Friday, June 29, 2012

The Best Part of Summer

A good book and time to read it—that’s my description of a perfect plan for a summer day. Some books need to be rediscovered. Others are new and shouldn’t be missed the first time around. I never seem to have enough time to share about the books I’ve read, but somehow I always find time to read. Hmm. Note to self: blog more. Here’s a book I’ll be returning to the library today so another lucky reader can check it out.  

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, Hyperion, 2012

This is a Scheherazade story.

For Julia, a British agent arrested by the Gestapo during World War II, as long as she can write her story, she can live. It’s supposed to be a confession. Is it? What is truth and what is an intricately woven web of deceit? Is her best friend, the pilot Maddie whose friendship is tested to the limit, dead or alive? What or who will Julia betray? Will it matter?

I don’t want to spoil this story by giving away a single thread of a dark and blood stained tapestry of events. The story is so filled with tension and edge of chair suspense, that it should be read on a summer night when no serious tasks or decision making await before noon the next day. Read it at a gallop and then go back and re-read to see if you got it right the first time.

Then thank your lucky stars that WWII is over.  

Code Name Verity will hold the attention of teens, young adults, and older readers. Be aware there are unspeakable cruelties lurking in the dark prison cells.      

The author is also a pilot.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Remembering the “Ring of Fire”

Across the country on May 20, stadiums and backyards filled with lunar enthusiasts of all ages who gathered to see the moon move between the sun and earth at the right distance to look as if the moon wore a fiery crown, giving it the dramatic name, “Ring of Fire.”  

The difference between a ring of fire and a solar eclipse is the distance of the moon from the earth when the moon is between the earth and the sun. For many people, this is exciting, entertaining maybe, but not something their lives revolve around, pardon the pun. But what if it did?

EVERY SOUL A STAR by Wendy Mass, Little Brown and Company, 2008

As this perfect for summer reading odyssey begins, thousands have gathered at a remote campground named Moon Shadow to catch a glimpse of a rare sight: a total eclipse of the sun. This brings together three teens who would never have become friends in any other setting. They tell their stories in alternating points of view.

Ally has grown up at Moon Shadow. It’s her home. She can’t imagine life being anything else but  stargazing and comet hunting. This is her orbit, but it’s all about to change.   

Bree is a future beauty queen and this is not just her own opinion. However, the reader can’t help but wonder if Bree is in eclipse. When will the real Bree peek out?

Jack is overweight and awkward. He likes his own company as well as one can when he is pretty limited in the company of others. He gets a chance to break free of this involuntary comfort zone and when he does, he surprises himself.

All of this is revealed against the background of the coming eclipse as the three characters wear different hats and experience different roles with other age groups, from frightened children to senior citizens. This book is all about broadening horizons, coming of age, stretching, and growing a little in preparation for growing a lot.

Author Wendy Mass understands the plight of those who struggle to find their own individual places in the universe. Both boys and girls will find this multi-layered story as insightful as it is interesting.

Hillview School Library