Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Summer reading underway....
I just returned from a week-long vacation to Whistler, BC. The weather, though not terrible, wasn't very warm so I spent quite a bit of time inside reading and playing games with the family. Finally I had a chance to sit down and read. The end of the school year is always so hectic and I am so tired at the end of the day I practically suspend reading for a month. It felt good to get back to my list of books that I "must read" and others that "I want to read." I am always on the hunt for new books to recommend to my patrons and I think I found a few good ones.
Purple Heart by Patrica McCormick- This gem is perfect for teens, especially reluctant male readers. I have actually had three different boys recommend this book to me when I asked them if it would be a good selection for my Nifty-Fifty cart of books. All three gave me emphatic yeses.
The story is set in Iraq during the current Iraqi War. A young soldier, Matt, receives a traumatic brain injury when rocket explodes near him. While he spends time in a hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad he tries to pull his memories together as his body heals. He is left with a sinking feeling that he is somehow responsible for the death of a young Iraqi boy whom he has befriended, but his memory of the event is out of his reach. When he is finally sent back to his unit he is haunted by his partial memories as he confronts the tragedy and daily stresses that the soldiers deal with every day out in the field.
The books seems very real and accurate. It not only deals with the atrocities of war but the ways, often silly, that soldiers cope with it. It shows glimpses of tough young men who appear so macho as they carry out their missions, yet at night might sleep with a stuffed toy or who call out for their mothers when they are scared or injured. The author spent a lot of time researching this book by traveling around the country interviewing soldiers who have returned and families of soldiers who went to Iraq and never returned.
I will recommend this book to all readers, both teens and adults. And yes, I will be adding it to my nifty-fifty cart (50 good books that I can easily recommend to almost all readers.)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting-though not as well-written as Purple Heart this book will find its way onto my recommended list of books for a very different reason---the author is a local gal. She lives in Bonney Lake, Washington just up the hill from here. There are lots of general, geographic, and cultural references to this area.
The beginning of this book reminds me a little bit of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. A monstrous pedophile stalks young girls looking for his next victim, students from White River High School are affected when one their own is kidnapped and presumed dead. Violet, a student at the school, is affected in another way. She can sense the echos of dead people and animals and she actually stumbles upon one of the victims as she follows one the echoes. When the police bring her in to help locate other victims she becomes a target herself. Juxtaposed to all the drama and tension around the kidnappings and killings, a sweet love story develops between Violet and her best friend, Jay.
As the mother of daughters I hate thinking about the possibility that some pedophile could be out there stalking them/wishing them harm. For that reason I don't normally read this type of book. I can see, however, why teens would be attracted to it especially because of the love story and all the local references. I will recommend this book to students who like a good suspenseful, sometimes scary, love story.