Posted by: Katie B | June 21, 2013

Batch #4: More from the VCFA Faculty

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The awesome, diverse list of great reads from the VCFA faculty continues.  My latest conquests, which I’d recommend without a doubt:

The Secret Life of Owen Skye by Alan Cumyn.  Middle Grade.  Despite the fact that this book was written for a 10-year-old boy, this not-quite-ten-year-old writer was caught howling at not just one – or two – but many a scene.  Humor, adventure, mystery, and intrigue:  this book has it all.  Just good, plain, innocent fun.  I’d highly recommend it to any middle grade reader.

Losing It by Alan Cumyn. Adult Fiction. I chose this book because the different points of view caught my interest, even though the novel isn’t technically a children’s book – and therefore not a strict part of my reading curriculum.  It didn’t disappoint, although the disconcerting part to me personally was my natural tendency to relate to the aging woman with the onset of Alzheimer’s – more so than the character closer to my true age.

Ask The Passengers by A.S. King. Young Adult. This is a top-pick, hands down.  Dealing, once again, with issues never discussed when I was a teen, the main character struggles with her sexuality, her identity, and her sense of place in the world. The book reinforces the idea that life, and big life decisions, mostly dwell in the gray, undefined zone. Our best chance at resolution is to follow our hearts and hope that our sense of self can guide us along.

Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King.  Young Adult.  This book is originality-plus while dealing with a sensitive topic that has become very common in today’s vocabulary: bullying. While weaving the tale of a broken family’s hunt for their MIA-POW grandfather into the horrific circumstances of a bullied teen, the author keeps the subject matter fresh and infuses an element of suspended-disbelief. Definitely a book for the mature reader.

Like Sisters on the Homefront by Rita Williams – Garcia. Young Adult. I really like this book.  It’s for the more mature YA audience, those who are ready to read about teen pregnancy and sex.  But the voice, the characters, and the way the story of “redemption” is told had me hooked the whole way through.

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia. Young Adult. You don’t realize that this book is opening your eyes to the problem of teen violence in the school system until the very last chapter. It subtly builds the story of the contributors to the problem (victim, aggressor, and enabler) without you realizing the full direction the story is taking. When it does, you have a definite ah-ha moment.

No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia. Upper Middle Grade – Young Adult. I believe this book was written for middle grade, but the subject matter is so sensitive, it might not be suitable for all readers. The topic is Female Circumcision, an issue which I firmly believe should be discussed, in order that it be abolished.  But while the author handles the situation gently, it is still very hard to read about.

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