Tag Archives: illness

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, Review

30 Nov

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Plot: 13-year-old Steven’s life is interrupted suddenly when his 5-year-old brother Jeffrey is diagnosed with cancer. Steven’s life changes at home and at school as he deals with his brother’s illness, his parents’ reaction to it, and the emotional and financial repercussions the family must face because of Jeffrey’s diagnosis. Sonnenblick’s writing is simple, but he understands young teens and perfectly captures Steven’s struggle with his own coming of age story while dealing with a family tragedy. This book is an excellent example of how illness affects everyone in a family, and would serve as an excellent resource for teens who are going through a difficult time (or any sort) with their family. I am interested in reading more of Sonnenblick’s writings, particularly the follow-up book to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, which follows Jeffery’s story several years after his initial diagnosis.

Would you recommend this book? Yes.

4 stars



Extraordinary Means, Review

16 Nov

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Plot: This book is set in modern-day times, however the world is afflicted with a form of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Lane suddenly finds himself in Latham House, a boarding school for teenagers with the disease, so that they don’t end up infecting anybody else. He finds it very difficult at first to be away from his friends, family, and especially his girlfriend, as life carries on outside the grounds without him. He decides to try to keep up with his schoolwork from his old school in order to keep on track for college, but soon finds himself too worn out to keep at that pace.

Lane soon enough finds himself swept up with a crowd of friends including Sadie, a girl he hadn’t seen since summer camp many years before, who was still angry with him over a misunderstanding. The group does everything they can to live life to the fullest. Will they be able to hang on long enough to be released, or is Latham the end of their journey?

Would you recommend this book? Yes. I liked the main characters,who told the story in alternating chapters. I also liked how this book introduced a strand of illness that does not exist in the real world, without making it yet another dystopian novel. This could have been any other book if not for that particular illness.

4 stars


Magonia, Book Trailer

13 Nov

A Monster Calls, Book Trailer

30 Oct

Under the Mesquite, Review

19 Oct

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Plot: This is the story of Lupita, the oldest child of 8 in a family living on the border between Mexico and Texas. Lupita’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, and the family focuses all efforts on their mother’s health, leaving Lupita to care for younger siblings and take care of the household. After a brief remission, Lupita’s mother becomes sick a second time, throwing the family into financial turmoil, which Lupita is left to manage while her father cares for her mother. When Lupita’s mother dies, she almost loses hope. However, with support from her drama teacher and father, Lupita is able to refocus and move forward with her life. The book is written in free verse, and intersperses Spanish words and phrases throughout the book. The text is simple to read, yet thought-provoking and emotional. Lupita is a strong girl, and the reader will admire what she does for her family, but also understand her frustrations, anger, and sadness as well. It is a beautiful read, and will particularly appeal to Hispanic/Latino teen readers who will identify with both the language and family dynamics in the story.

Would you recommend this book? Yes

4 stars


Extraordinary Means, Book Trailer

9 Oct

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Review

3 Aug

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Plot: Based on the title, it would be very easy to think this is another sob story along the lines of The Fault in Our Stars. However, the author works very hard to keep it more lighthearted, open and honest. Greg is asked by his mom to befriend Rachel, a girl from school that he vaguely knows from when he was younger, who has just been diagnosed with Leukemia. Greg has to take the time to Google what this disease even is, and proceeds to treat the whole situation as best he can,  though he openly references how awkward it is to suddenly talk to somebody in high school that you don’t normally talk to, without making the reason seem too obvious.

Greg and his friend Earl, both amateur filmmakers, begin to hang out with Rachel often, and try to navigate the social pressures that this adds to their plates in school. Much of this novel is told in dialogue, almost like a play, which helps to keep the story flowing.

Would you recommend this book? I would recommend this book to an older teen, since there was a lot of cursing and graphic descriptions that I would not advise a younger teen reading about. I wish there was a little more resolution at the end, as important scenes seem to be glossed over a bit too casually for my taste.

3 stars