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Best Books of August 2015

August 31st, 2015 (08:00 am)
determined

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: Show Me Your Fangs by Matt Nathanson

August 2015: 13 books and scripts read

The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas was a thought-provoking novel.

I'm also enjoying the Wise Girl Daily Wisdom emails from Robin Brande that go along with her new non-fiction release, The Wise Girl's Guide to Life.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Shadow-Evidence by Mary Mapes Dodge

August 28th, 2015 (06:00 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow

Swift o'er the sunny grass,
I saw a shadow pass
With subtle charm,-
So quick, so full of life,
With thrilling joy so rife,
I started lest, unknown,
My step - ere it was flown -
Had done it harm.

Why look up to the blue?
The bird was gone, I knew,
Far out of sight.
Steady and keen of wing,
The slight, impassioned thing,
Intent on a goal unknown,
Had held its course alone
In silent flight.

Dear little bird, and fleet,
Flinging down at my feet
Shadow for song:
More sure am I of thee -
Unseen, unheard by me -
Than of some things felt and known,
And guarded as my own,
All my life long.

- Shadow-Evidence by Mary Mapes Dodge

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Books to Read (Forthcoming Releases)

August 27th, 2015 (07:00 am)
thoughtful

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: Without a Trace theme song

August 2015
Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Christopher Denise
Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
The Raven's Child by Thomas E. Sniegoski, art by Tom Brown
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Think Twice by Sarah Mlynowski (sequel to Don't Even Think About It)

Fall 2015
Violent Ends edited by Shaun Hutchinson
Zeroes #1 by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti
Zacktastic by Courtney Sheinmel

September 2015
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
Once Upon a Time: Red's Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver
Teen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman and John Green
Upside-Down Magic #1 by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

October 2015
A Deafening Silence in Heaven by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Cemetery Girl, Book 2: Inheritance by Christopher Golden and Charlaine Harris
The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow, illustrated by David Ostow

November 2015
Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
Joe Golem: Occult Detective issue #1 by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Late 2015
World of Payne Book 0: Ghost Dog by Tom Sniegoski and Frank Cho

January 2016
Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer

Spring 2016
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian
Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond
Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones

March 2016
The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder

Summer 2016
Last Night a Superhero Saved My Life edited by Liesa Mignogna

Fall 2016
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Zeroes #2 by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Sometime in 2016
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
The Kindness Club by Courtney Sheinmel

Sometime in 2017
Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen

Fall 2017
Zeroes #3 by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Homesick by Dorothy Frances McCrae

August 21st, 2015 (06:00 am)
curious

Current Mood: curious
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow

I hate this fog and yellow gloom,
These days of grey and amethyst;
I want to see the roses bloom,
The smiling fields by sunshine kissed-
O land of gold and burning blue!
I'm crying like a child for you!

- the closing lines of Homesick by Dorothy Frances McCrae

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas

August 17th, 2015 (08:01 pm)
thoughtful
Tags: ,

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow

The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas is the tale of Jane and her seventeenth summer - and of the tragic crime which happened just months before, in February, when Jane was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though pelted with summer sun and surrounded by a supportive mother, three close friends, and one very interesting boy, Jane cannot escape the shadow of that night, with details revealed in short bursts throughout the novel, shared between chapters.

It is difficult for me to review this book without spoiling it, because what I most want to discuss is the big reveal, something I predicted immediately upon reading the summary on the book jacket. What complicates this story for me and what accounts for my reaction to the ending isn't only because I could see the ending coming, but also because I have a strong reaction to those who actively withhold the truth from others. Please note that I am not referring to the narrator here; Jane is not an unreliable narrator in any way. She tells her story in first person past tense throughout the book, and she's very honest.

