Over the past few months, I’ve read some absolutely wonderful novels. Books that have great characters with real issues that I can absolutely see kids today identifying with. Here are my thoughts on just a few of them.
I actually listed to the audiobook of Rules by Cynthia Lord. Absolutely loved it! Catherine is a twelve-year old girl, who like other girls her age, just wants to fit in and be a normal kid. Catherine’s brother, David, makes that quite challenging though. David, who is younger, has autism. His not-so-normal behaviors make it challenging for Catherine to have what she considers a normal life. She spends much of her time looking after him, teaching him the rules of life, such as “no toys in the fish tank” or “keep your pants on in public.” Things begin to look up when a girl Catherine’s age moves in next door. It’s a dream come true, if only Kristi can accept David and his differences. Just as Kristi moves in next door, Catherine befriends Jason, a boy her age, who is a paraplegic. Catherine has trouble acknowledging Jason and bringing her group of friend together, nervous about their reaction to a paraplegic.
I thought this was a fantastic book that dealt with some real life struggles of kids who just want to be normal. Autism is sometimes a hard topic to talk about, but I felt Cynthia Lord did it with passion and grace. In addition to the content, it’s also very well written and hard to put it down. As someone who grew up on Judy Blume, I would absolutely add this book to that group of novels all girls should read.
Last week, I read The Center of Everything by Linda Urban. Like Rules, it’s an easy read dealing with real life struggles and the impact of those challenges on young girls. Ruby recently lost her grandmother and feels guilt for her last interaction with Gigi the day she died. She thinks that she has the chance to redeem herself and change that last day by relying on an old town legend. Through misunderstandings and a fight with her best friend, she comes to terms with her grandmother’s death and begins to see the open doors in her life. I would also recommend A Crooked Kind of Perfect also by Linda Urban if you’re fan of this genre.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is another wonderful read I found on someone’s Goodreads list. Loved it from beginning to end! Eleven-year old Miss Moses LoBeau lives with the Colonel and Miss Lana in Tupelo Landing, North Caroline. Discovered as a baby by the Colonel after a hurricane washed her ashore, Miss Moses has searched for her mother via the message in a bottle for years. There’s a murder in her small town and all of a sudden, the law from the big city arrives. None other than the Colonel appears to be a suspect, and Miss Moses and her best buddy, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to discover the truth. Through all sorts of adventures and mishaps, not only is the criminal revealed, but so are some mysteries from the past. In the end, Miss Moses (and the reader) come to appreciate the meaning of family.
In Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder, again the story centers around a young girl who is experiencing real life challenges in her tween years. The twist to this book is the touch of magic and adventure. Penelope Grey has wanted for nothing in her young life. That is, until the day her dad decides he’s had enough of corporate America and simply walks away from his job. Without an income, Penelope and her parents move down south to inherit what they believe to be an old family estate. It is, just with a few tenants who don’t pay rent. It is here that Penelope and her parents discover the meaning of family, friendship and happiness.
I can’t recommend any of these books enough. And I think if you like one, you’ll like them all. And if you grew up with Judy Blume like I did, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The issues all of these girls deal with are very real, yet all four of these authors approach the issues and the girls differently.
Right now I’m listening to Heist Society by Ally Carter. Not realizing it was a series, I had already listened to Uncommon Criminals. I’m still undecided on these, but when I’m done with Heist Society, I’ll give you the verdict.
These are some of the picture books I’ve been reading. I’ll review some of them this weekend.