Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer

This is a book that is not for little kids! The punishments that Dave suffers, and eventually survives, is impossible to even imagine...a young kid experiencing severe abuse. I couldn't get through reading the book without crying. Dave wrote this book for his anger mangement classes to deal with all the anger that he held for his mother. I love this story because it really grabded my attention with all the drama that happens in it. I couldn't put the book down! I rate this true story a five out of five stars.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Converting Kate" by Beckie Weinheimer

Kate, newly relocated with her mom to Maine, was raised in Arizona within the strict guidelines of her mother's very conservative church. Now, though, a year after her father's unexpected death, Kate is in the process of questioning everything about her religious unbringing: the extremely modest clothing, the banning of all but church-approved reading material, and the constant proselytizing of church non-members. Instead, Kate joins the school cross-country team, makes a variety of friends, reads books that had been banned to her, and even starts attending the youth group run by the town's new liberal minister. Subsequently, Kate finds herself in an almost constant battle with her mother.

Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Kate finds in each new relationship, book, and experience a way to reform her beliefs and her way of thinking. Contrasting the lush greenery of Maine with the arid desert of Arizona, Kate emerges into a whole new world, inside and out.

Kate's search for her own moral compass is one with which most young adults can identify. Teens are naturals at questioning the rules and guidelines that adults can sometimes take for granted. Personally, I've always been fascinated with the psychology of how people form their beliefs, so "Converting Kate" was an especially good read for me. I admired Kate's strength in her struggle to question beliefs that were not personally valid for her.

Author Beckie Weinheimer was forty when she broke away from the church community that, from the time of her childhood, "dictated what I thought, drank, wore, read, and saw." In writing about a teen going through the same process, Weinheimer was successfully able to capture the emotions she must have had as a grown woman going through the same process making Kate's story very believable. You can read more about the author at her website:

I'd rate this novel FOUR and a HALF out of FIVE stars.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

"Shakespeare's Secret," by Elise Broach

Hero and her family move to a city outside of Washington. Their house has an interesting story behind it. A robbery, without an explanation had occurred there, and a piece of jewelry is involved. Hero's neighbor had been a prime suspect into the case. She had been the first wife of the man that owned Hero's house. Unfortunately she wanted to solve the case, but had had only one clue, which was a quote for one of Shakespeare's plays. Hero, and a friend go on a perilous adventure to solve the mystery of the missing diamond. Will Hero and her friend find the diamond? Is there a connection to her friend and the neighbor? Read this adventure fiction book to find out if the diamond is found, and what relationship there is between the neighbor and friend.

Rated Five out of Five stars.

"Chenango County: A Look Back"

Within this non-fiction book, you can found out a little about the history of Chenango County, and the cities, towns, and villages within it. You can found out a little about towns that were renamed or have long since been forgotten. This book shout be on anyone's list if they want to learn about local history.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.