Monday, April 24, 2017


Milk and Honey
This book was first recommended to me by my 27 year old daughter. Then I saw it in the hands of one of my 11th grade English students. Her copy was loaded with post-its marking favorite poems. So, I ordered a copy.

Poet Rupi Kaur tells an extremely personal story through a powerful series of poems. Divided into four sections titled The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing, Kaur takes readers on a journey through her experience as a young woman. The beginning and end of relationships, abuse, rape, and finally the recognition of what she deserves as a woman are vividly and graphically described in the hope of helping empower other young women as they learn to define themselves.

Early pages in the book are heart wrenching in their directness, but growth is clearly the goal and message of Kaur's wise words. My favorite section was The Healing. Her message here is that loving oneself is essential to love someone else. She also stresses the importance of taking control of one's own body and life and not allowing someone to hold that power.

MILK AND HONEY is a must-read for older teen girls and young adult women.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

ULTIMATUM by K.M. Walton

My students and I have enjoyed K. M. Walton's previous books, CRACKED and EMPTY, so I was excited to see this new book. Her focus on psychological drama between brothers didn't disappoint.

Oscar and Vance are in the middle of a terrible experience. Their alcoholic father has been checked into hospice care and has only days to live. Liver failure after years of drinking is not a pleasant way to go and having to watch their father's final days has both teens struggle to make sense of the pain.

Oscar's portion of the story is told in "real" time as he sits next to his father's bed counting the frequency of his respiration. His older brother Vance inhabits the same room, but communication is at a minimum.

Vance's story tells of several years leading up to their father's last moments. He recalls the chaos of their lives after their mother's death. There were pleasant memories before she became ill, but after her calming influence was removed, their father became more of a bartender for himself instead of for the customers in the local establishment he owned.

While Vance tried to fight back, Oscar became more and more withdrawn. Now the brothers are faced with the fact that after their father is gone, they will only have each other. Will they stick together? Can they pick up the pieces of their lives and help each other cope?

Author K. M. Walton takes readers on a messy journey. Death is difficult enough, but when the only person there to help you is someone you feel you don't know anymore, the problems multiple.