families (4)

Book Review: Girl on the Run

Girl on the Run
by Abigail Johnson
Pub Date: 06 Oct 2020 
Read courtesy of netgalley.com
LOVED IT! Is there such a thing as a 6 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐review? 
Fast paced and tight, I read this book in an afternoon. I was engaged by the characters and the plot. I enjoyed being able to anticipate where things were going or where they had come from. I sometimes get frustrated trying to follow a thriller's flow of information, and I sometimes think the authors do it on purpose for some kind of gotcha. Abigail Johnson didn't confuse me, purposefully or not. She allowed the readers to explore both with the characters and to make suppositions on their own without making the readers feel duped or slow-witted.
Recommend this book to readers who like Amazon's Hanna.
As an aside, it did help that I grew up and worked near the story's setting; although, the geography itself could have been anywhere with regards to the story. It was just fun for me to read of places I know: Bridgeton, Cheltenham, Perkasie, Elkins Park, etc. 
I can't wait to put this in to my high school readers' hands.
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Book Review: The Liars of Mariposa Island

Book Review

The Liars of Mariposa Island

by Jennifer Mathieu

Publication Date 17 Sep 2019

Read courtesy of NetGalley.com

I have to be honest; I forgot what the title of this book was while I was reading it. Now that I see it has the word "Liars" in it, the book makes more sense. It's about liars. I like the book a 1/2 star better than I did before remembering the title.

The story is about a dysfunctional family fooling itself at every turn. Each family member lies to him/herself and, in turn, to each other. And it's not the kind of lying that's obvious; it's a self-preservation technique, yet it crumbles rather than coheres the family. On the other hand, some of the lying is so obvious that it's hard to believe its believed. 

I enjoyed the point in the book when the reader is finally let in on the biggest lie perpetuated by the two teen children in the family. Once it is revealed, the mother's self-denial becomes more apparent and more dysfunctional.

The mother's lie to her children comes to light later in the story; however, it's revealed in too obvious a manner. It felt the plot point that allowed this lie to emerge lacked narrative creativity (been there, done that). 

The story includes sex, and drugs, and boozy beach parties. These feel gratuitously included to "appeal" to teen readers.

Finally, the ending was abrupt. The only truth to the story is that no one wins in the end, including the reader. 

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Kids of Kabul by Deborah Ellis

Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending WarKids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War by Deborah Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have so enjoyed Deborah Ellis' fiction titles but this book really resonated with me. The many children who are now living in Kabul have lost so much; many have no parents, poking through garbage dumps for food or any item to sell. But these kids stories told to Deborah Ellis show resilience, hope and a yearning for a better life that does not consist of war, the Taliban, and fear. I highly recommend this for all junior and senior high school social studies classes.

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When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

When Crickets CryWhen Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A student gave me this book to read and I loved the rich description of the southern town, river,and the many wonderful people who would do anything for little seven year old Annie. Told by Reese, the reader knows he has suffered and shut himself off from almost everyone due to losing his wife, Emma. Emma and Annie both have bad hearts and it is the story of the loss of Emma and meeting Annie that leads Reese to confront his painful past in order to move forward with his future. Martin weaves a story full of deep characters; Charlie who is blind, Georgia, his dog who looks after Charlie and Reese, CeCe is Annie's aunt, and Termite will creep into your heart and have you enjoying their friendship.

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