Tag Archive | TBR2012

X for eXamine the evidence – Death Cloud, by Andrew Lane (book review) – young Sherlock’s first case!

book cover of Death Cloud by Andrew Lane published by Farrar Straus GirouxSlack smoke, yellow dust, red boils,
Secretive Baron whom no one sees outside his villa,
Dead men tell no tales,
The game is afoot!

Summer holiday from school turns into a race to solve this mystery before more people die as Sherlock meets the unspoken-of Holmes side of his family, a canal-boat owning orphan, and an independent American miss.

This is the first young adult series about Sherlock Holmes authorized by the estate of the great detective’s creator.
paperback cover of Death Cloud by Andrew Lane published by Square Fish
Find Death Cloud and the following four books of the series at your local library or independent bookstore.

Which cover art do you prefer – the realistic young gent of the hardcover edition or the explosive red of the paperback?

Book info: Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes, book 1) / Andrew Lane. Farrar Straus Giroux, hardcover 2010; Square Fish Books, paperback 2011. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]

My recommendation: Shuffled off to stay during school holiday with relatives he’s never met, Sherlock is not a happy young man. However, strange occurences near his uncle’s country home soon pique his interest, and his new American tutor teaches him observation skills that bring the fourteen-year-old much closer to evildoers than any of them want.

With Father just posted to India,  Mother suddenly unwell, and older brother Mycroft working in London, it’s just not possible for Sherlock to go home over the 1868 school break as he’d so anticipated. But to be forced to stay with a pious aunt and an eccentric uncle who has hired a tutor for him when just wants to ramble the woods and think!

Luckily, Mr. Crowe is an untraditional tutor, skipping over Latin verbs to show Sherlock how to carefully observe the world around him, skills that serve him well when they find a dead man at the edge of Uncle’s land, a man with boils all over his skin. Recently, another man in town had died with such marks on him said his new pal Matty, who spoke of black smoke which went into the dead man’s room – is it the plague?

Many townspeople work making uniforms for the British Army as hostilities against the French heat up, and the mysterious Baron has arrived to inspect his warehouses in Farnham. Sherlock discovers that both dead men had worked at the factory, Mr. Crowe’s daughter Virginia decides she won’t be left out, and the three teens scout for more clues in this threatening puzzle.

Did the yellow powder found near both men cause their deaths?
Does the Baron’s visit have anything to do with this?
Why is the Holmes’ housekeeper suddenly trying to keep Sherlock indoors?

Wild inventions and political intrigue are just some of the dangers that Sherlock, Matty, and Virginia must face as they race to prevent more deaths in this first book of the Young Sherlock Holmes series, fully authorized by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the original character of Sherlock Holmes.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W for Where the Broken Heart Still Beats, by Carolyn Meyer (book review) – captured by Indians, captured by family

book cover of Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer published by HarcourtWho does the land belong to?
Who is closer – family of blood or family by adoption?
Who decides which child a mother must be separated from?

While kidnapping of settlers’ children and wives by Native Americans was not uncommon on the Western frontier, bringing any back to their white families certainly was. Of course, it didn’t matter to her uncle and his family that Naduah had no interest in them or their strange customs and uncomfortable shoes.

Reunited with her children after death, Cynthia Ann is now buried in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, beside her Comanche warrior son Quanah and young daughter Topsannah.

Author of many historical fiction books for young adults, Carolyn Meyer was inspired to write Cynthia Ann’s story when she moved to Texas in the early 1990s, as she notes in this interview. Recently reissued with new cover art, Where the Broken Heart Still Beats  is a timeless tale of love, family, and conflict.

Which do you prefer – historical fiction or factual biographies?

 local library  or independent bookstore

Book info:  Where the Broken Heart Still Beats: the Story of Cynthia Ann Parker (Great Episodes series) / Carolyn Meyer. Harcourt, 1992. [author site]  [publisher site]

My recommendation: Kidnapped not once but twice, a young girl in frontier Texas becomes the mother of a great Comanche warrior, yet feels like a prisoner as she dies among her blood relatives, far from those she loves.

