Book reviews...from picture books to adult books, as well as books-to-movie info, and other stuff I think is interesting. Note: Not all books reviewed or recommended are appropriate for all ages.
OCTOBER 21, 2011
Just Grace is the first book of a series by Charise Mericle Harper, and is a great early chapter book for a new chapter book reader. It is a fun, quick read...featuring lists and cartoonish drawings inside, in the spirit of Diary of Wimpy Kid.
This first book is about a girl named Grace, who gets re-named "Just Grace" much to her horror, early on in the school year because there are so many girls named Grace in her class. The main plotline is Grace's altruistic project to secretly help her neighbor, Mrs. Luther, who was sad because her beloved cat, Crinkles, started running away out of fear of her owner's new bright orange leg cast. Grace wants to cheer up her neighbor, but ends up being blamed when Crinkles goes missing---and then must solve the mystery to clear her name.
As a huge fan of Graceling, I was excited to see the announcement that the sequel, Bitterblue, is scheduled to be published in May, 2012. If you haven't yet read Graceling, and you enjoy fast-paced action/adventure stories featuring a strong female character (along the lines of Hunger Games), I'd highly recommend it (see past review for more info.)
Just FYI, even though Fire was published AFTER Graceling, it is actually a prequel, so Bitterblue will be the first book to continue on the exciting plotline of Graceling.
Someone Named Eva is a fiction book, but it is based on the true history of what happened to the residents of a small town in the former Czechloslovakia during the Nazi regime. Both hard-to-put-down, as well as sometimes hard emotionally to read, this story is told from the viewpoint of Milagra, who is taken from her family by the Nazis and sent to a Nazi "re-education" school where the goal was to wipe out any memories or connections the students had to their past, in order to create what they viewed as the ideal German, Aryan youth.
Renamed Eva by her Nazi captors, Milagra and the other students were forbidden to speak any language other than German, and then placed with new German families, who were told they were orphans of the war.
This book, for older students through teens/adults, is a powerful example of just one of the horrors that took place during the Holocaust and Nazi reign in Europe. This is a book geared toward young people, and therefore does not include the kinds of graphic details that some adult Holocaust stories might include. However, the pain that Milagra and the other students experience at being taken from their families, as well as plot elements that touch lightly upon, while not glossing over, some of the most horrific actions of the Nazis make the story difficult to forget.