Friday, December 20, 2013

Snow and Books and More Books

The first snow (oh, and probably the LAST one, too) of the year.  So beautiful.  The birds were totally into it.  Those are bird prints under the feeder in the side yard.  The hummingbird that rules the backyard has been making frequent forays to his feeder, too, running off the other hummingbird in the neighborhood from his vantage point on the curving blackberry canes over the hillside.  I got up at 4:30 am and checked the streetlight below us and saw the first few flakes start to fall.  Truly, the first snowfall is one of my favorite things.

A truck full of books!  Now, if I can get out of the driveway...

Today, if all goes well and I can actually get out of the driveway, I will deliver 9 boxes of books to my local elementary school, Bailey Gatzert, on behalf of the Northwest Literacy Foundation.  2,500.00 worth of books going to the library! The librarian here, Kathleen West, sure knows her kids; she has boxes filled with reference books, books on Antarctica and sharks, joke books, books of world records, maps, lists...All 6 of the schools we'll be making deliveries to have very different collections and their librarians really know what they need in their libraries.  One school is focusing on art, one on fiction, one has mostly picture books and poetry. 

The schools we deliver to are schools that may have to decide to provide lunch or books for their schools and, rightly so, need to provide lunch.  NWLF helps with the book part.  The schools are a melange of languages and are filled with the most amazing art and gardens, much of which are made by parents whose native language probably isn't English.  The books we provide help the entire family as many of the kids will read and share these books with everyone at home.  Happy New Year, kids!

Books for this kind of come-in-from-out-of-the-cold day?  Children's books about winter and snow, mysteries, old classics like Rebecca, I Capture the Castle, and The Egg and I.  The Polar Express, Narnia, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.  A tidy little stack, a big old chair and a fine, heavy blanket will do for starters.  Christmas lights, candles and the smell of cinnamon are a good chaser.  A chance at a nap, two pairs of socks and an unbroken afternoon with time enough to slip deep inside one or two of those fine pieces of literature... that makes for a cozy, toasty day off.








 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Rained!

Sunrise was at 6:06, sunset will be at 8:21.  The sunsets have been so beautiful lately.  Maybe it's the little bits of smoke in the air, the lower angle the sun comes in through the atmosphere, whatever it is, D and I have taken to walking out onto the patio to take a private moment from the rest of the day just to watch the world turn and slide away from the sun.  We listen to the fountain burble, watch the bees in the lavender, and wait for the wind to come up as the sun sets.  The planets appear, pop, pop, pop, and jets reflect back the last of the sun long after we no longer see it.

First drops of rain outside Eagle Harbor Books
You'd think it rained all the time here in the Seattle summertime.  Well, it doesn't.  There have been some summers when we've gotten maybe a week or so of rainy or misty weather, but this year those days have been rare.  We got that one Friday when it POURED.  ALL DAY!  and then we got yesterday evening.  It was a perfect day:  lightly overcast so not so hot it kept people indoors, but warm enough to encourage them to walk slowly and browse.  And then, in all that warmth, rain, sprinkles, a shower, just as I was heading to the ferry.  Little cold drops of rain on hot skin, invigorating!  And that peppery smell of hot, wet cement. Mmm. 

Here are three of my favorite young adult books (this month, so far), and one adult novel that would be a good crossover-to-teen read, featuring boys as the main characters.  There's no fantasy (except for, maybe, those standard boy fantasies), no testing of wit or muscle to see who will survive the coming dystopian years, just good storytelling about life and the life-changing moments in it.  They are listed in publication date order.

Brewster, by  Mark Slouka (available now): This could be a great cross-over novel for older teens.  It is a brilliant book about three friends and their love for each other.  The story focuses on the two boys, Jon and Ray, longtime friends, and the new girl, Karen, they both love.  It's filled with intense writing about growing up and secrets and how little power young adults have over their own lives. Very intense.  Ray has issues he doesn't share, Karen loves Ray, Jon loves Karen, there's lots of cross country running and introspection; I loved this book and would have loved it as a teenager.
W. W. Norton.  Hardcover, $25.95.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick (August 2013):  Wow.  What a book!  Leonard Peacock wakes up one morning, on his birthday, ready to kill his best friend and then himself.  He has taken great pains to think of gifts to give to the people who mean the most to him, gets them wrapped up, cuts off his hair and then sets out to complete his plans and his life.  Leonard and his best friend, Asher, the one he's going to kill, were inseparable until Asher did something unthinkable after a summer away and now, the only way to make it better, is to get rid of the two things that ruined it all:  Leonard and Asher.  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock follows Leonard through the day as he makes his way to its inevitable end.

This book was both difficult to read and impossible to put down.  I was on the ferry reading this and kept thinking, "WHAT!  What!  How did you get to this point?  Where are your safeties?  Where are the grownups in your life?"  Leonard's mother is completely dysfunctional, his friends are old men, gay teachers, a girl he doesn't know but treats badly, and a violinist who's been bullied.  Leonard lives in his own head, trying to figure out what made Asher become the way he is and finally comes to the conclusion that the only thing that will save them both is murder and suicide.  FMLP is hard to read, it's always hard to read a book about mental illness, about depression, about adults who are fettered by who and what they are so they can't or won't help out. 

Like Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, our main character's reasoning makes his choice of murder/suicide seem perfectly reasonable.  How many kids out there get to this point because they don't have someone who recognizes the signs of suicide or depression?  Or do recognize the signs but are unable, for one reason or the other, to do anything about it?

The book has a lot of footnotes that act as backstory - some people will hate this, I happen to like footnotes.  After living with FMLP for a bit, I can see that MQ may have had a little checklist of things that suicidal kids will do, but it didn't interfere at all with my "enjoyment" of the book.  Ages 13 and up.  Little Brown.  $17.99. 

The Beginning of Everything, by Robyn Schneider (September 2013):  Sometimes it's good to get sick.  The Beginning of Everything was the book I took to bed when I lost my voice and had a sore throat and just felt awful.  Luckily, it was towards the top of the TBR pile next to the bed and the brightness of the cover called to me.