Captured from her uncle’s settlement by Comanche raiders who killed many of her relatives, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker soon adapted to life with the People, moving across the land as the seasons changed, growing into a strong young woman called Naduah who married chief Peta Nocona and bore him sons and a daughter.

Her Parker relatives never stopped searching for Cynthia Ann, as rumors of a light-eyed girl in the Comanche camps reached them through traders over the course of twenty-five years. But the elder chiefs would not accept any amount of trade goods for this hard-working daughter of the People, no matter what the white men asked.

Finally, the Parker men raided the Comanche camp when the warriors were hunting buffalo, almost shooting Naduah in their quest to remove the “Indian threat” from lands they wanted to settle. When they saw her light eyes, they realized this could be their long-gone cousin, and her startled response to the name ‘Sinty Ann’ showed they were right.

Now, Naduah and baby daughter Topsannah are securely within the Parker family compound, and her 12-year-old cousin Lucy tries to reawaken her memory of the English language and ‘civilized’ behavior. All Naduah wants is to return to her husband and sons, so she tries again and again to escape, but is always thwarted.

How long can her family keep her away from her family?
Who has rights to the land which has supported the Comanche for so long?
How long can a mother live without hearing her children’s voices?

Told in the alternating voices of cousin Lucy’s journal and Naduah’s reminiscences, this true episode from history captures the uneasy ebb and flow of relations between Native Americans and settlers in north Texas as the Lone Star State is on the brink of entering the Civil War.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V for Versified in Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses, by Ron Koertge (book review) – brief and bitter fairy tales

book cover of Lies Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge published by CandlewickLies can morph into dark truths,
Knives can wound as much as they protect,
Girls in red dresses… red for romance? red for blood?

It’s Novels in Verse Week, so try some lies in Audition,  by Stasia Ward Kehoe, or travel through the blood shed in Karma,  by Cathy Ostlere, then watch out for the knives in this book, whose verses are as cuttingly sharp as its silhouette illustrations.

What other novels in verse have you read during National Poetry Month?

Book info: Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses / Ron Koertge; illustrated by Andrea Dezso. Candlewick Press, 2012.  [author site] [artist site]  [publisher site] [book trailer]

My recommendation: Twenty fairy tales, twenty chances for freedom and redemption, so many choices, but rarely the right one.

Here “Godfather Death” has a Heisman Trophy winner for a godson, there “The Little Match Girl” tries to sell her CDs on a slum street corner. The offer of a “Bearskin” that will take away the wearer’s nightmares comes to a wounded soldier in the VA hospital.

Each tale is accompanied by Andrea Dezso’s silhouette illustrations, all black and white, lines and spaces, the better to imagine where the red-hooded girl meets the wolf, where the blood of ogres and slain wives flows, where sunset will soon leave the city in dangerous darkness.

Sharp and slim as a silver dagger, Koertge’s free verse slices away the sentimental layers added to the original Grimm Brothers’ tales to make dangerous situations and dire circumstances more palatable to modern audiences. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U for Undo tradition in Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes (book review) – to murder or to escape?

bookcover of Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes published by  Margaret K. McElderry Books Give your bad habits to your darkbeast,
Give your sins to the darkbeast,
They are gone forever…
and soon your magical companion will be gone forever, too.

The ultimate end of childhood, having to kill the magical beast who’s been conversing with you mentally since you were tiny – and Keara just cannot do that to Caw.

Running away with a theatrical troupe who must perform religious plays to the satisfaction of the high priests and ruler may or may not be the escape that the young woman envisioned!

The sequel, Darkbeast Rebellion,  is scheduled for September 2013 publication, when the paperback of Darkbeast  will also be released.

Please share your favorite books where someone defies tradition to do what they know in their heart is right.

Book info: Darkbeast / Morgan Keyes.  Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012.  [author site] [publisher site]

My recommendation: Keara wants to be good, tries to give her rebellion over to her darkbeast Caw, to let him take her fault into himself. But she can’t let it go, can’t kill Caw on her twelfth birthday as she becomes a woman, can’t stay in the village where she’s broken custom and her mother’s heart.

It was the tales spun by the Travelers, performed on the village green just before her nameday, stories of the gods and goddesses which entranced Keara and made her twist around Mother’s orders to stay home. Now her world is bigger than Silver Hollow, and her life there will be empty when the troupe leaves.

