Archive for December, 2009

Posh And Prejudice by Grace Dent

Yet another clever book in diary form about a young girl with a quick wit who wants to make a better life for herself from backwater Essex, England. A chav is a poor working class person in Britain. A helpful glossary at the back of the book expands the definition by comparing a chav to calling someone trailer trash. Shiraz does not think of herself as a chav. She has enough smarts to pass the GCSEs (a test after high school), so that she can continue her education to enter a University. Shiraz would be the first person in her family, and indeed, one of the first in most of the town to go on to higher education. Her family and boy friend can’t imagine why she would want this. Her mother is tells her that flipping breakfasts in Mr. Yolk should be exciting enough for anyone. Shiraz knows she’s smart but her present life in Essex does not require book learning. This book is the sequel to Diary of a Chav, but it can stand alone. Shiraz falls for a spoiled rich boy in her new class, but discovers that being high class does not mean that you are first class. However, her old standby boyfriend doesn’t thrill her either. The book ends with Shiraz unsure of where she belongs; only that she knows she needs to escape Essex. This book does not break new ground, except that the characters, dialog and situations are from England.

Lily Hecker, Pelham


December 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment

Notes From The Dog by Gary Paulsen

This is a sweet quick read of a book with a message.  Finn is a teenager who finds it difficult to talk to people, although we only know this because he says so…Over his summer vacation he can’t wait to read a ton of books and talk to as few people as possible.  However, a new neighbor moves in next store and she is so outgoing and full of life that he can’t help but be swept up in her spirit.  It doesn’t hurt that she young and pretty, too.  She hires him to create a garden in his own yard (for her to appreciate as the neighbor) because she is too weak to garden herself; she is undergoing chemo treatments for her cancer.
It turns out that although Finn really isn’t cut out for gardening, he benefits a tremendous amount by spending time with Johanna.  He and his best friend end up getting intimately involved in Johanna’s life, helping her to attain her goal of collecting $10,000 in sponsors for her to participate in a triathalon where all of proceeds go towards cancer research. Johanna helps Finn to gain self-confidence and realize that he may actually be able to talk to lots people  — even girls he likes.  I wish that this book had more depth – Paulsen draws great characters but then only seems to scratch the surface of them.  Because of this, the book starts to feel simple and a little bit like a mechanism to push “the cause.”  That being said, simple it may be, but it was a good story that held my attention and I would recommend it lower level middle school readers.
Amy Kaplan, Briarcliff Manor

December 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

December 2009
« Nov   Jan »