Ezra's got some serious problems:  He caught his girlfriend cheating on him with one of his teammates and, then,  leaving the party where this happened, he was hit by a car that shattered his leg, ending his chances of going to college on a tennis scholarship.  It's the beginning of his senior year and he's feeling more than a little unattached.  He doesn't feel comfortable sitting at the team table or being a part of that group anymore so, he takes a chance and sits with his old best friend.  Little things make big changes: change a seat: find a new friend, get challenged to debate club: learn a skill, help the new girl: find a new life.  When Ezra meets Cassidy Thorpe his life explodes like a firecracker*.  Ezra's never met anyone like her before.  She is happy and funny and really smart and she likes him, too.  As they begin to get closer and start to fall in love, and Ezra begins to see that there are good things still in his life, secrets begin to edge into their perfect happiness.

The Beginning of Everything is funny and heartbreaking and one of the best books I've read this summer.  It's a book of change, loss, recovery, discovery and a smart, witty one at that.  Ezra and Cassidy are the high school romance everyone wishes they had.

*This is from the uncorrected text, sorry, but I can't wait to share it:  C and E are watching the fireworks at Disneyland from the roof of a car and they are talking about the word sillage.  Cassidy says it's the word "for remembering small moments destined to be lost."  Sigh.  Ages 13 and up.  Katherine Tegen Books. $17.99.

The Scar Boys, by Len Vlahos (January 2014):  Wow, the back of the ARC I have is covered in bookseller blurbs and reviews!  Scar Boys is written by "that guy from ABA".  Len was once the Chief Operating Officer of the American Booksellers Association and I am sure glad he decided to add author to his CV. 

Harry Jones was tied to a tree during a lightning storm.  A burning branch broke off and Harry was horribly burned.  Covered in scars, he is pretty much left alone alone until he meets Johnny McKenna in 8th grade.  Johnny is one of those boys who has all the ideas and the energy to make something happen.  Harry is happy to be one of his friends and a part of the circle Johnny travels in since having someone accept him as he is is something that doesn't happen often.  When they decide to start a band in high school, they don't expect it to go much beyond the garage, but sometimes life has funny ideas about what you're really going to do.

Written as a college application essay, Harry tells the story of his life and how his friendship with Johnny was both freeing and binding. The Scar Boys is a funny and wrenching story of love, friendship and rock and roll.  I'd love to read this with a mix tape of the chapter headings playing along.  14+.  Egmont.  $17.99.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Guest Post (Thanks, Annie!)

The blue skies over the ferry building on Bainbridge Island
Sunrise was at 5:49, sunset will be at 8:42.  Cold.  Wet.  Finally.  It was the driest July in history.  It was beautiful, it was warm and breezy, it was weird.  We had muggy.  We had the bluest skies you'll ever see.  We had amazing mountain views and many rides on the OUTside of the ferry.  But we live in Seattle for a reason and I yearned for a little rain.  We had a few heavy squalls yesterday and I know I need to go and clean the gutters today.  The air smells clean and everything looks just a little brighter.

The photos on the left are from my commute over the summer.

We might not have rain, but we had dramatic skies at sunset
Today, I am posting a link to my friend Annie's blog post about President Obama's visit to a new Amazon warehouse opening.   Annie is a writer and a Third Place Books bookseller.  In her post is a letter from the ABA (American Booksellers Association) to Mr. Obama about his decision to deliver his newest jobs speech at the new Tennessee warehouse. 

Please click here and thank you.

Thanks, Annie, for letting me piggieback on your
And fog.  Lots of fog, from little wisps to full on peasoupers
post!







Friday, August 2, 2013

Three Books for Second Grade

Sunrise 5:42, sunset, 8:49.  It's hot.

There is poetry everywhere.  I was walking home from work and heading up Yesler Street, just across from Smith Tower, up the street from the Mission.  There's a little square, a park, there, with some granite pieces, lots of bricks, homeless guys, drug dealers and buyers, and poetry.  One, maybe two, words per brick describing the history of Seattle in this out of the way, kind of scary at night, corner of poetry.  If the sun hadn't been at just the right angle, if I hadn't had to move to the right to get out of the way of a woman having a violent argument with herself, I never would have seen these words stamped into the cobbled bricks that make up the sidewalks in this park.  There are poems about the trees being cut down, poems about the skid road that Yesler once was, the hotel that in the '70's became a free or pay what you can place to stay that was on this corner.  There is the history of the man and the daughters who lived here and built the buildings and ships that helped make Seattle the city it is.  I was stunned and surprised and now find myself searching for other hidden art in the city.

I suppose there is some sort of plaque somewhere with information, I didn't see anything, but I was a little shy of asking people to move so I could look where they were standing.  I may have to go to work earlier one day and see what I can see while everyone is still in bed.  If you are ever on that corner, it's next to the Quintessa condos, let me know what you find.  It's a little bit of overlooked, off the tourist grid, made for those who live here every day, Seattle magic, like the UPS park with the waterfalls and those gorgeous manhole covers you find just out in the open.

The three books I'll be telling you about next are also little bits of art that could be easily overlooked, not because the authors aren't known, but because they are aimed at second and third graders.

Often, adult readers will hand these books to their kids, without reading them themselves, thereby missing some of the most touching, best written pieces of the book arts!  Some of the best books written are written for this age. Authors of this level of book must be extraordinarily selective with the words they use, nestling each to the next carefully, that the language is often  richer and more nuanced than books for older readers.  Just try to write something interesting for an eight year-old without bludgeoning them with words!  It takes a master of language to choose the exact words to convey an idea that is new to a new reader, without expanding the page number, making the font size smaller, or making it all too cute.  The best books for this age include exquisite writing tangled with realistic memories of discovering just how big the world is at the very moment the (often very small) child realizes his place in it, and then giving the story an engaging, realistic reason for reading.  (These books are in alpha order by author.)

The Great Unexpected, by Sharon Creech, is magical in the way only real life can be, filled with serendipity, boys falling out of trees, friends and families connected across time and space. The Great Unexpected is about two girls, best friends and orphans, one practical, one flitty, and the very charming boy they find when he falls out of a tree.  The sudden insertion of Finn, making a trio out of what was once a duet, changes the dynamics of their friendship.  Toss in the machinations of adults (who still act like their childhood selves), a few locked trunks, and the lives of three children are changed forever in this lovely story about growing up.

The back of the book says it's good for ages 8-12.  You have to know your audience for this particular book.  Yes, 8 year olds will be able to read it, but there is an awful lot of reflection about change and desire.  The best age for The Great Unexpected might be 10-12, young enough to still want magic in the world, unworldly enough to only think about what a first kiss might be like, and old enough to want to know more. (HarperCollins.  Available now in hardcover for $16.99, but coming in paperback in September for $6.99.)