No one else in her village has ever defied the gods and the law by refusing to sacrifice the darkbeast which contained all their sins and faults of childhood. Keara cannot imagine losing that magical connection of mind and heart which has filled her whole being, so they run away, girl and raven, trying to hide from the Inquisitors.

Catching up with the Travelers, Keara finds a cautious welcome when she shows them an error in their play about the goddess Nuntia. For these plays teach and retell the legends of the Twelve, and if the villagers hear a fact told wrong, they’ll never again trust this company of Travelers for the truth – and the Primate himself could order the company disbanded or worse.

Holy plays about the Twelve gods and goddesses, common plays about funny everyday things – the Travelers of Taggart’s troupe will soon decide which one to perform before the Primate and priests at the great festival three months hence. And Keara means to be with them when they do.

Can she and Caw avoid the Inquisitors while traveling and performing?
Why is every other twelve-year-old so eager to sever the magical bond with their darkbeast?
Can Keara learn the Travelers’ ways quickly enough to become a troupe member?

It’s a dangerous path that Keara has chosen for herself and Caw, a treacherous way that Taggart and his troupe choose as they prepare for the festival in the land of Duodecia where the the gods and goddesses rule over all, disregarding love.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

T for traded – The Day Before, by Lisa Schroeder (book review) – birth-switch discovered years later; now what?

book cover of The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder published by Simon PulseFamily is family,
there for you when you need them,
there when they drive you nuts.
But what if you’re not really their flesh and blood at all?

Babies being accidentally switched at birth can happen even in modern hospitals. Sometimes the error is discovered, other times not. Amber’s birth parents uncover the unintentional swap when the girls are young teens and will go to any lengths to be involved in the Oregon teen’s life, even if she’s not interested.

Experience her one perfect day on the beach with Cade, an amazing guy burdened by his own secrets, in this novel-in-verse that reads like the waves on the shore or the beating of an anxious heart.

It’s Novels in Verse Week – what are your favorites?

Book info:  The Day Before / Lisa Schroeder. Simon Pulse, 2011 hardcover, 2012 paperback.   [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]

My recommendation: Just one day when everything is perfect, that’s all Amber wants – before the journey, before the changes that will leave her different forever. Meeting Cade on the Oregon beach is perfect, but she worries about what he’s running from. So much can change in one day…

When her parents split up, Amber took refuge in drumming with her rock band, dissecting school rumors with best friend Madison, watching sappy late-night movies with Mom. The news took them all by surprise, three years ago. Switched at birth by mistake – sounds like something in the tabloids.

Somehow she’s really the biological daughter of a Texas couple, who discovered the mixup when their same-birthdate daughter died of a rare disorder. Bloodtypes didn’t match, records were back-traced, and suddenly Amber is someone else… and her birth parents long to meet her.

So she’s taking this last day as just Mom and Dad’s daughter to do her favorite Oregon things – walk the beach, toes in the cold Pacific, visit the aquarium. There she meets Cade, a guy her age who’s also taking a personal day off from school, revisiting favorite childhood seaside places. But he’s not just skipping school; like Amber, he’s here as if he might not ever see them again.

What’s Cade running from?
Could he see her as Amber-the-Girl instead of Amber-the-Drummer?
Why, oh why, does she have to leave tomorrow?

This novel-in-verse chronicles Amber’s perfect day with Cade, punctuated with letters from her old and new family, sprinkled with jelly beans, laced through and through with worry about her future, his future, their future. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R for Radiant Days, by Elizabeth Hand (book review) – words beyond time, art beyond sight

book cover of Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand published by VikingA rising sun centered with an eye,
A jawbone harp, a fishbone key,
Time-switching, century-crossing.

Who knows how a skinny white girl from rural West Virginia becomes the first urban tagger in D.C. in the late ’70s… Who knows why bitter winter and the colder bitterness of family discontent fuel a young poet during war

And should you ever be looking for a photo of  Arthur, the one on the cover of Radiant Days  will be what you almost always find, as Rimbaud flared and flamed out as a very young man, writing all his poems by age 20, then abandoning it for a vagabond life.

