Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

ShineSince the day Cat was attacked by one of her brother's friends she has closed herself off from family and friends.  Being raised by an aunt who turned a blind eye to the attack and believing her brother saw it and did nothing has ruined their relationship and she has cut herself off from her best friend, Patrick and all her girlfriends.  After Patrick is grossly and brutally attacked and is lying in the hospital in a coma, Cat becomes determined to find out who did this as she is convinced the police won't. 

Cat questions everyone in her tiny town and takes the bus to another town for the internet access in the public library (imagine not having a computer and the internet at your fingertips).  From the church ladies to the young brother of one her old friends, from drug users to those that make it and sell it, from the library and gay bar to a college boy from another small town Cat begins to put the pieces together.

Cat is a smart, brave and resilient girl and I'm so glad she came out of her shell to help Patrick.   This is a  gritty story much different from any other Myracle book I have read.  The story takes place out of the comfort zone of most YA readers but it is riveting storytelling nonetheless.  Recommended for older YA readers.  Read as an ebook arc courtesty of Abrams books via Netgalley.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for NowAt the start of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt I almost put the book down. Doug Swieteck (a character from The Wednesday Wars) is beaten up by his brother for a signed Joe Pepitone baseball cap (the first thing Doug ever owned that was not a hand-me-down)and quietly admits to his other brother beating him up before he's drafted into the army and to his dad having "quick hands." However I kept going and proceeded to read the book in one day. Doug moves to a small town in the Catskill Mountains and has life changing experiences. He befriends a girl and a librarian/artist, gets a job, finds caring teachers and develops an appreciation of the art of John James Audobon. The librarian helps Doug understand Audobon and the plates of paintings of birds on display in the library. His job delivering groceries introduces him to the townspeople including a writer who owns one of the Audobon paintings sold out of the book in the library (Doug begins a mission to have all the plates returned).Doug's brother is accused of robbing a hardware store and the grocery store and Doug needs to deal with the changing attitudes of the townspeople and school staff as they assume he is guilty by association. There is so much going on here and Schmidt had me rooting for Doug throughout the book. There are twists and turns (spoilers I can't discuss) and you too will root for Doug. This is an amazing book and I love it. If you haven't read The Wednesday Wars read that one now as this one is not being published until April. Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley.

P.S.  OKAY FOR NOW  is now available.