Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wild Man Island
by Will Hobbs
(Harpercollins Juvenile Books; ISBN: 0688174736)

If you like adventure, danger, and the excitement of uncharted territory, then this book by Will Hobbs is for you.

Fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway is on a quest. He has joined a kayaking trip in Alaska, hoping to visit the place where his archeologist father was killed. Andy sneaks away from the group and travels the two miles to the location. He leaves a tribute to his father, but when he starts to return to the group, he is unaware a storm is brewing.

His kayak crashes and Andy finds himself washed ashore on Admiralty Island, a wilderness. Andy encounters wolves, bear, a Newfoundland dog, and a wild man. Who is this man and where did he come from? Is he the last of those who originally inhabited this island or someone lost at sea, like Andy?

Typical of Hobbs’ style, the reader will find an exciting story, laced with factual information about Admiralty Island and early human migration.

A Mother to Embarrass Me
by Carol Lynch Williams
Delacorte Press; ISBN: 0385729227

No matter your age, you can probably remember a time (or ten, or twenty) when you were embarrassed by your mother. Her words, dress, actions all combined to humiliate you in front of your friends, or worst of all, the love of your life. No matter what you tried to do to stop
her, Mom only became more embarrassing by the minute and you thought you'd never be able to face the world again.

Twelve-year-old Laura Stephan feels the same way and keeps a list of all the things she would like to change about her mother. But her mom doesn't mean to be embarrassing. She just wants to stay good friends with the daughter she loves. She'd do anything to keep Laura happy, but her best efforts all seem to be wrong.

How could Mom have known Dad would hurt his neck while break-dancing at Laura's party? So what if Mom and Christian talked about Laura behind her back? Why should Laura be concerned that Mom has a modeling job while several months pregnant? Will the birth of the baby make things better or worse? Williams takes a humorous look at mother/daughter relationships that are cross-generational.

A great read for a mother/daughter book club, a teen or pre-teen who feels embarrassed by her own mother, or a mother who wants to understand her emotion-packed daughter a little bit better.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book Review: Twilight by Stepheni Meyer
(Little, Brown and Company: 2005)

Romeo and Juliet. Tony and Maria. Pyramus and Thisbe. Lancelot and Guinevere. Tristan and Isolde. Anakin and Padmé. And now, Bella and Edward. These star-crossed lovers are doomed from the start. Bella, a 17-year-old new-kid-in-school, meets Edward, an incredibly beautiful, yet aloof vampire, nearly 100-years-old.

Before she can stop herself, Bella is in love and the differences in their lives don’t seem to matter to a girl who is smitten, despite the fact her new boyfriend--or other vampires that he knows-- could kill her at any moment.

Although this book is hot, hot, hot among teen readers, I was bothered by the fact that Bella seems to have no reaction to the truth about Edward other than that she loves him. Isn't she ever afraid? Does she want to become like him? I know fiction is about being able to suspend disbelief, but I still didn't buy the outcome of this story.

Book Review: Store-Bought Baby by Sandra Belton (Greenwillow, 2006)

Although her parents call Luce’s death an accident, Leah thinks she knows the truth—Luce meant to kill himself by driving too fast on a rain-slicked road. Soon, finding the whole truth becomes Leah’s purpose when she searches for Luce’s birth parents. Along with her best friend and Luce’s girlfriend, Leah follows the trail to the Rock-a-Bye agency where Leah discovers that only family and friendships can heal her loss.

Despite the use of a first person narrative, I never knew as much about Leah as I did about the all-too-perfect Luce. As an adoptive parent myself, I thought the neighbors’ comments about adoption seemed too abundant after sixteen years to be realistic, and the book title was never fully supported by the text.

Teenagers will empathize with Leah’s yearning to know that she is as important to her parents as Luce was. The relationship she develops with her mother is satisfying.

To buy this book, click on: