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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Flashback July 2010

As a brief reminder, I’m flashing back to reviews from years past. Here is what I was reviewing in July 2010, both at my original blog and here at SLJ:

Nibbles: A Green Tale Flashback July 2010 by Charlotte Middleton. Marshall Cavendish. 2010. My review: “A guinea pig saves the day, I mean the dandelion! Nibbles goes to the library, reads up on dandelion care, and then spreads the dandelion seeds around town to restart the dandelions. Nibbles explains to young children about limited resources and how to care for them. Nibbles doesn’t give up eating dandelions; he just recognizes that replacements must be grown to balance all that are eaten.”

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.  Scholastic Press. 2010. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series; Linger is a sequel to Shiver. My review: “Stiefvater continues to slowly reveal the world of human-wolves. What makes someone transition into a wolf? Why do some have years before their wolf-selves become permanent? Why would someone voluntarily give up their humanity to become one? Why do some people who get bit live, why do some become wolves, why do some die?”

Stranded by J.T. Dutton. HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins. 2010. My review: “Kelly Louise tells this story; and her voice makes this fresh and different; she’s funny and amusing, self-centered and a drama queen, and, like Lola from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Alice from Alice, I Think, you’re going to alternate between cringing, laughing, and loving Kelly Louise. She’s a riot; at times delusional, as she convinces herself that her big-city ways (high heeled boots and beret) will make all the the boys think “hot new girl at school!” Instead, they look at her and think “strange girl.” Here is Kelly Louise talking about a conversation with her mother: “I asked questions about Mom’s happy golden teenagehood. Sometimes you have to bolster a single parent by taking an interest in what they seem to want to go on about.”

Folly by Marthe Jocelyn. Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Books. 2010. My review: “Mary meets Caden in 1877. In 1884, James, abandoned as an infant six years before, arrives at the foundling home. Do I have to connect the dots for you, to explicitly state the connection between these two very different people? So yes, we suspect what is in Mary’s future, even as we hope it isn’t true. It is, and it isn’t; Mary encounters those who are good and those who are selfish and those who are simply immature.”

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins. Charlesbridge. 2010. My review: “The first half of the book is told from Chiko’s point of view; the second, from Tu Reh. First we meet Chiko, a lover of books and learning, an only child raised in the city, the son of a doctor. He isn’t spoiled, but he is protected and safe and limited in his worldview. Upon hearing someone else in town speak, he thinks “their street accent grates on my ears.” With this quick phrase, Perkins reveals Chiko’s isolation and prejudices. Chiko is about to encounter much worse than accents. Army training is brutal; the captain bullies the handful of teenage boys who, like, Chiko, were grabbed off the streets. Fighting and physical punishments are the norm. Tai, the street urchin whose accent so bothered Chiko, becomes Chiko’s friend, helping him learn how to take a beating without getting hurt. In return, Chiko teaches Tai to read and write. Chiko — whose knowledge of courage came from books — learns what true courage and loyalty is when he has an opportunity to save himself from army life. Should he take it? Can he abandon Tai?”

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund. HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins. 2009. My review: “Astrid and her fellow unicorn hunters (all female) are fast and strong when they are hunting and fighting unicorns. When a girl isn’t hunting a unicorn? No super powers. So unless there is a unicorn waiting at the end of the track, a unicorn hunter is not also going to be super human at sports. Not just anyone can be a unicorn hunter; one is born to it, like Astrid and her cousin, Philippa. Only women can be hunters. In addition to the super-skills, a hunter can sense a unicorn and a unicorn can sense a hunter. That explains why Astrid and her boyfriend were attacked: the unicorn sensed her. Rampant raises questions of destiny and duty versus choice.”

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

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