Fly Away, by Patricia MacLachan, is a tiny little jewel of a story with great big concepts and problems.  Lucy is the oldest child in a family who can all sing.  Lucy can't sing, her words won't come in song. She longs to be a poet, setting her words loose in the world that way.  When Aunt Frankie's farm is threatened by flood, the whole family goes to help her out.  Aunt Frankie is a very capable woman and unhappy that they've all come - she is sure she can handle the water, the missing porch, the handyman who's attached himself to the house. But when Lucy's little brother, Teddy, goes missing in the storm, Lucy is the only one who can sing him home.

Tears in my eyes for the ending of this one.  No, not just tears, there was a hiccup of a sob going on, too.  I LOVE Lucy.  She is brave and uncomfortable, she keeps good secrets and keeps secrets well, she is a good and giving friend and sister.  One of the main tangents in the book is that Lucy's dad really wanted to be a poet and now raises cows because he could never "write anything better than a cow".  Lucy wants to write him a poem, one day, one that will be as beautiful as a cow.  Make a note of this one, kids, it's really good.  You'll want a stack of this on your shelves.  Ages 7 and up.  McElderry Books.  (Available April, 2014!  $15.99.)

The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes, is one of those perfect books for kids of this age.  Billy Miller is going into second grade after a summer of small trauma.  He fell and hit his head, had a huge bump, and then overheard his parents talking about how that might affect him.  He begins to worry about whether he's going to be smart enough to go to second grade, he was so happy, beforehand, so looking forward to everything.  He's reassured about that but when he gets to that first day of school, everything that can go wrong does.  He's in the wrong seat, does something that might have hurt his teacher's feelings, meets his first bully...not the most stellar of beginnings.  Billy's family is wonderful and real.  His dad is a stay at home dad/artist in a slump and his mom works long hours.  There's a bit of sibling rivalry.  There's tension here but nothing that can't be solved. 

This is such a good look into this time period of a child's life.  Things start changing when you get to second grade.  There's a lot of new information, friendships change, there's an awareness of adult tensions and worry, and it's a time when the child realizes s/he isn't the only one in the world and that their actions matter.  Kevin has a deft way with dealing with the worry and travail of the lives of children.  There isn't anything pat or condescending in how things are resolved, Billy has to solve these problems on his own, sometimes not making the best choices.

I love how normal Kevin's (yes, I call him Kevin because his books make me think I am his friend) families are.  Unlike many books for these ages, there's nothing spectacular that happens, no flying cats or hidden doors (although those are good things, too).  The joy of reading his books is seeing ourselves and our small joys, worries, and successes reflected in the pages.  Greenwillow Books.  (Available September 14, 2013.  $16.99.)

There are other books like these, small books well-written, for the younger reader that are just as appealing to the adults who share them.  What follows are a few you adults might check out when you are in the mood for something you can take to the tub, read and maybe finish at lunch, or are at the bar while waiting for someone. 

Cobble Street Cousins, by Cynthia Rylant:  6 little books about three cousins living with their aunt while their parents are on a ballet tour around the world.  We all know that a lot of kids' books remove the parents in some sort of horrible way, death, jail, some unknown removal.  How nice that these kids will see their parents again!  AND the art work by Wendy Anderson Halperin is perfect for these stories.

Alvin Ho, by Lenore Look, is a funny series about Alvin, a second grader who is scared of EVERYTHING!  Until he gets home where he is a superhero and a gentleman-in-training so he can be like his dad.  Great illustrations by LeUyen PhamThe Ruby Lu books, also by Lenore Look, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, are not quite as popular but I think that's because boys need books at this level more than girls do.  And we know that boys often won't read books about girls...

Frog and Toad, by Arnold Lobel, may seem a little easier, but they are perfect first chapter books.  I love the way the books are set up with chapters and page numbers and enough pages to read to the end of a chapter and to then need a bookmark so you can find where you left off.  How empowering is that for a new reader?  Filled with upsets and problems, Frog and Toad will always be best friends, no matter where there adventures lead them.

Well, that's enough of that.  This is a really long post already - there are just so many good books out there! I hope you enjoy these books, let me know what you think.


(There has been no remuneration for the mention of the books on this blog.)









Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cars, Cars, More Cars and a List


Sunrise was at 5:41, sunset will be at 8:50 pm.  It's cool this morning, and the day should only get to 78 degrees.  We'll see about that.  Sometimes the weather here is notoriously difficult to chase down.  It is clear, though, with big blue skies and a nice little breeze. 

I've not usually been a HUGE  fan of cars; I like the ones I drive, I loved my little blue Chevy Nova, but I am a fan of design and there's something about a car you can live in, like a spare, movable sitting room, that makes me swoon.  Dennis' family and I went to the LeMay Auto Museum in Tacoma on a sweltering Saturday afternoon and spent a wonderful three hours walking along the most ab-fab automobiles ever made.
There were so many exquisite little details on all these cars, cars that ran the gamut from a motor on 4 wheels, a seat and a steering wheel, to limousines that fit entire families, outfitted with radios, talking tubes, clocks, and ASHTRAYS!  Remember ashtrays?  Look how very forward thinking this headpiece is on the front of this car.  It's a little rocket.
There was so much Bakelite, in so many gorgeous colors, clear, opaque, bound by chrome, on the ends of gear shifts, radio faces, ashtrays, exquisite jewels in all that metal.

This is the trunk end of the above car.  I love the echo of above's rocket in the rear lights. There is a metal step near the spare tire in the same rocket shape (and don't you wish the spare tires we carry in our cars now were just as stylish?) to help get into the rumble seat.  The leather seat is the color of pumpkin soup.  Don't you just love the curved, bow shape of the bumper?
The whole shape of this car is gorgeous.  The running board wooden and the front lights are attached to the forward wheel areas.

The hood has a handle on the side next to the lamp, and the door hinges are massive!

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to change the tires?  That whole bottom edge has to be removed.  There is a moon roof and I absolutely love the shape of the windows.  There are no straight lines anywhere!


There's not much I can tell you about the turquoise one except that it's a Ford.  Look at that grill!  I don't know if it did, but wouldn't it be something if it glowed a fiery red as it roared down the road towards you?  The engine was huge and I love the shape of the hood, It would be pretty open as well as closed.  Two seats only, this is a rocket of a car.

