Contact PMSDirections to PMSSite Map

pmslibrary@piedmont.k12.ca.us Subscribe to my updates

Archive for May, 2009

Wintergirls

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Wintergirlsby Laurie Halse Anderson, p. 278 – Grades 8 & Up

This novel, for mature readers, tells the story of Lia who has just found out about the death of her once best friend, Cassie. While they were friends, both girls suffered from eating disorders: Lia- anorexia and Cassie- bulimia. On the night of Cassie’s death, Lia received 33 phone calls and messages from Cassie… all of which Lia had left unanswered. Lia’s family (too busy mother, distant father and clueless stepmother) are concerned that the news will send Lia over the edge again and back to New Seasons the rehabilitation center she has already visited twice.

Connection:  For another story that shows a teen dealing with the death of another teen read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

Freefall

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

freefallby Anna Levine, p. 250 – Grades 8 & Up

As Israel and Lebanon engage in battle, eighteen year-old Aggie is simultaneously preparing for high school graduation and her two year, compulsory service in the Israeli army.  Thoughts of kisses and crushes compete with concerns over inadequacies.  She thinks she wants to be a member of the elite, women’s combat unit rather than be stuck in a desk job, but members of her family are making her question her capabilities.  Her best friend’s older brother, Noah (a combat soldier) is showing particular interest in her trials at the physically and mentally challenging boot camp.  Aggie gets a taste of the front line when she goes north to help one of her buddies from boot camp.

Connection:  Another love story with war as the backdrop (in this case the Civil War) is Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells.

The Hunger Games

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

the-hunger-games1by Suzanne Collins, p. 374 – Grades 7 & Up

In this book, for mature readers, what was once the United States is destroyed by climate change and war and is replaced by Panem with its wealthy rulers in the Capitol controlling twelve neighboring districts.  Each year the districts must pay tribute to the Capitol by sending two of their teens (12-18) to fight to the death in the Hunger Games, which is televised and must be watched by everyone (think Survivor with weapons and a manipulated environment).  Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her younger sister as the tribute from District 12 (the poorest district) when her sister’s name is pulled in the lottery for the 74th Hunger Games.  Since her father’s death in a mining accident, Katniss has had to work hard so she and her family could survive, but in the Hunger Games she will be facing tributes who have spent their lives training for this event.

Connection:  Other examples of survival fiction that will keep the reader on edge are  Deathwatch by Robb White and The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  –CRW

Highlight:  Watch this video interview with Suzanne Collins.

Rules

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Rulesby Cynthia Lord, p. 200 – Grades 4-7

Twelve-year-old Catherine’s brother (David) has autism and regularly does things that embarrass her, so she creates more and more rules for him to live by.  She also fiercely defends David from bullies like Ryan who lives on their street.  During the summer Catherine goes to her brother’s speech therapy appointments and meets Jason, a boy with cerebral palsy who uses a book of words and pictures to communicate.  Catherine’s friendship with Jason grows as she adds new (hip) words and pictures to his book.  A new girl, Kristi, moves in next-door, opening up the possibility of a new special friendship, but Catherine is not sure whether or not to trust her new friend when Kristi shows an interest in the bully, Ryan.

Connection:  The main character in Gennifer Choldenko’s novel Al Capone Does My Shirts also has a sibling with autism. — CRW

Graceling

Monday, May 4th, 2009

graceling__spanby Kristin Cashore, p. 471 – Grades 8 & Up

CYRM NOMINEE 2011

This  award winning first novel by Kristin Cashore will have mature readers begging for a sequel.  The king of Middluns first identified Lady Katsa’s “grace” when she killed a man at age 8, and he has been using her special talent to keep the people of his kingdom and the surrounding six kingdoms in line ever since.  Lady Katsa rebels against the bullying king by secretly forming a council to protect those who have been treated unfairly throughout the seven kingdoms.  The rescue of a neighboring king’s kidnapped father leads Katsa on a quest to find his captor, with the help of his grandson, who has an interesting “grace” of his own.

Connection:  This book might appeal to those who enjoyed the combination of fantasy and romance in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books or the strong female protagonist in Garth Nix’s Sabriel series.  — CRW

Snow Falling in Spring

Monday, May 4th, 2009

snow falling in springby Moying Li, p. 176 – Grades 6-9

At the start of her autobiography, Moying Li is living happily in Beijing with her well-educated, extended family in a large house surrounding an open courtyard.  During the transformation of the Great Leap Forward the courtyard contains a huge brick furnace and family and friends work endlessly to melt down scrap metal to produce steel.  The Cultural Revolution bring changes that the author first tries to embrace then needs to protect herself from.  The Red Guards attack her teachers, send her mother to the countryside to teach,  take her father off to a labor camp and destroy his library.  Throughout the book, Moying Li’s dedication to her family, friends and education is never compromised.

Connection:  For further reading on this time period in China’s history, read the memoir, The Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang or the fiction title, Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine.  –CRW