Spotswood J. (2016). Wild Swans. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks.
Wild Swans is a story about a summer and about Ivy, a girl going into her senior year. After years of trying to live up to her grandfather’s expectations, Ivy has had enough. She has her summer all set up: no clubs her grandad makes her join, no extra credit, no nothing. Just pure fun. Bonfire parties, hanging out with friends, and the occasional volunteering. But when her mom comes back with two daughters, the whole summer spirals downwards. From flaring arguments with her estranged and irresponsible mom, to trying to get to know her new sisters, to her best friend, Alex, starting to take an unwanted interest in her, the summer’s shaping out badly. At first Ivy tries to deal with everything from far away, but soon enough realizes if she wants to enjoy her summer, she’s going to have to face her fears and try her hardest to accept her mom for who she is. This book is about a family just trying to come to grips with who they are and learning how to let go of tradition. It’s a book about a girl wondering who she really is and what she really wants to do.
Turtschanioff, M. (2017). The Red Abbey Chronicles: Maresi. London: Pushkin Press.
This smart fantasy brings us to an island, a safe haven from harm, where women live together. The book opens with seventeen year old Maresi writing about the events that happened while she was thirteen. Back then, she was carrying out a content existence as a novice at the Abbey working under Mother. Beginning with a lot of description, the first book in The Red Abbey Chronicles does a good job of world-building, notably incorporating vivid descriptions of seasonal foods. I love books with maps in the front, and this one is especially helpful to gain a sense of their world: the silo-shaped Moon House, the centralized Temple of the Rose, the stone Novice House, etc.
However, the pace of the book picks up and
we are swept into a suspenseful whirlwind after Jai arrives torn and tattered, fleeing from danger. Maresi and Continue reading
Kadohata, C. (2004). Kira-Kira. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Newbery Medal (2005)
“Kira-Kira: The Japanese word for glittering—those beautiful things in the world that are sources of happiness, such as the sky, the stars, and flowers.” -Encyc
Kira-Kira was Katie’s first word. Her sister, Lynn, taught it to her and it has been one of the many connections of their sisterhood. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is historical
fiction for ages ten to fourteen and has been awarded a Newbery Medal. The plot follows these two sisters after their family relocates to Georgia in the southern United States where they experience racism because they are Japanese. Katie especially struggles to adjust to her new environment, but with Lynn’s help she manages to feel like herself again, finding beauty all around her. Then the most tragic thing happens. Lynn becomes feverish, bedridden, and Katie’s life begins to turn around again with trouble in school and socially since her sister is her best friend. Although her Continue reading