Posts tagged ‘Friendship’

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

mrwOne of the enduring characters from YA fiction for 2009 is likely to be Marcello Sandoval, a seventeen year old whose Asperger’s-like condition is marked by his unique relationships to music, theology and horses.

He is happy and capable in his special-ed situation where he cares for horses and mentors others on their care.  His father, however, believes it is in Marcelo’s best interest to see what life is like in the ‘real world’ and arranges for Marcelo to work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer.  There he uncovers deceptions and secrets that reveal a world where not everything – or everyone – is as it seems.  Marcelo addresses the puzzles and people he encounters with admirable strength, intelligence and integrity so that in the course of growing more comfortable and assured with his place in his own life, he will surely win your heart.

John S.


June 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

This Full House by Virginia Euwer Wolff

wolffThe conclusion to the Make Lemonade Trilogy (Make Lemonade, True Believer, This Full House) closes the circle of famiy around LaVaughn and Jolly.  Virginia Euwer Wolff, who introduced the open prose poetry style of writing to YA literature, seems to have sculpted each word and sentence from a meditation on teen pregnancy and the challenges of being a single mother.  The stubborn perseverance of the characters as they work toward their goals – LaVaughn wants to go to college, Jolly wants her GED – is riddled with self-doubt and anger.  One of them has no idea who her mother was, one has a mother whose presence can be overbearing.

The novel is undermined somewhat by a coincidence that is almost jolting its unlikeliness  when it is introduced, but otherwise the story brings the trilogy to an emotionally satisfying conclusion .cy

When life deals you a bad hand, it takes some effort, skill and a bit of luck to draw to a full house.

February 12, 2009 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

frankie1When Frankie discovers that her formerly all-boys prep school has a secret society whose past exploits seem a dim memory and its reason for existence reduced to lame pranks, she takes it upon herself to mastermind the revitalization of the group and its aura of mystery. Yet she does this from the ‘outside’ because the group, headed by her hot-but- aloof senior boyfriend (Frankie is a sophomore) will not accept females. Nor will her boyfriend admit to Frankie that the secret society even exists. Frankie creates a series of pranks that society members believe are the schemes of one of their own, and Frankie seems happy enough to let it be so. Until that boy is caught and faces expulsion. Frankie has found the strength to be the equal of the most talented boys in her school, but does she have the strength to expose herself as the perpetrator of the pranks?The book is intelligent (mentioning Focault and prison theory) and smart (think John Green), full of witty dialogue and clever pranks. I found Frankie to be too manipulative to really care for, but her learning to stand up for herself and coming to terms with the cost of popularity and romance with cutest boy in school ring true. Girls will likely love it. John S. WLS

November 28, 2008 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

3 Willows by Ann Brashares


The torch has been gracefully passed from the original Sisterhood to a younger group of 3 girls, Ama, Jo and Polly. Their story evolves during the summer before their freshman year in high school. The bond developed when they met in grade school, and planted 3 willow trees together from seeds. They tried to imitate the famous 4 from The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, who are now a legend in their Bethesda school and community. However, these three seem to have drifted apart by the end of 8th grade.

Ama, an overachiever, from Ghana is plunked into a summer achievement scholarship program, where she is assigned to a wilderness group, despite her best efforts to get into her first choice, a study program at Andover. Despite her straight A average she’s forced to face an ugly lack of confidence in herself she never knew existed.
Jo is running away from past and current family pain, while bussing tables with the wait staff of “older and cooler teens” at a beachside restaurant. She faces her internal and external struggles in a remarkable way.

Polly, who’s Mother has been neglectful, amongst other things, finds herself in some excruciatingly painful situations while trying to find herself through modeling camp.

The 3 Willows successfully make their own imprint as they separate and find their way back to each to learn what real friendship is all about. This story often leaves the reader at a cliffhanger during one of the girl’s sagas, and magically they will find themselves unable to put the book down. It is a great adventure, and one that Ann Brashares understands and writes about so well.

Recommended by Anne Beier Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Irvington Public Library

November 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

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