Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I just finished If I Stay by Gayle Forman--another spare and powerful book. Mia, a senior in high school whose passions are playing the cello and her boyfriend Adam, is having a typical day with her family when they are victims of a fatal car accident. The book is narrated by Mia, who is physically in a coma throughout most of the book; as the title suggests, she must make a decision to go or stay. It is incredibly well-written; a book I look forward to sharing with students, in part so I can read it again (and again).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


There's no better title for this blog post than the title of the book I just read. Danielle Trussoni's book does indeed focus on the study of angels, with enough biblical (and apocryphal) references to be interesting. A fascinating idea! I kept reading in hopes that the fascinating parts of the book would begin on the next page...right up until the end of the book. It was a decent book--excellent at times--but never the compelling read that I kept thinking it was about to become.

Based on the ending, I expect there will be a sequel. I'm looking forward to it...I hope.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Love, Loss, and a good book

I was lucky to meet Ellen Yeomans at a party for our mutual (and wonderful) friend Suzanne last weekend, and was embarrassed that I wasn't familiar with her debut YA novel Rubber Houses--an ALAN pick, no less! So Monday, I asked the school librarian to track down a copy for me. Of course, I was distracted with my own family research, so I saved it until last night. That was a bad choice; I couldn't put it down. 

Allow me to digress for a moment. One year ago this week--last April 27, to be exact--our beautiful, strong, smart, amazing friend and neighbor Brandi was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of heart and lungs. It is known to be caused by asbestos exposure, and takes 20-30 years from the time of exposure to be diagnosed. Brandi was 23 when she was diagnosed. We surrounded her with love and support and prayers and all the best wishes...but on September 24, Brandi died at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.I miss her everyday.

Now back to the book...I probably should have read the inside flap before I started reading. When Kit's little brother, Buddy, is diagnosed with cancer, I knew I was in trouble. I made it to page 59 before the tears began to flow. As Kit describes the drive to Boston, I sobbed. Oh, it was such a book. I won't give too much away, I hope, when I say that the end of the book was redemptive, and although it was hard to stop the tears, it was made easier by the hopefulness I felt that Kit was going to be OK. 

The review on TeenReads says, "The novel, told in free verse, sings with honesty and pain." Yes.