What I will tell you openly is this: I liked the book overall because of how it was written. The narration relates the protagonist's emotions and thoughts very well, ensuring that important moments and decisions are deeply felt. The title is perfect, the pacing is good, and the characters are clear. I will not be surprised if and when this book is made into a movie, because the story will translate easily to film. (If you're looking for a screenwriter, I'm available!)

I also want to give kudos to cover designer Danielle Calotta for giving the title text angles and energy that I think Saul Bass would appreciate, layered over an image which well-captures both the beach setting and the lonely, haunted girl. (Image attributed to Shutterstock; name of artist or piece unknown.) Those who like the sand between their toes will enjoy the many scenes that take place at the beach, and how Jane and her mother welcome the sand into their home.

Put The Tenderness of Thieves in the hands of those who like books by Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, and especially those who like Tara Altebrando (The Pursuit of Happiness, What Happens Here).

My favorite passages in this book include:

I was holding things together the best I could, leaning into my new visibility like it might prop me up. But it's dangerous when we let boys fix the broken parts within us. It makes us vulnerable. It scars us for life. - Page 5

A camera catching the split second when a girl suddenly becomes someone worth seeing. - Page 67

The beach, swimming, everything around me was magic. It could heal all things. Protect me from danger. - Page 100

"It's not your job to save anyone," she said. "Not even if you fall in love with them." - Page 185

"...because little girls should start out life with auspicious names so they could one day grow up to be young women who would make their own marks on the world." - Page 253

"...I imagined the possibility...a chameleon of a girl who morphed and shifted with each new significant experience, one of them tragic, certainly, but others surprising, even thrilling. I liked this thought, that I didn't have to be defined by tragedy, that though sadness and loss might be written onto my skin, there were other things that could be written over it..." - Page 280

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Review: This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Review: Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas
Interview: Donna Freitas (2012)
Interview: Donna Freitas (2010)

Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

August 17th, 2015 (08:40 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Just Enough by Aslyn

One afternoon in the bookstore, a young woman in her late teens approached me and said, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I want some books like . . . " She named a few teen fiction titles that dealt with drug abuse and anorexia. She looked slightly uncomfortable but mostly excited. I told her that I could recommend many good books. Within minutes, she was sitting on the floor in the teen fiction section, a plastic basket full to the brim with books, with additional titles in her hand and next to her knees and her feet.

We had a great discussion. I was happy on any levels: happy that she felt comfortable enough to come to me, happy that she was open-minded, happy that I got some realistic, well-written books in her hand. This urged me to make a list of books dealing tough issues - eating disorders, loss and grieving, addiction, abuse, and so forth.

Due to subject matter, many of these books are recommended for older teens as well as adults, be they parents, teachers, librarians, or simply avid readers.

I've read every title on this list, and have given each book a rating according to the United States movie rating guide - G, PG, PG-13, or R - based on content, and a number of stars - four being the best - based on quality (my personal opinion).



PARENTAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT - Physical or emotional abuse, alcoholism, etc.
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ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
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TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - be they romantic relationships or rumors or no romance, but a definite abuse of power
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POSITIVE & PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
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PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
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LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
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ORIENTATION AND/OR GENDER ROLES
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VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
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EATING DISORDERS
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PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
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BODY CHANGES - growing up and dealing with natural physical changes (as opposed to health, weight, or body image issues; disorders/injuries are in a separate list above this one)
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TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
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TEENAGE ALCOHOLISM
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MENTAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT, RELATIVE, OR PEER
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DEPRESSION
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RECOVERY/SUPPORT GROUPS
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CUTTING
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STEALING
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DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
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LOSS OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A SIBLING
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A FRIEND OR PEER
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF ANOTHER CLOSE RELATIVE AND/OR ADULT
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PROTAGONIST WITH AN ILLNESS
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DRUG ADDICTION
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CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
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INCARCERATION OF A RELATIVE
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ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
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KIDNAPPING
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CULTURAL IDENTITY
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SUICIDE OR SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
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ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
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SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
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PEER PRESSURE
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RELIGION
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POLITICS
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ACTIVISM
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INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
Read more...Collapse )

SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
Read more...Collapse )

I hope that this list helps readers of all ages find books they may be too shy to openly discuss with a bookseller or librarian. I want those readers to know they may leave a comment here and tell me which books they have found valuable. Most of all, I want them to know they can talk to their friends or adults they know in order to get the answers and help they may need.

If you would like for me to add more titles about a certain subject, or if you want more information about any of the books on the list, please leave a comment.

Special thanks to those who have shown their support of this list by offering me links, comments, and compliments, such as Jen Robinson, Bookseller Chick, Robin Brande, Sassymonkey at BlogHer, Daisy Whitney, Caroline, Bookstore People, and Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Alien by George William (A.E.) Russell

August 14th, 2015 (06:00 am)
contemplative

Current Mood: contemplative
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow

Dark glowed the vales of amethyst
Beneath an opal shroud:
The moon bud opened through the mist
Its white-fire leaves of cloud.

Through rapt at gaze with eyes of light
Looked forth the seraph seers,
The vast and wandering dream of night
Rolled on above our tears.

- Alien by George William (A.E.) Russell

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden

August 10th, 2015 (08:00 am)
impressed

Current Mood: impressed
Current Song: The X-Files score music by Mark Snow


Hey horror fans: Make sure you put Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden on your to-read list. The book is due out from St. Martin's Press this November. Here's the premise:

When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living room...an intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face.

Dead Ringers will be available November 3rd, 2015. In the meantime, check out Christopher Golden's newest novel, Tin Men, as well as my favorite standalone novel by Golden, The Boys Are Back in Town.

Little Willow [userpic]

Show your support for Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

August 8th, 2015 (10:59 am)
determined

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: Great Expectations by Elbow

Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows that I enjoy the books of Courtney Summers. You'll also know that I do not like it when books get banned. I get very upset. So when I learned that Courtney's novel Some Girls Are was pulled from West Ashley High School's recommended reading list - and note that it was a recommendation, not a requirement, for their summer reading program - I was very upset, on behalf of the author who wrote it, the teachers who recommended it, and the students who deserve the chance/choice to read it and discuss it. Some Girls Are is a powerful book about telling the truth, not being shamed into silence.

In an effort to get the book to the students who want to read it, Kelly Jensen from the book blog Stacked is collecting copies of Some Girls Are to send to the town's library, where people may check it out for free. In Kelly's own words:

Let's do something together with our collective reader, intellectual freedom loving power, shall we?
Can we get this book into the hands of kids of West Ashley who want it?

If you'd like to donate a copy of the book, please visit Stacked to learn more. Kelly will be collecting the books until August 17th, then she'll ship them out.
Here's more information from Kelly:

Some Girls Are is currently $1.99 on Book Outlet, and What Goes Around, which is a bind-up of Summers's Cracked Up To Be and Some Girls Are is $1. Right now, there are over 200 copies between the two of these books on Book Outlet. Let's make them all disappear.

Can you spring $1 or $2 or $10 to get this book to these kids? It seems like a cheap way to tell these teenagers that their voices -- their lives -- really do matter.

Go Kelly.
Go Andria.
Go Courtney.
Go readers.
Let freedom read.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
They Tried to Ban This Book Today, or, There's a Sticker on the Cover of This Book: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson: Too Cool for School?
I Read Banned Books: Celebrating Intellectual Freedom and Literacy

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: The Witch in the Glass by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

August 7th, 2015 (06:00 am)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

"My mother says I must not pass
Too near that glass;
She is afraid that I will see
A little witch that looks like me,
With a red, red mouth to whisper low
The very thing I should not know!"

"Alack for all your mother’s care!
A bird of the air,
A wistful wind, or (I suppose
Sent by some hapless boy) a rose,
With breath too sweet, will whisper low
The very thing you should not know!"

- The Witch in the Glass by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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