Early ripe, early rot” or my own phrase “a meteor in a world of candles” – which describes the young, soul-tortured artistic genius to you?

Book info: Radiant Days / Elizabeth Hand. Viking, 2012.  [author site]  [publisher site]

My recommendation: Merle’s art didn’t fit into any of the neat categories her instructors required; Arthur’s poetry wasn’t pretty or uplifting. This passion for expression brings them together, the girl of 1978 and the boy of 1870, crossing the boundaries of time like a spear of light.

That her unconventional art was her ticket out of rural Appalachia surprised Merle a bit, but the Corcoran School accepted her.  During their affair, elegant instructor Clea attempts to connect her with influential gallery owners and culture beyond her ‘white trash’ origins, but Merle chafes at assignments and deadlines. The act of creating her art to be seen by passing commuter trains is far more important than passing classes, and soon her iconic Radiant Days graffiti appears all over D.C.

As the war closes his school, Arthur is out of a home, out of classmates to get money from, out of paper and ink for his poems. The brash young man heads toward Belgium when all sensible people are fleeing ahead of the Prussian Army, goes after a Paris newspaper job as discharged soldiers flood the city seeking work after the armistice. The turmoil in his spirit erupts in poems reflecting brutal post-war realities, torn relationships, bitter lovers’ quarrels with his mentor Paul.

Somehow, Merle and Arthur (in their separate centuries) meet a gruff man fishing for carp along a canal, are directed by him to an abandoned lockhouse for shelter, awaken in the same century – together! Somehow, they hear the other speak in their language, understand the vibrant images of each other’s work, are separated and reunited in one century and in the other.

How can they both know the same fisherman in different cities, different centuries?
How have they summoned one another across time and distance?
How do they share the same blazing visions, shown in her art, chronicled in his words?

As message, as weapon, as mirror of the soul, their work pleased them even if it satisfied no one else. This tale of early talent recognized by the world only in later years brings French poet Arthur Rimbaud into the life of an unheralded American artist, threaded through with music and mystery.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q for Quest – Exile, by Rebecca Lim (book review) – amnesiac angel on a mission

book cover of Exile by Rebecca Lim published by Hyperion TeenWaking up in a daze, again.
In someone else’s body, again.
Clinging to a thread of her own memory again.

An exiled angel, a desperate man, hints of other powers thwarting Mercy’s attempts to remember Luc or Ryan or why she cared for them – add this to a dead-end coffee shop job and a dying mother… how will Mercy resolve Lela’s situation and give the Melbourne teen her body back?

You’ll understand more of Mercy’s predicament if you read Mercy  first (see my no-spoiler recommendation) and sneak a peek at chapter 1 of Exile here. Hoping that Muse (book 3) and Fury  (book 4) get to the USA from Australia soon!

Can you truly remember love when all other memories are gone?

Book info: Exile (Mercy, book 2) / Rebecca Lim. Hyperion, 2012. [author info]  [publisher site]

My recommendation:  Slammed awake in yet another body, Mercy now must answer to the name Lela, to care for ‘her’ mother dying of cancer, to work at ‘her’ dead-end job at the rundown café, to discover why she’s been called into this particular body at this exact time.

She has fragmentary memories of inhabiting a young singer’s body in another country, of being loved by a young man even after he realized she was not the real Carmen…why can’t she remember more of her time there? And just a flash of celestial Luc’s searing kisses in her dreams.

Poor Lela has had such a hard-luck life in this dreary Australian city, and now this, her mother withering before her very eyes. Perhaps Mercy was brought into her body to ease the pain of Mum’s passing, or she’s supposed to help Justine escape her terrible boyfriend, maybe turn co-worker Reggie into a decent human being (nah, impossible).

Mercy lets Lela’s muscle-memory take over coffee orders called to the barista, the best ways to ease around her grumpy boss and terrifying Sulaiman the cook. One man uses the café as his mid-morning office and helps her search for Carmen’s name on his computer in exchange for a dinner date. Very twitchy and OCD, this Ranald. Lela has turned him down for dates several times, it seems.

