Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

"Look, nobody's beating us. They're not even yelling at us. It's not like that." I sighed and shook my head. "You asked me if I trusted them, and like, I trust them to drive the vans safely on the highway, and I trusth that they'll buy food for us every week, but I don't trust that they actually know what's best for my soul, or how to make me the best person with a guaranteed slot in heaven or whatever." I could tell I was losing him. Or maybe I'd never had him to begin with, and I was mad at myself for being so inarticulate, for messing up what I felt like I owed to Mark, even if he wouldn't see if that way, which he probably wouldn't."     (Page 399)

I cautiously read gay and lesbian YA. You see I don't get too jazzed about the sex scenes in any books, and sometimes, like all forms of fiction, some authors push the boundaries too much for me. Gay and lesbian YA can occasionally do this (like I said, like ALL YA fiction. I stumbled onto The Miseducation of Cameron Post on a Lee Wind's blog and figured it was worth a shot when I ran across it at the library. BINGO! The very next week, that gem landed right in my line of vision at the good 'ole Belmont branch library, and it was mine!!  Must have been fate because this read was meant to happen.

Danforth weaves a fabulous and mostly realistic-to-me tale of a teen figuring out how to deal with the adults in her life who can't handle her attraction to girls. After her parents are killed in a car wreck, her born-again aunt comes to live with her and grandmother. Time beats on their relationship relentlessly, and the aunt decides the best way to deal with her neice's "issue" is to send her to reform high school. Reform for gays that is, Christian gays....Cameron's freshman year of high school finds her at God's Promise Christian School and Center for Healing. The gays, lesbian, trans, and otherwise unlabeled but obviously sexual deviants according to the Church are just like high schoolers at any school: some rebelling, some eager and engaged, and some flat out just trying to find their way to survive. Cameron indeed finds her way, but certainly not as the loner she entered the school as nor as the outcast.

Cameron's goals ring true for what I know of most of us: trying to find our way to discovering who we are and who we believe will most help us journey with clarity and peace. I appreciated most how respectful of her audience this author is; over and over, I felt some welcomed as a reader, as if she knew just when to lay down another rung in the bridge of story telling for this book. This is a rich one, and I encourage you to check it out if you are in the mood for a solid, respectful, not-too-sexy, realistic lesbian YA novel. Let me know what you think, will you?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning

Are you looking for a read aloud that folks of any age would enjoy? One that might just speak to the powerful possibilities of community? A book that has stunning illustrations and a surprising storyline? A GRAPHIC NOVEL PICTURE BOOK perhaps? Welllllll, if this is what you are looking for, I may have just the ticket, er book!

I love, love, love Laundry Day. Set in early 1900's New York City in the tenements, this is the story of a young shoe-shine boy who starts his day like usual only to discover a red scarf drifting down to his neck from somewhere above. But where? We travel through his moments trying to find the owner, as he meets and greets friends known and new from many different lands. The simplicity of the story captured me the moment I opened it in the library last week. Immediately my mind started identifying ways to use this text: first with kindergartners and next with the adults I teach.

This is one of those "OMG, who will I share this with first?" books. My friend Ruth was the first recipient this time; she loved it!!! What a brilliant book by Maurie Manning, what a gift she has offered us! Go find this gem. Really, you will not be disappointed at all!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Hey everyone! I am so sorry that I haven't posted a blog entry in so long! The end of the school year got very busy for me. But anyway, on to the book!

The book that I am going to be sharing today is called Divergent by Veronica Roth. I just finished reading the book Insurgent which is sequel to Divergent and I thought it was even better then Divergent which I didn't know was possible. I will be writing a blog on Insurgent soon. I thought this book was incredibly detailed and I really felt like I was the main character. I finished it in about 3 days. 

There are five factions. Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Candor and Erudite. All of them believe different things for the way things are, and all serve a different purpose in society. Abnegation believes in being selfless, and they do everything for the good of others and nothing for themselves. Dauntless are fearless and chance takers. They help protect the society and are "hard core". Amity are peace keepers. They believe in equality and peace among all. Candor believe in honesty and telling the truth. And Erudite search for knowledge and the world is a classroom. When citizens turn 16 they choose a faction. They take a test to see which would be the best fit for them. Sometimes it's the faction you are born into, and sometimes it's another. And then there are the people that are called "Divergent" which means they are eligible for more then one faction. The people who are Divergent often keep it a secret because there are serious consequences when discovered. Many end up faction-less. These people are feared by the government because the factions have no way of controlling the people since they often show personality traits of other factions and don't always work under certain simulations and serums. That is what the main character Beatrice is. She was born into Abnegation and then found she was divergent and could be in Abnegation, Erudite, or Dauntless. Surprising everyone and herself, she chose Dauntless. Usually people from Abnegation do not choose Dauntless. While she goes through the gruesome trails to secure her spot in the Dauntless faction, there is a terrible plan brewing in the background as Jeanine, Erudite leader plans a simulation attack. Beatrice (now Tris) has to figure out what "divergent" really means and how important she could be in saving millions of peoples lives. And of course there is the mysterious Four (yes, that's his name) who seems to have a terrible secret hidden in his past and a personality that is different from the other Dauntless. Maybe Tris will find love while she is trying to save the world. 

I loved this book. If you have read the book Matched by Ally Condie or liked the Hunger Games, I think that you would really enjoy this book. Personally, it is one of my favorite books now and I cannot wait until the next book comes out. I believe the book store is calling you.