Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sweethearts--Sara Zarr

Title: Sweethearts
Author: Sara Zarr
Pages: 217 p
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
ISBN: 0316014559

I was lucky enough to get this title as an ARC. I read it in ONE DAY.

Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick are both outcasts in their elementary school and naturally bond with one another. They are best friends and understand each other like no one else does. And then one day Cameron disappears. Devastated and heartbroken Jennifer morphs into Jenna--a popular, friendly, pretty girl who is the exact opposite of Jennifer--and moves to a new school leaving her past behind. Until the day Cameron Quick reappears in her life.

This is a wonderful poignant story about friendship, love and loss. There are some deep issues in this book--the story of emotional abuse that Cameron endures at the hands of his sadistic cruel father is the most important one. There are mentions of sex but nothing is ever fully described. I would recommend it for junior high and up.

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Beige--Cecil Castellucci

Title: Beige
Author: Cecil Castelluci
Pages: 307
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763630669

Katy lives in Canada with her mom and has had very little contact with her American rock star father until her mom needs to go on an archeology dig without her. The only person who can take care of Katy for those 2 weeks turns out to be the Dad she never knew. Two weeks turn into the whole summer as her mom gets more and more interested in the dig and Katy feels more and more left behind until she snaps and realizes she has a lot more in common with her musical father than she thought.

There's a lot in this book and that summary doesn't even do it justice--father/daughter issues; mother/daughter issues; friendship; self-esteem; drugs. There are loads of issues but it doesn't feel overwhelming or preachy. Although the issues are serious, it's a fun read. Katy is a likeable character even when she's not being so likeable. Katy's Dad, "the Rat", tries so hard to be a good dad and make up for lost time. He's funny and charming and a really good guy but it takes Katy the whole summer to figure it out. Beige is a quick read and well-worth it!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dramarama--E. Lockhart

Title: Dramarama
Author: E. Lockhart
Pages: 311 p.
Publisher: Hyperion
ISBN: 9780786838158

Sarah is somewhat of an outcast at school until she auditions for a summer program at a musical theater school and decides to reinvent herself as Sadye. She meets Demi, a black gay boy, at the audition and they instantly become best friends. They both get in the program and look forward to having a wonderful summer making it "big." But when Demi is more successful and talented than Sadye turns out to be, their friendship is put to the test.

I have no experience with musical theater and I'm not a big fan of musicals and Broadway and all that jazz and I LOVED this book. Even though Sadye does whine a bit at times, I still liked her character and I wanted her to succeed. I liked her unorthodox friendship with Demi and how Lockhart was not afraid to talk about both the racial and homosexual issues between them. It was a nice satisfying read and well worth having had to stay up late to finish reading it when I have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to take care of children.

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