I'm super excited to have a blog where you can read my opinions and recommendations for books. Tell me what you think! You can leave comments here, or email me at rtierney@bostonma.gov. Either way, I'll respond back to you soon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Caletti Comes Through

You know how there are some books you read that change your life? Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti was one of those books for me. When I was in Graduate School for Library Science, I figured that I would become either a Science Librarian or a Children's Librarian. I loved, loved, loved Children's Literature. But, life is funny like that. Long story short, I ended up working as a High School Librarian, and one of the first young adult books I remember reading was Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Caletti. I adored it. I felt like I had discovered a whole new world. I know, that sounds all dramatic and cheesey, but it's true. And so my love affair with YA Lit was born.

Since then, I have found other authors and books, but I never forgot Deb Caletti. Stay was published this past Spring, and I finally got around to reading it. My verdict? Excellent! Stay examines a relationship gone bad due to obsession, and addresses some very serious situations and issues. The main character, Clara is portrayed in an extremely realistic fashion, flaws and all. I like that Caletti does not try to give this book a neat, tidy ending, nor does she try to make her characters perfect. If anyone has ever questioned a bad relationship they find themselves in, this book could be an invaluable read.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Little but...

...packs a powerful punch. This is how I feel about two books I recently read; Dorp Dead by Julia Cunningham and Kat's Fall by Shelley Hrdlitschka. I found both books on the shelf by chance, as I was shelving other books and they caught my eye. Dorp Dead almost reads like a fable, but has an eerie undertone. Here is a product description that I pulled off amazon.com;

"A reissue of the novel that dramatically changed children’s literature in the 20th century. Julia Cunningham’s ground-breaking novel, first published in 1965 and unavailable in any edition for a decade, is reissued for a whole new generation of readers to call their own. “Here . . . is the story of a boy who discovers himself, who basically comes to grips with that most contemporary of problems, the isolation of the individual. It is told within the near-classic framework of the story of the orphan who survives and escapes maltreatment to find love, but it is told in frank, literate terms in the lingo of today’s youngsters. And it has, as an additional dimension, a touch of the Gothic tale, a tinge of terror and a shade of romanticism.” (The New York Herald Tribune)

Well...needless to say, between the cover, the shortness of the book and that description, I couldn't wait to read this book. Overall? I would recommend this title. It is written with honesty and intelligence, and it's nice to read a book that does not talk down to the young adult audience. It also gives you that creepy feeling, which is perfect for this time of year!

Then there was Kat's Fall. This book? So much going on. This is a must read if you are one of those readers that likes "drama" and realistic fiction. I couldn't believe how many issues and emotions the main character Darcy (a boy!) was dealing with. It's impressive that Hrdlitschka packs all this into such a small book with a decent conclusion to boot! I will caution that this book does deal with some very serious issues including cutting, child abuse and addiction.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Picture Perfect

A novel of Historical Fiction? A Ghost Story? A Romance? This book is another entry in the cross-genre category. Picture the Dead is a novel by Adele Griffin and illustrated by Lisa Brown, set primarily in Boston during the Civil War. The main character Jennie has just suffered the loss of her fiancee Will to the war, and is living a miserable existence with his family, who are also her Aunt and Uncle and serve as her guardians. The one bright spot is Will's brother Quinn who has come back from the war injured, and is slowly recovering. Jennie becomes convinced that the ghost of Will is haunting her, and becomes involved with a photographer who claims to capture images from the Spirit World. What follows is as much of a mystery as it is a ghost story as Jennie struggles to understand who she can trust and what really happened to Will and Quinn. I wouldn't say that I disliked this book, but I didn't love it. It was OK. Jennie has an odd habit of kleptomania that is never really explained, and made me like her a little less as a person. At times it was hard to empathize with her, but I kept trying. This might be a good book to read for this month, if you're looking for a  little spookiness with some history thrown in for good measure.