It was a real event to spend this time at the museum.  The first car I ever remembered was my mom's Kaiser. No one I know has heard of the Kaiser but there was one on exhibit, right near the front of the first floor. A monster of a car that had a back window big enough for my little brother to sleep in.  And, yes, he did.  The glove compartment transported my fishbowl, with fish and water, to our new home on the Oregon coast when we moved from Eugene.  It was a big enough car to carry three kids, a dog, all our stuff, and our mom.  All my Monkees records made it intact.

Anyway.  If you have an open afternoon, take a drive to Tacoma and spend some time at the LeMay Museum.  There is a wonderful deck that looks out over Tacoma's downtown and waterways and that lovely suspension bridge, and a little cafe if you need a snack.  There are a couple of driving games and a racetrack, too, for those who have the need for speed.

This museum trip would be well accompanied by a box of books with a "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go" theme.  All cars need a book box and this would be a fairly easy one to compile.  The following list is in alphabetical order because all the books are good ones and I wouldn't want any of them to think I liked one over the other (and hey, Moms, look at how many of these are written by women!):



Adventures of Taxi Dog, by Debra and Sam Barracca (LOTS of things to look for in the pictures.)
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, by Richard Scarry
Frank and Ernest on the Road, by Alexandra Day (this is out of print, try your library for it.  F&E take a temporary job driving a truck and must learn Trucker's Language.  A large glossary is included.)
Freight Train, by Donald Crews (I especially like the board book format with the slide apart pages.)
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherry Duskey Rinker
I Stink!, by Kate and Jim McMullan
If I Built a Car, by Chris Van Deusen
Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle
Little Fire Engine, by Lois Lenski
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton
Night Driving, by John Coy
Otis, by Loren Long
Road Builders, by B G Hennessy
School Bus, by Donald Crews
Truck Book, by Henry McNaught
Trucks, Trucks, Trucks, by Peter Sis
Wheels on the Bus, by Paul Zelinsky
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?, by Brianna Caplan Sayles


Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer, Science Fiction, and a Wide Open Day Off

Sunrise was at 5:31(5:40) and sunset will be at 9 (8:51) pm.  (As usual, I get started on a post and get interrupted for a week.  Look at the difference in time in just a week! 18 minutes less daylight in one week.)

This morning is cool and the air feels wet.  The lilacs have a few red leaves already! NOOOOO!  I'm not ready!  Summer just got started!  The air at the downside of the day is hot and a gorgeous shade of yellowy orange, it just feels like summer.  Everyone is in shorts and sandals, walking slowly with bags slung over shoulders.  There are lots of hats.  Getting off the ferry and walking through Pioneer Square in the heat of the day, the scent of summer is redolent of urine, popcorn and beer. Coming through in the morning:  wet, oceany salt air.  Lots of homeless people, local artists, and tourists share the benches and the cobblestones under shading trees in the the park.  It's a beautiful square with a totem pole and a pergola.  Lots of seating and people and a food truck. 

I love reading science fiction in the summer.  I love reading science fiction anytime but especially in the summer- there's something about the heat, the laziness of the day, that makes it easy to imagine the world as it could be, the universe seems so much closer to hand when the twilights are long and the days are hot.  I especially like re-reading my favorites when there isn't anything new to take on:  Dune, by Frank Herbert, Battlefield Earth, by L. Ron Hubbard, Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury, Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.  But, this summer?  There's some good stuff out there:

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown, is the story of a young man, Darrow, who is made the savior of his people, a group of Helium-3 miners living deep under the red dust and rock of Mars. When Darrow's wife, Eo, is executed for showing him a forbidden garden filled with grass and a view of stars, he is recruited to stand for his people against the extraordinarily wealthy elites who rule the planet. 

Lots of action, lots of gore, lots of twists, turns and secrets,  lots of very effective female characters with some pretty amazing skills, Red Rising is a great read for a hot summer day.  I was pages from the end in the eye doctor's office, double dilation, and had to keep reading in the quiet light while my pupils kept enlarging.  I just couldn't not know how the first in this series of three ended before I could see clearly again!  Oh, it was good!

As much as I loved reading this during the summer days of Seattle, it won't be out until FEBRUARY!  2014!  But I had to talk about it now or I will forget how much I enjoyed it.  If you like this kind of thing, put your name down on your local bookstore's list and you'll have such a nice surprise when those horribly slow, dark, gray days of February arrive.

Red Rising would be good for teens, too, maybe 14 and up as there is a good deal of blood and sex (not such graphic sex, but very graphic violence).  If you need comparisons:  Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins,  and The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau, and a little of the movie Total Recall (based on the story "We can Remember It for You Wholesale", by Philip K. Dick). Ballantine Books.  Available February 2014. $25.00.

Speaking of The Testing, by Joanne Charbonneau:  For those who love a dystopian novel, this is a good one for you.  Long after the Seven Stages War leaves the planet mostly wasteland, there are signs of recovery.  The people who survived had to find ways to make the world a place for their children.  Over the many years between the war and now, those who were able collected grass seeds, found water, discovered how to make machines and then how to keep them working, and gradually built small holdings that became towns and then cities filled with crops and barterable goods.  Each little holding may specialize in something particular, like especially adaptable grass seed that could be used for grain. 

Once a year, the best and brightest of the holdings' children are tested, these few will go onto college, onto careers.  Those who are chosen will become the heads of their own places or will be sent out to other townships to help with whatever their particular skills include.  First, though, they have to survive the Testing.

Just before Cai Vale leaves to participate in the choosing, her father tells her to trust no one.  Not even friends from her own town.  The best of the Test may not be the brightest, they may just be the one who survives the Test by any means possible.

The Testing was a good read, I loved the environmental issues that were brought up, I thought the way we get to this position in our future history was well thought out - I kind of wish there were other books than Hunger Games to compare it to, though.   Ages 12 and up.  Houghton Mifflin.  Available now.  $17.99. The sequel, Independent Study, will be available January 7, 2014.

My good friends at Orbit Books (part of the Hachette Books Group) just sent me a small stack of brand new science fiction books- I've dabbled in a couple of them and one in particular seems especially good, although it requires serious attention to details.  I'm looking forward to settling in on the chaise out on the patio with a tall glass of something cool and pale with these:

Ancillary Justice, by  Ann Leckie, science fiction about a woman who was once an intelligent starship, now a frail human bent on revenge.  There are aliens in this one;

Fortune's Pawn, by Rachel Bach, science fiction about an ambitious mercenary who signs on to a ship and a mission that could kill her;


Dance of Cloaks, by David Dalglish, a fantasy about "an underworld reaching for ultimate power";

Parasite, by Mira Grant, a thriller about parasites.




I'll let you know about these as I go along!

(No remuneration was received for these reviews.)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Summer Books for Summer Reading

This is the view from the ferry on the first day of summer.
Sunrise was at 5:15, sunset will be at 9:11. Sunset is 40 seconds earlier than it was a week or so ago.  It is so very  beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest at this time of year.  We have exquisitely long twilights which make me long for walks on the waterfront and for a glass of wine outside.  The skies often look like paintings by Maxfield Parrish.

It's been a little rainy, muggy, and we had our first real summer weather yesterday.  The temperature rose into the 80's and we had to have a glass of beer out in the atrium at the Twilight Exit before going home and grilling up our supper of shucked corn and sausages.

It's supposed to be into the 80's again today, it rained this morning.  I got up EARLY for a Saturday, five am, and drank my coffee standing in the breeze as it came in through the screen doors.  I opened all the windows and the doors and the memory of the cool will be lovely in the warm.

The weeds are thigh high and we've got two tomato plants.  Our hop vine is in distress and I think we can't do hops again.  Heartbreaking to see them grow and then not survive.  The weeds and the strawberry ground cover, however, are healthy and overwhelming everything.  I really want to get out and make the pathway see-able again.  It's kind of just there, a gravel way covered in weeds and volunteers from the yard.

The Crocosmia Lucifer is finally blooming.  I love these plants!  They are so bright and happy and they look like little dragon heads.  My sister gave me buckets of bulbs that she tore out of her yard and they are finally blooming in mine.

Now that it's summer, here are a few great books from the grown-up mystery/suspense shelves:

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews:  A classic modern spy novel very much in the tradition of John Le Carre'. American CIA agent Nathaniel Nash and Russian spy Domenika Egorova are set on each other to bring each to the other side.  Gritty, fast paced, exciting, the tension between Nash and Egorova is explosive.  She is a graduate of the Sparrow School, a school which trains women to become seductresses, and he handles the CIA's most important Russian mole. Mr. Matthews is an ex-CIA agent and Red Sparrow is chock-full of information only someone in the CIA would know.  I spent a lot of time on the porch reading this- it's a book that you'll want to finish in one long sit.  It also has recipes at the end of each chapter for the food eaten in that chapter.  So GOOD!  Available now. (Simon and Schuster.  $26.99.)

Bad Monkey, by Carl Hiaasen:  It wouldn't be summer without a new Carl Hiaasen mystery, now, would it?  Many of the themes in Bad Monkey are the same as in his other books:  quirky side characters, out-of-sorts on-the-skids main characters, and Floridian weirdness, but that's why we love them!  Andrew Yancy is our hero and he is not having a good year.  He's been dropped through the ranks of the police department and is soon to be let go from the County Sheriff's office.  He is now the current Health Inspector for Miami and there is a human arm in his freezer.  Andrew is certain that if he can just prove the arm is in the freezer due to murder rather than shark ravage, he will be allowed to move out of roach and feces infested restaurant checking and back up into the good life that is Florida police work.  The ick-factor in Bad Monkey is pretty thick, but, again, isn't that why we love Carl?  Available now.  (Knopf.  $26.95.)


Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith:  You've all heard the brouhaha about this book, I'm sure.  It turns out that it was actually written by J. K. Rowling under a pseudonym!  A week before the release of this news, I was in the spare bedroom culling books.  I read the backs, see what kind of book they are (I don't often read religious or business books- I think I will, broaden my views, you know, and then they just sit there in an uneven stack) and then sort into give away and REALLY WILL READ, I PROMISE piles.  I found this one in one of those stacks and thought, "Hmm.  I like mysteries, Fred (my brother-in-law) likes mysteries.  If I like it, I'll send it to him."  Not now, Fred!  Sorry. 

Cuckoo's Calling is GREAT!  Funny, well-written, great characters, great landscape writing...It's all there and makes up one of the best books I've read this last few months (booksellers read a lot so please forgive how many books are on the best books list).  Our hero, Cormoran Strike, is a private investigator who gets chosen to re-open the investigation into the suicide of super-model Lula Landry.  Broke, lacking a leg, an ex-soldier, Cormoran is one of those characters you want more of.  He's smart, thoughtful, besieged by demons and a horrible ex-fiancee but not inclined to feel sorry for himself.  When Lula's brother asks him to look into her death, he is quietly thrilled since it means he can pay his rent and his temporary secretary, Robin Ellacott.

The relationship between Robin, who has always wanted to be a private eye, and Cormoran is well-developed and realistic and I hope there will be more books written about these two.  I would love to know how Ms Rowling did her research for this book as there are so many details about sleuthing, soldiering in Afghanistan, high fashion, back streets of London...she must have done a lot of studying and walking. I want more, dammit!   

I truly loved this book, took a few extra minutes on both sides of lunch to read, got to the ferry early, wished I'd started it on a weekend so I could have read it straight through.  I can't wait for someone else to read it so we can talk about it!  Available now.  (Mulholland Books.  $25.99.)

Okay, that's it for now.  More to come.

(I realize that this post was started weeks ago.  I lost all the content of the original reviews and had to redo them.  I just couldn't work up the energy to do that until now.  It's still summer and it's overcast and cold so, it feels as if no time at all has passed.  Hope you've been reading a lot!)





Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer means BOOKS!

Sunrise was at 5:11, sunset will be at 9:11.  Sunrise is early.  And the lightening of the sky? Earlier.  The birds, especially if the flight path is especially low?  Earliest.  I swear they (the birds and the planes) start at 2:30 am in and over our neighborhood.  I wonder if they get confused by the streetlights- Do the trees shake when the planes rumble over?  Who knows.  They are just awake and noisy.

Solstice is tomorrow.  I just checked the sunrise/sunset calendar and it shows that we have 4 extra seconds of daylight today, less than a second tomorrow, and 5 whole SECONDS LESS on Saturday!  Wow!  Not even a day to get used to the idea that winter is on its way.

So, with summer on the doorstep, here are three fun young adult books for those looking for getaway reads.

The Summer of No Regrets, by Katherine Grace Bond (Sourcebooks).  The perfect summer read for younger young adults. There's romance, mystery, and cougar cubs.  What could be better than that?  Brigitta, a secret celebrity blogger (although she's pretty snarky about them), is not having a good year.  She's been dumped, her dad's changed toward her, and she has to spend the summer helping her parents promote their spiritual retreat. When her handsome new neighbor, Luke, is attacked by a cougar, she saves his life and her summer suddenly takes a different turn.  Luke (a dead ringer for bad boy star Trent Yves) and the cougar cubs they find and then care for become her secret from everyone, especially her star-crazed best friend, Natalie.

Brigitta's relationship with Luke is a little rocky-she's not sure if everything he's told her isn't all a lie.  But she likes him, he's funny and caring, and she's tired of being the good and reliable Brigitta of the past.

Summer of No Regrets has plenty of issues to make it a meaty read with a healthy dose of romance and tension, knotty problems with friends and family. It's a good one for ages 12 and up. (Available now, $8.99.)

Perry's Killer Playlist, by Joe Schreiber (Houghton Mifflin).  This is the sequel to Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick and you really NEED to read the first one first.  Hysterically funny, perfect for summer reading.  ARCEC is all about crazy spies and assassinations and fast cars, music and bands and being yanked out of anything at all resembling your normal life.  PKP is what happens later!  Perry has gotten into college, he's on a European tour with his band, and no one's tried to kill him in months.  Unfortunately, Gobi is still in his life.  Showing up in a shower of bullets and screaming tires, the two of them are OFF in a flurry of international murder plots, love and torture. All of that makes for an exciting and funny book.  I love recommending these books to teens who really just want something fun to read, nothing too cerebral.  There is sexual content so ages 13 and older.  (Both books are available now.  $16.99 each.)

The Moon and More, by Sarah Dessen (Viking).  Well, it just isn't summer without a new book by Sarah Dessen and I get so very excited about every single one of them.  There was some discussion at the store about her books, 11 so far, and how alike they all are and could there really be anything new?  My response was YES!  I LOVE her characters, I love that the conflicts are real ones that most girls have to deal with (attempted rape, abuse, family dysfunction, money...).  Her main characters are smart, funny, intense, able.  They study, they aim high, they rely on themselves to get where they want to be.  They are the girls at 17 that WE were at 17:  Bookish teenagers who know the world is so much bigger than the ones we're in and that we are going to take it by storm, so go on and get out of the way.

Okay, so The Moon and More is standard SD fare:  Girl in small town, happy with her boyfriend, the summer before college, when big city boy with big dreams comes and recruits her (Emaline) to work on his documentary film about a reclusive local artist.  A look at how her future could unroll leads to questions about her comfortable feelings about the life she leads now.  Loved it.  This may be the summer I re-read all her books.  (Available now. Ages 12 and up.  $19.99.)

Okay, I hope your summer unfurls in a flurry of paper and words and the time to enjoy them all.  Come on by Eagle Harbor Books (you get to take the FERRY!) and see me!  It's a nice little vacation from the big city.


(No recompense received for reviews.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wild Awake, by Hilary T. Smith

Sunrise was at 5:50, sunset will be at 8:23. (I started this post last Thursday.  Today, a week later, these are the sunrise/sunset times: 5:40, 8:33. 20 minutes more sunlight in just a week!  Amazing.)

Hello, everybody! I hope you've all been well.

I've been busy with a new job, I'm one of the owners of Eagle Harbor Book Company.  I have an amazing, but long-ish commute, and more books to read than I can shake a stick at. Stacks of books hidden under a table in the living room, stacks circle the couch (each stack has a theme: cats, mental illness, superheroes, weather), and there's a room upstairs with shelves and tippy piles full of books I truly do mean to read.  I recently found some pretty furry books under the bed.  I walked around the house looking for a book I was reading, "I know I had it last night!  Are you sure you didn't see it?" and all along it, and the others pushed deeper under the bed when the next one slid to the floor, was under there, keening to be found and rescued.

Mmmm.  It's a warm and fuzzy problem to have.

The other day while I was in the Used Book Annex at the store, a young woman came in and asked if I was the manager and I said, Yes, yes, I was.  She handed me a book and said, "I'm one of your local authors and my book will be coming out soon.  Would you like a copy?"

She handed me a brightly colored book, said it was coming in May from Katherine Tegen Books and she hoped I'd like it.  I thanked her and said that I'd share it with the kids' and teen book buyer when I was done.  She thanked me and left!  Nice woman, and it was really great to get a chance to meet her and not be put on the spot about getting it put in the store.

So.  I sat down and read the first page and found a line that includes "...if Lukas Malcywyck's T-shirt was any redder I would lean over and bite it like an apple".  Can't you picture that?  In that first paragraph she completely lets us into who Kiri Byrd is and where she wants to be:  summer vacation, with Lukas, happy, stoned, and a lust-filled, music lover.  I had to finish two other books, all equally good in very different ways, before I could start Wild Awake, by Hilary T. Smith, and I've been consumed by it, just finished it over toast, peanut butter, and rhubarb jam.

Kiri Byrd is 17 and alone at home for 6 weeks while her parents are on vacation.  She's mostly responsible (well, there is the pot smoking) and studying for a major piano recital that could make or break her future.  One morning she gets a phone call from a man she's never met telling her to come get Sukey's stuff or it will be gone forever when the building she lived in is demolished.  Kiri is shocked. Sukey died 5 years earlier and there is much about Sukey she never knew.

This single moment in Kiri's life divides her life into two different worlds: before Doug's call about Sukey's stuff and after.  An embarrassing event with the boy she loves, the knowledge that no one trusted her with Sukey's secrets, an encounter with a boy who fixes bicycles and who is certain someone is following her, and the increasing stress of preparing for her concert leaves her slipping into episodes of odd and destructive behavior.  She's unable to sleep because of nightmares and starts a little self-medicating which only leaves her more and more disturbed. 

Wild Awake is good.  It's a good look at mental illness from the inside.  Kiri seems to have good reasons and good ideas and, from her point of view, what she does makes perfect sense.  As the reader, the insider to her world, we are witnesses to her spiral and there isn't anything we can do.

I'm looking forward to more from Hilary T. Smith!

(Katherine Tegen Books.  Ages 14 and up.  $17.99.  Available May 2013.)

(No remuneration was received for this.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

NPR and Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now

Hey, Kids!

I just heard that Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now is going to be NPR's next Backseat Book Club selection!  WooHoo!  I know, too many exclamation points, but how exciting is this?  What a great way to share this amazing book with a whole NATION!

Gary has long been one of my favorite authors and Okay for Now is just a brilliant book about friendship and abuse, being lost and being found, and knowing that heroes are made in the simple act of getting out of bed and setting a foot to the ground.  Sometimes, just facing another day like the last one is the bravest thing you can do.

Gary came to the Pacific Northwest in 2011 where we welcomed him to Third Place Books.  He held the adults in the room firmly in the palms of his hands.  Tears were shed, gasps were heard, books were signed.

Then next day, I got to watch him work his magic with school libraries filled with kids, most of whom were familiar with his work, all of whom were mesmerized by his stories.

There are a couple of blog posts with more information about Gary's trip to Seattle here and here if you'd like know more about him and his books.

I am thrilled to be a small part of sharing Gary's books with more people.  I was asked to encourage you all to submit questions for the interview with Gary on NPR's All Things Considered which will air at the end of February.  NPR's website is http://n.pr/US2QSs and you can leave questions or thoughts there.

NPR will be tweeting about Okay for Now between now and the end of February, sharing your favorite moments and quotes from the book at hashtag #OK4NOW.  Okay for Now's Twitter handle is @HMHKids (and NPR's is @NPRBackseat).  The publisher will be offering books for giveaway, the paperback edition is on its way! 

If you haven't read anything by Gary Schmidt, especially The Wednesday Wars and the Okay for Now, please run out to your bookstore or library now and bring one home to read.  Share it with your kids.  You won't be sorry you did and you can be a part of the Gary Schmidt book community!  Hey, this is like being part of a national book read, like the all-city reads so many towns have started.  How cool is it that we can all be a part of a NATIONAL book group!

Okay, get out there and read, people!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Picture Book Love

Sunrise was at 7:27, sunset will be at 5:21.

7:45 am Getting off the ferry on BI with a rare sunrise appearance
It's been lighter earlier in the mornings and lighter longer in the evenings.  I got off the ferry last night at 5:10 or so and, even though it was raining, the sky was brighter.  Don't we just live for these days?  The tips of branches are breaking out in little lumps that will one day be leaves.  My beleaguered daphne plant has tiny little pinknesses on what will eventually be blossoms.  The bulbs are pushing through the mulch and dirt. Lots of  spiky little crocus and meaty tulip leaves appearing out of the dark.

I was in New York City for one full day this week and the first thing I noticed was that the sun was up at 6 am and the windows up higher than my room on the 14th floor were gleaming in the rise.  That's when you really know that Seattle truly is a lot farther north than most of the rest of these United States.  Weird, though, how much colder that part of the continent is even though it's farther south!  Yes, I know it has to do with the Atlantic ocean and the attendant weather associated with it.  Jet streams, gulf streams, the shape of the earth; just something to amuse me when I have nothing else to do.  By the way, Seattle is at 47 degrees latitude, New York is at 40.  I read that each degree of latitude is about 69 miles apart from the other.

Anyway, spring is on its way on this side of the continent and I, for one, am happy to see it come.  As happy as I am to head out of the gray and cold, I have wandered through the picture book shelves that line the wall  behind me and found some winter stories to share with you.  I think one of these books is out of print but they are wonderful books.  Aren't we glad for libraries?

A Winter Place, by Ruth Yaffe Radin, illustrations by Mattie Lou O'Kelley, is a lovely little book about a special place hidden in the hills "beyond the town with the brownstone buildings with fairy tale trimmings" where the kids and parents can skate on a frozen pond until the sun starts to go down.  The illustrations are reminiscent of Grandma Moses but a bit brighter.  Ages 3 and up.  Little Brown.  Out of print.


White Snow, Bright Snow, by Alvin Tresselt, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin.  I love this book.  It's a look at a small town, the farmer, the policeman and his wife, and all the children who wait for the snow to fall.  "Then just when no one was looking, it came".  It's a quiet book filled with the feel of slower time, where when snow falls, children gather to play and everyone stays home to look at the snow-humped cars and rabbit tracks.  I love that the policeman's wife's big toe hurts so she knows that it's going to snow and that she needs to get a cough mixture for the medicine cabinet.  This is definitely a book those of us of a certain age will remember.  Ages 3 and up.  Lothrop (is there still a Lothrop?).  $17.99.  This was a Caldecott winner..

Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr.  One of my favorite books of all time.  A little girl is finally old enough to go out in a full moon of winter to find an owl with her dad.  They walk through the snowy woods silently because, "If you go owling you have be quiet, that's what Pa always says."  She holds in all her words until an owl answers their call and they "watched silently with heat in our mouths, the heat of all those words we had not spoken."  There's something a little brave about this girl being out with her dad in the deep night of a full moon, not talking or complaining about the cold or her short legs hurrying to keep up.  The art is all in white and blue grays, shadow shades, except for the red stripes on the girl's scarf.  Just a wonderful moment in time. Ages 4 and up.  Philomel.  $16.99.  Another Caldecott winner, this one is still in print.

A Perfect Day, by Carin Berger.  I immediately fell for this wonderful look at winter filled with brightly dressed children playing in the snow.  After "It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed" all the children come out to play.  Each child does something a little different:  Emma makes the first tracks, Otto gets lost in a drift, Willa climbed up a hill and then, all together, they made snow angels.  As dusk falls, they go home to hot chocolate and warm hugs, "the perfect end to a perfect day." Exquisite collage paintings on old white-washed ledger pages filled with half-seen words under dome shaped hats and trees, blue gray shadows, and sharp noses, illustrates exactly what a perfect winter day of snow and fun should be.  Ages 4 and up.  Greenwillow Press.  $16.99.  This book is new this year.

Best enjoyed on a cold day, curled up in a window, with a cuppa something to sip while reading.

Enjoy!


(As always, no remuneration was received for mentioning anything in this post.  Please shop at your local bookstore!  Let me know if I can help you do that!)



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Books with Recipes and Food

Sunrise is at 7:55, sunset will be at 4:42. Saturday, January 12, 2013.