Rushing home when Lela’s mother takes a turn for the worse, Mercy is accosted by a small patch of energy, a being who’s as trapped here as she is, who gives her a tiny clue about who or what she might truly be. But there are larger problems ahead as a crazed customer threatens to kill everyone in the café, Justine’s boyfriend gets abusive, and Mercy’s online search for Carmen and Ryan is attracting unwanted attention in the city and elsewhere.

Could she really love Ryan, or is Luc right about the past she cannot remember?
Who is she? What is she? Why is Mercy right here, right now?
As Mercy journeys from body to body, can she ever find out where she truly belongs?

This second book in the Mercy series by Australian author Rebecca Lim is followed by Muse.  While Exile  can stand alone, read Mercy  first for maximum enjoyment. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.

P for Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie, by Francesca Lia Block (book review) – reinventing herself

book cover of Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block published by Harper CollinsDad leaves and Mom crawls into the bottle,
Mean girls with slam books rule the junior high halls,
Weetzie’s certainly glad of the guardian angel who popped into her life.

No one loves the quirks and history of Hollywood and LA like Weetzie Bat, named Louise after a famous silent film star by her B-movie director dad and former starlet mom.  No one has better friends than too-thin Lily and so-gorgeous Bobby. With their friendship, her angel, and those mysterious silver envelopes, she might make it through this year of break-ups and breakdowns in Tinseltown.

It’s Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, so meet Weetzie as she creates herself amid the Pink Smog, then find the rest of the Weetzie Bat books at your  local library  (or independent bookstore).

Book info:  Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block. HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]

My recommendation: New school, Dad leaves, Mom drinks away her sorrows, and no one will call her by the right nickname – if this is what being 13 is like, then Weetzie feels cheated. But a guardian angel appears, and her life in LA takes on some new sparkle.

It must have been an angel who helped Weetzie pull her mom from the swimming pool, who did CPR till the ambulance came. The family who just moved in upstairs are no angels though, that girl with long black hair and empty eyes and creepy laugh, the mother who knew Weetzie’s movie director dad a little too well. The angel guy turns out to be Winter, and somehow Weetzie’s dad asked him to watch out for her… wherever Dad is.

Eventually her solitary lunchtimes at junior high give way to friendship with Bobby and Lily, against all the mean kids who hurt everyone’s feelings. With Bobby and Lily, life is better, and when hand-delivered silver envelopes start appearing with messages for her (ransom note style, with the cut-out letters), life starts to get interesting. Weetzie turns well-loved old clothes into fantastic fashions, tries to get Mom to eat dinner instead of drink it, wonders how love so sweet could turn so bitter.

Does that girl upstairs really have voodoo dolls?
Can Winter help Weetzie find her dad again?
What are all the silver envelope messages telling her?

This long-awaited prequel to Block’s popular Weetzie Bat series weaves the pivotal life events of young Weetzie through LA’s orange blossoms, star-sprinkled pavements, and Pink Smog of the 1970s.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

N for Nothing Special, by Geoff Herbach (book review) – road trip to reclaim his brother, crazy times

book cover of Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach published by SourcebooksAttend football camp or find his brother?
Be like his dad or make something of his life?
Listen to his friends or listen to his heart?

Even if you haven’t read the award-winning first book about Felton Feinstein, where he suddenly becomes Stupid Fast at running, you’ll die laughing at the high school senior’s stream-of-consciousness journaling and his screwball take on life. Running up and down the hall in the airport hotel because he can’t sleep, chasing after his brother, wanting to tell Grandpa Feinstein who he is but not wanting to tell him

Grab this one before the last volume of the trilogy, I’m With Stupid,  is published in May 2013 so you understand everything Felton, Andrew, and Gus have gone through.

When change is so quick, even if it’s good change, is it easy to cope?

Book info: Nothing Special / Geoff Herbach. Sourcebooks Fire, 2012. [author site] [publisher site] [fan-created book trailer]

My recommendation: Suddenly an amazing athlete after his dorky early years, Felton is still trying to sort out who he is – son of hippie mom and crazy dad, big brother of genius musician, football star, track phenom, terrible best friend to Gus… Then his brother goes missing and Felton has to find him, no matter what else he has to put aside to do it.

