin’s warnings about heart-breaker Christian or helps the summer guy’s little brother search for mermaids, the sea may try to claim her forever.

A bet between the mayor and Christian’s dad puts Aunt Lemon’s home and gallery in jeopardy, as whichever son wins the Pirate’s Regatta will win the property it stands on.

Will the mayor’s desire for money turn off-the-beaten-path Atargatis Cove into just another tourist town?
Can Christian and Elyse rebuild his sailboat in time for the regatta?
Can Elyse face down her fear of being on the water again and help him win?

Of course, sweet little Sebastian should be able march in the Mermaid Parade, and the property developers must be stopped, and Elyse should decide if she can afford to lose her heart…  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Pills and Starships, by Lydia Millet (book review) – climate change, drugs, and lies

book cover of Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet published by Akashic BooksToo sad to keep on living in a climate chaotic world,
her parents have chosen their time to die…
or is it the pharma talking?

Nat’s mom and dad – former environmental activists – could have waited just a few more years to invoke the Service Contract ending their lives, till the teen and her younger brother moved out as workers – why now?

In this too-possible dystopia, global warming has changed weather patterns, babies are now illegal, and new diseases mutating weekly make face-to-face contact rare.

Ask for Nat’s story at your local library or independent bookstore to see if she can find a way to keep her family together once she discovers the truths that pharma-corps are trying to hide. (I loved the book, but its title… not so much)

**kmm

Book info: Pills and Starships / Lydia Millet. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author interview on NPR]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Preparing to honor her parents’ final week of life, Nat learns that big money uses pharma to trick the few remaining Americans into thinking that global warming has eliminated the entire natural world.

At a tropical resort devoted to final Contracts, the teen and her hackerkid brother discover real plants and animals and people who think for themselves.  Are pharma-corporations really lying to the public about imminent doomsday?

Her decision about joining the rebels must come soon, as her parents’ date with a lethal farewell drink in mere days will leave Nat and Sam in a group survivors’ home in Oregon – are her parents really sad enough about the state of the world to leave it forever?

When a mega-hurricane hurtles toward Hawai’i, will it be too late to rescue her not-old parents and not-old-enough brother?

Addressed to an imagined friend safely orbiting this climate-chaos world, Nat reflects in the Contract-provided mourning journal about Starships and Pills  and her unexpected opportunity to escape pharma-managed life… if she can. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)