Cold, mostly blue sky, low sunlight (both in brightness and height; slanted yellowish light).  Not very pretty out there, today.  Everything is dun and sage, covered in frost but the frost just makes things look dull.  Everything is crunchy but the leaves are all rubbery.  I had to cover the daphne but I despair over its being alive for much longer.  It lost about half of its leaves last year in all the frost and snow and I am hoping the branches that still have leaves will have blossoms.  February is the month in which the pink tips start to show.  I'll cross my fingers, keep the towel over it, and hope for the best!

Does anyone out there in Seattle know what  this is?  This photo was taken on the pedestrian bridge to (and from) the ferry dock.  They are all locks, some are painted, some have initials, hearts, all are  locked, with no attached keys, to the fencing.  It's like a secret language, a story only known to a very few select people.  It's kind of cool and weird.  I'd love to know more but I've never seen anyone put a lock up here, bikes aren't attached to them, and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or a reason. I'll continue to monitor the situation; maybe they come and go with the seasons.

Teachers and librarians often look for books with recipes in them.  It's a good way to teach multiculturalism, science, chemistry.  It's a good way to share character with the reader without having to use narrative. You know, if someone is a little kooky or nutty, they may get a box of cookies laden with almonds or pecans.  There's really great picture book out that takes place in an apartment building and someone on one floor is ill.  Everyone in the building comes by with their own culture's version of chicken soup.  It's a really cool book (if I can remember the title, I'll fill you in) and shows how much more alike we are than different.

There are also some fun books out that feature real recipes and cooking that older readers can follow and share with their friends:  The Bliss Family Series (by Kathryn Littlewood, HarperCollins) features a family with a magical cookery book that brings people together.  The Bliss kids have a nasty aunt who steals the book and leaves the children in a real mess.  I'm sure the third one will be out soon and I can't WAIT!

I just finished reading A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff, a chapter book that features a twirl of relationships and cake recipes.  The story includes a lost suitcase and a slip of paper, a man who often seems like the white ball in a pool game, sending each character careening off into the next, and a little girl, an orphan who is able to match the perfect cake to the people she loves.  This is a book about loss and discovery, hope and desire, wishes and finding your heart's desire.  With cake.  It's a sweet thing, with lovely characters who are all looking for a home of one sort or another.  And did I say there's cake? Philomel.  $16.99.  Available in February.

More chapter books about cooking or with recipes:  Pie, by Sarah Weeks; Close to Home, by Joan BauerDumpling Days, by Grace Lin; It's Raining Cupcakes, by Lisa Schroeder.  This would be a fun list.  I'll keep adding to it as I come across more titles.  I'll do a picture book list, too- Thunder Cake, Everyone Eats Bread, Chicken Soup and Rice....


Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10: Snow? No.

Sunrise wast at 7:56, sunset will be at 4:39.

The mornings are so much darker than they were; is it the cloud cover or what?  There may be more light, but it's gotta be at the other end of the day, the night end.  It's cold out, today, not rainy, yet, but cold.  There are little birds hanging upside down from the moss on the trees, picking at whatever seeds have lodged there. 

This is a video of the trip across the sound the other day, I think it was last Sunday when I went into work later than usual so there's daylight with which to see the ups and downs of the waves.  It's taken from inside so you may see my reflection in the window, the lights behind me, and the bird poop on the window (which I didn't see until I reviewed the video).  West Seattle is in the frame (to the left) and then Vashon Island and Blake Island off to the right.

In all the years of living on the Oregon coast, I don't think I was actually ever on a boat, in the water.  Once when I was really little I was on a fishing boat with my grandpa.  Weird.  All that water everywhere and I've only recently been on top of it.  And now I have a very vague idea as to why people become fishermen or ferryboat captains.  A couple of nights ago we were hit by crosswaves that let the ferry down in a hurry and everyone said, "OOH!"  and then laughed.  A little nervously.  It's an exciting trip every single time, always something new to see.  I'll post photos and videos of what I see on these trips.

One more grown up book:  Love Water Memory, by Jennie Shortridge, was a wonderful story about a woman who's lost her memory due to something traumatic in her life.  She ends up in San Francisco, but she was from Seattle.  When her husband finds her, they realize that she has no idea who he is or what their relationship was like.  As she gets to know him, sleeping in the guest room, wearing things she would have never previously chosen, they both question how they got to this point.  What caused this traumatic break in her reality?  It was a good story well told, it left me happy and glowy.  Definitely worth picking up and spending some time with.  Loved it.  Gallery Books.  $26.00.  Available April 2013.

Now, for a recent young adult novel:  If You Find Me, by Emily Murdoch.  I don't know where I actually got this book.  It looks like a St. Martin's adult title but it could be YA.  It's a difficult book to read, the children in it were not treated well nor were they safe, but the story and the characters are perfect for an older young adult audience (as well as for an adult one).  Carey and her little sister live in a run-down camper in the middle of a national park, well off the grid and path of anyone except for those who are looking to do harm. 

Carey and Jenessa have been living in this camper for many years, their mother an addict and alcoholic, a woman who uses the children in trade for drugs.  Carey has been Jenessa's caregiver and keeper since her birth, making sure her teeth are brushed and that she knows how to read and write.  Carey has inherited her mother's skill at playing the violin, and, luckily, very little else.  When they hear voices in the woods calling their names, Carey grabs the shotgun and sends her sister into the camper to hide.  Carey's father and a social worker have found the girls and have arrived to take them home, to a new family, and to society.

What an amazing adventure story this was!  Carey knows how to negotiate the woods and the wilds, she feels an immense affinity for the only home she remembers, but she has a need to make sure that Jenessa stays safe and has a real home to live in.  Jenessa has a slightly easier time of fitting in to this new world of warmth and food other than beans; Carey is a sophomore, dropped into a middle school full of all things middle school, with a step-sister who resents her, and a new friend who remembers her from the past.  A different kind of wilderness where the dangers are unknown.

Really well-written, compelling, I absolutely could not put it down.  I loved the characters, especially Ryan, Carey's rediscovered old friend.  I especially liked the very matter-of-fact way Carey approaches her worlds and their collisions.  It's a good thing she had something to hold onto, a reason for staying safe.  Definitely older young adults, maybe 14 or so, just for the brutality.  St. Martin's Press.  $9.99.  April, 2013.