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Archive for January, 2019

Zebra Forest

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

download-2by Adina Rishe Gewirtz, 200 pages, Grades 6 and up

Annie lives on the edge of the forest with her little brother Rew and her Gran. They live a pretty quiet life, but it is not easy because Rew and Annie’s grandma is not really able to take care of them. They don’t complain, though, because they want to stay together and while the house might not be super tidy and their meals might sometimes be thrown together, they are managing. One thing that brings them joy is the beautiful forest next to their house; it was always a peaceful place until the scary man tumbled out of it and ran into their house. The man had escaped from prison and run through the woods; he decided to hold them hostage and wait out the police search of the area. Something is fishy about the way Gran reacted to this man in their house bossing them around; is she just older and more confused than they realize or is this man someone she knows?

If you enjoy reading books that include family mysteries you might also like: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor, Trell, by Dick Lehr, or Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine.

 

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

download-1by Dana L. Davis, 332 pages, Grades 8 and up

Tiffany Sly and her mom were doing fine. They lived in an apartment in the city, Tiffany had friends at school and her mom worked hard to take care of her, but then her mom got sick and things got hard. Before her mom died she told Tiffany not to worry, she would not be alone when her mom was gone; she would go to live with her bio-dad in the suburbs. Tiffany hardly knows her dad; he has another whole family – white wife, and 4 biracial daughters one exactly her age!

When she moves the whole experience is surreal: the suburbs feel isolating – no public transportation, the house feels hectic – so many siblings and at the same time restricting – the family is very religious and there are a lot of rules, and the private school is completely different than her old school – like a movie set or something and almost zero Black kids. To complicate things further, another man contacted her right before the move claiming to be her real biological father. Tiffany can’t help hoping that he might be her real dad because that life would be a lot for familiar than this Twilight Zone where she is right now.

If you enjoy stories about complicated family situations and step-siblings you might also like: Far From the Tree, by Robin Benway, Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor, or The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, by Brenda Woods.

Second Life of Ava Rivers

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

downloadby Faith Gardner, 361 pages, Grades 8 and up

When the twins were just 5 Vera’s sister, Ava, went missing. It was a terrible, tragic event, but what’s worse is that it continues to be a mystery to this day. Vera’s entire life has been spent beneath the specter of her sister’s disappearance. Every holiday – especially Halloween because that is the day Ava was lost – every birthday, every day the whole family feels the loss of their baby girl. Vera’s family is forever changed; her brother struggled with drug abuse and now hardly comes home, her dad spends most of his days in the basement pouring over documents that might help him uncover some clue, her mom is always as some PR function to talk about missing children, and plead for the return of Vera’s twin. Her whole life has been overshadowed by this tragedy, so it is not wonder she is looking forward to college where she can start over and create a life of her own around people who know nothing about the missing twin, but then the police call the house. They have found a teenage girl – alive!

If you like creepy mysteries you might also like: The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando, Break My Heart 1,000 Times, by Daniel Waters, or The Darkhouse, by Barbara Redecki.