May 2001 – Recent Reading

Books of the month (two, because I couldn’t choose between them):

Owl in Love, by Patrice Kindl

YA fantasy. Girl by day, owl by night. Owl has a marvelous voice–wise, dry humor, yet replete with teenage vulnerability. This book should appeal to those who like romance and mystery, as well as fantasy.

Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Contemporary YA written in ‘poetic prose,’ which looks like free-verse poetry on the page. LaVaughn works as a babysitter for a teenage single mother to earn money for college. Voice and story seamless, with characters who will seem like neighbors to those who live in a big city.

Other recommended reads:

  • The Wanderer, by Sharon Creech. One of this year’s Newbery Honor books. Sophie sails the Atlantic with three uncles and two cousins, telling her story alternately with cousin Cody. I especially liked the resolution of the relationship between Sophie and her grandfather Bompie. Note to self: Learn juggling.
  • My Side of the Mountain, by Jean George. Another golden oldie that I’m rereading along with my daughter. City slicker Sam Gribley tries his hand at living off the land. Never mind that he’s a little too successful–it’s a compelling story that reads just as well now as it did thirty years ago. (Am I really that old!?)
  • Kamikaze, by Yasuo Kuwahara and Gordon T. Allred. Memoir of a teenage kamikaze pilot. A remarkable story.
  • Looking Back, by Lois Lowry. Memoir with photos. A re-read of one of my favorite authorship titles, and a must-read for Lowry fans.
  • Journey, by Patricia MacLachlan. Journey and his sister live with their grandparents– because their mother abandoned them. MacLachlan examines the relationship between memory and experience through the motif of photography. I continue to be amazed at her ability to pack so much into so few words; she seems incapable of writing anything less than wonderful. If you know a kid who likes photography, give them this book.
  • True Believer, by Virginia Euwer Wolff. The sequel to Make Lemonade. Going against the received wisdom here, I think the first book is stronger–a more unusual storyline. This one has a much more standard plot, but the same compelling un-put-downable style, and you can’t help but cheer for LaVaughn.

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