Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante

Ever since her brother's death, Dellie's life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault.
But Dellie's world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who's often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn't do for her brother—save him.
Starkly and affectingly written, The Trouble with Half a Moon is a sparkling and memorable debut.

Intriguing story of how a grieving family, a neglected little boy and a neighbor help each other through the hard spots in each of their lives. 

Dellie is a young girl who lost her brother and feels like it's her fault. 
Her mother fears she'll lose Dellie too and doesn't allow her out of her sight or her dad's.
Dellie's dad is grieving too but he is dealing with it better.
The family is stuck until they take in and care for a young boy. Dellie is determined to take care of him better than her brother.
Heart-warming story!

Rating: PG
L: None
S: None
V: child abuse--child being hit by mother

Page 69 test:
"...and-white photo of two young girls, as though I had asked about them.
One of hte girls is arond thirteen and the other is younger, maybe seven The older girl is wearing a hat with long feathers sticking straight up. Bracelets travel all the way up her arm and her dress is long and puffy. I bet that one is Miss Shirley. the smaller girl is waering a plain dress with a bow around her waist and one in her hair.
The little girl in the picture is grinning ike she's trying to hold her laughter in. Almost like the person taking the picture was making a funny face or telling a joke. The older girl's smile is bold and wide. She's not trying to hide anyting.
"The one on the right is my only sister, Aggie. She was the youngest," Miss Shirley says. "God rest her soul. I miss her more than anyting." She sighs. "And theother is me. We used to have such a good time together, me and Aggie. We were best friends."
"You sister was pretty. I, uh, mean is pretty." I confuse myself. I guess she's dead, but I don't want it to sound like she isn't pretty anymore.
Miss Shirley laughs. "Yes, she was very pretty. She pints to another frame. The woman in it is nt ugly or pretty, just really old. "And this is my mother."
I look at the other pictures on the table. They're all old. I don't see any rosary beads or candles like in my house.
"This is all I have left of my people," Miss Shirley..."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breaking Night by Liz Murray

In the vein of The Glass Castle, Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep.
When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman's indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.
Praise for Breaking Night
"As much as it is a memoir, Breaking Night is a primer on how poverty and drug abuse create a heartbreaking underclass of children, one that goes largely unnoticed. By the truly uplifting ending, Liz Murray has shown us the worst, and the very best, of America."
--Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch

Amazing, moving story. After reading Lizzy's story I realize have nothing holding me back. If a girl can go from homeless to Harvard I can accomplish great things too. 
At times, the story was so emotional it was hard for me to read, even uncomfortable. I wish I could help all the youth who have potential and end up on the streets. How do we fix an overloaded system and help families? How do we teach our youth that education can save them?

Rating: PG19 for drugs, sex, hard situations
S: Yes, not graphic
L: Yes, sprinkled through out
V: Yes, druggies, dealers, etc

Page 69 test:
I couldn't post this page in good conscious for me. This page had the main character tell about when she was sexually abused. It was only a paragraph and it wasn't graphic but it still made me uncomfortable. Sorry.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Magic Hands by Jennifer Laurens

Cort, the high school senior jock seems to have it all -- except a summer job. When he lands one doing women's nails, his eyes are opened to the catty, back-stabbing world of females. Girls he thought he knew and trusted turn out to shock and use him. He gets to know Rachel, an elusive girl the others gossip about, a girl with secrets. From her he learns there is more to life than weekend partying and social status, and one of the secrets she shares with him will change his life forever.

Cute, quick story about a jock who needs a job, likes an untouchable girl and tries to be cool.
He gets a job doing nails in a salon and because of his popularity he brings in more business than the little Asian women can handle.
The characters were fun. 

 Rating: PG
V: None
S: None
L: None

Page 69 test:
"...girls. About how girls cold keep his blood in a whirl that nothing could slow.
He wanted to talk to her on the phone, hear that low, bass and guitar voice of hers. He wanted tomorrow to be here. He had a long night ahead of him, an even longer day with work. Until then, the poster wouldn't be enough.
He got up, sat down in front of his computer and clicked onto favorites. From there, he was just one click away from the New York City web cam.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Miri lives on a mountain where for generations her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

My daughter and I read this book as part of a mother/daughter book club. We both read it before and enjoyed it the second time as well. I think we learned more this time as well. Princess Academy is worth reading again and again. I LOVED Miri, the main character, how she grew and learned and became stronger and wiser.

Rating: G
S: None
L: None
V: None

Page 69 test:
" warm her on her pallet at the far end of the room, and she shivered and wished for something to hope for. She closed her eyes and saw the folds of the silver dress twist and shimmer beneath her lids. Her dreams of becoming academy princess wrapped around her and eased the chill."

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I'm not sure how many reviews will go up this year because of my new reading goal.
"I will not read any series unless ALL the books are published."
My reading pile has shrunk by 75%! I can't believe how many series are being published.
Last year my goal was to read 100 books and I read 106.
This year I decided not to read so many, hence the goal.
I'm only a month into this goal and I feel myself wavering sometimes. So far I've held strong.
What do you think about my goal?
Are there new trilogy in the reading world I shouldn't wait to read?