Gus is supposed to be Felton’s best friend, but he keeps hounding him about details for the prom (which is weeks and weeks away), bugging him about whether his girlfriend Aleah will come up for it, does he want to rent a limo, blah, blah, blah… when Felton really needs to concentrate on football games and indoor track meets and wondering if Aleah is a bit too quiet right now.

Andrew is supposed to be at orchestra camp in Michigan, but he’s not. His friends say he’s “on an adventure” and soon Felton’s skepticism about their claims turns to certainty: his too-serious little brother has taken himself to Florida to visit the Feinstein side of their family that Mom cut ties with ages ago.

Felton is supposed to go to football camp at University of Michigan, showing the coaches that he’s worthy of a scholarship. But for once in his not-the-best-decisions life, big brother decides that he absolutely must retrieve Andrew, whose made-up blog posts and stilted phone calls might placate Mom, but aren’t fooling him one bit.

So off he goes, first time on a plane, first time to book a hotel room, not the first time to find himself behaving like a total crazy man in front of people. Can’t stay still, can’t stop worrying about Andrew, can’t stop wondering why Gus is suddenly so mean to him, can’t bear to think about life after high school.

Will he find Andrew safe and sound?
Who is this cousin they never met before?
What will he say to his father’s father?

This wild and wacky road trip continues the transformation from dork to Stupid Fast  athlete begun in Herbach’s first book about Felton and sets the stage for the last book in the trilogy, I’m With Stupid.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M for Mixtape, mystery and mistakes in Wish You Were Here, by Barbara Shoup (book review)

book cover of Wish You Were Here by Barbara Shoup published by FluxBest high school pal.
A great girlfriend.
A family that gets along.
Quit dreaming, Jackson!

Senior year of high school is rarely all sunshine and cupcakes for folks, but Jax really does have some odd and difficult things to work through before he graduates in 1994.

His rock band roadie dad is dating a vegetarian aerobics instructor, straight-arrow MBA Ted has asked Jackson if he’s okay with him marrying Mom, and Brady is still gone.

Is his life a mixtape where nothing can change or is it on the shuffle setting, like Ted’s state-of-the-art CD player?

It’s National Library Week, so head over to your  local library and look for this 2008 re-release of Shoup’s award-winning classic.

Book info: Wish You Were Here / Barbara Shoup. Flux, 2008.   [author site]  [publisher site]

My recommendation: Jackson and his best friend are moving into their own apartment for their senior year of high school! Until Brady runs away the weekend before school begins… Now Jax has to cope with everything by himself: his mom remarrying, his dad going into the hospital, girl-trouble. Maybe he can follow the postcards and bring Brady back.

If he must have a stepdad, Ted is better than most, and now only-child Jax will have part-time little sisters. But a new house, knowing that Mom and Dad will never get together again, no Brady to escape with… and to top it off, the three stepsiblings will be going with Mom and Ted on their honeymoon trip to the tropics over Christmas Break!

At least he got to meet Amanda at the beach – funny, smart, likes Kristin and Amy, really likes Jax. They’ll just have to write letters until graduation (Class of ’94 forever) since they live so far apart. One postcard from Brady, but no real news.

Odd that Jax gets tied up with stoner Steph, Brady’s ex, when he gets back from the island. He doesn’t love her, she doesn’t love him, but it just happens. Keeps him a little bit sane when Dad is injured during a rock concert (yep, he’s a roadie) and Jax winds up staying at his house to help him recover. Another postcard from Brady, less informative than the first.

A road trip to Graceland, spring break in Florida with his classmates…life for Jax is like the random feature on the CD player in Ted’s new van – you never know what song will play next, and the surprise isn’t always a pleasant one.

How does this being a big brother thing work?
Can he find Brady before senior year is over?
Why can’t he figure out what comes after all this drama?

Published in 1994 and named to the American Library Association’s 1995 Best Books for Young Adults list, Wish You Were Here  has been re-issued by Flux Books. Jackson’s musings still ring true, as he deals with divorce, weird relatives, the end of school, and the disappearance of his best friend.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) I won this review copy in the Authors for Henryville auction. Cover image courtesy of the publisher.