Wear the Old Coat and Buy the New Book
By Christina, age 16, Louisiana
As everyone knows, summer is slowly creeping its way about, twisting and pulling gently until you finally decide to give in to the heat. In most cases, I suppose, summer is a time to rejoice - no school, no alarms, no cold. It's a time when swimming pools and water parks are frequented, as well as barbeques, malls and the ever popular beach, a time when air conditioners kick on and tanning becomes the national goal. A time when inevitably you get ... bored.
Boredom is that little bug which bites us all. No matter who you are its nasty teeth and venom will most likely bite you. One of the most guaranteed repellents I know (unfortunately, not money back guaranteed) is simply what people call "a good novel".
As a frequent reader and a fan of many genres, I have taken the liberty of conjuring up a list. I have tried my best to offer more than one genre of fiction here, but lately it seems I have taken interest in nothing but historical fiction. Therefore I have asked a few friends for a favor.
Tamar by Mal Peet
In the terrible "Hunger Winter" of 1944, two undercover operatives parachute into Nazi-occupied Holland. They are spies for the allied forces, sent to provide support for the Dutch resistance movement.Personal Review by Christina:
As my most recent read, Peet's Tamar is by far one of the best fictional pieces concerning the horrors of the Second World War. Set in both Holland in 1944-1945 and England in 1995, the story hip-hops from one narrative to another, and at times may not make much sense. This book is one which will make you think. It will rattle your mind because, just like fifteen year old Tamar, you will become desperate for answers. A page turner till the end, Mal Peet brings you through a mind-boggling and heart-wrenching journey of "vengeance, resistance, love, deception, loyalty, and betrayal", all to lead you into a satisfying end.Excerpt:
"I understand that," she said. But she was thinking, stop this. Please stop this, because I am going to have your baby. Let's talk about that, instead.
Then he did look at her, and she flinched.
"Do you?" he said. "Well, I'm glad you do, because I damn well don't. All this shit, this year-in, year-out bloody nightmare, is about difference, isn't it? We tell ourselves we're different from them. That we're not like the Nazis. But this morning, I watched while they murdered a hundred and sixteen people. So I wanted to kill them. The sickness in those men, those Germans? It's in me too."
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
No book summaries.Personal Review by Morgan:
Blue Bloods is a miraculous novel of New York City families and their dangerous secrets. Blue Bloods is a look into fantasy mixed with reality. It has characters you can relate to. This novel written by Melissa de la Cruz is a must read over your summer break. The first installment of this series, Blue Bloods, is an insightful look into a young growing girl's life, fifteen year old Schuyler Van Alen to be exact.
Though the first novel is good, the second is even better. Masquerade is a thrilling adventure in which we find out many shocking secrets about the blue blood vampires.Excerpt from Masquerade:
Who was she, Schuyler Van Alen, not even a pure-blood vampire, to come between them?
"How do you know he's not interested?" he asked in a serious tone.
"I just do."
"You might be surprised." Schuyler realized that the boy was standing closer to her as he spoke. His eyes behind the mask - she could detect a hint of green. Her heart skipped a beat. The boy moved closer.
"Surprise me," Schuyler whispered.
To find out more you must read both installments in this series. High praises for the Blue Bloods novels.
Tending to Grace by Kimberly Newton Fusco
No book summary.Personal Review by Christina:
Similar in format to What My Mother Doesn't Know (featured below), this novel is a heartfelt quick read. I personally enjoyed it mostly because I connected with it - I felt as if Cornelia Thornhill was a part of me that somehow escaped onto paper. From the main character's speech issue to her reading addiction, Fusco's writing style is just as beautiful as her story, and moreover, just as enjoyable to read. Picking the book out in the library, I took a chance, and I am thoroughly grateful because if I hadn't, the book would still be alone on the shelf, and I wouldn't have had such an opportunity to love it.Excerpt:
I know I'm a candle when I'm with Agatha now because sometimes the flame inside of me burns higher and the wax that covers me starts to melt and drip and I'm softer and lighter and I want to dance through the fields and feel the grass rub against my bare ankles.
But on other days, the days when we slam doors and scream and build fences, the flame dies out and the wax hardens, and I close up, covered by wax again, like chocolate crackle on an ice cream cone.
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
My name is Sophie
This book is about me
The heart-stopping riveting story
Of my first love.
And also my second
And, okay, my third love too.
It's not that I'm boy crazy.
It's just that even though
I'm almost fifteen
And my body
And my heart
Just don't seem to be able to agree
Still in a relationship, Sophie suddenly finds herself being drawn to the most impossible boy in the whole school ... not because he is too good for her, but because she is too good for him. She is scared of what her friends would say - better, the rest of the school - if anyone knew about it. In the end she realizes that she really doesn't care about the rest of the school.
I slink into the cafeteria
And scan the multitudes.
It only takes me a second to find Robin,
Sitting alone at a table by the window.
He doesn't see me.
But Rachel and Grace do.
They wave me over.
I force a smile and wave back.
But I stay where I am.
Rachel calls out my name.
Robin looks up and sees me.
But only with his eyes.
In the entire cafeteria
Looking at me?
Or is it just my imagination?
I try to lift my feet
But they feel like they've been
Nailed down to the linoleum.
My body's getting ready to fly apart.
I want to scream.
I want to run away.
I want to-
No! I don't.
I race over to Robin,
Sit across from him
And take hold of his hands.
Robin's smiling with more than his eyes now.
He's smiling through and through.
And I am too.
Because everything's going to be all right.
Sometimes I just know things.
Though I'm spotlighting only five books, I hope you've discovered at least one that catches your interest. I'd like to thank both Heather and Morgan for lending a hand.
As Christopher Morley once said, "There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love."