Saturday, June 17, 2017

BLOOD FAMILY by Anne Fine

Blood Family
Author Anne Fine has created a psychological novel ripped from headlines seen all too often. Full of pain, emotion, and the will to survive, readers will remember it long after the last page has been turned.

Edward "Eddie" is only four years old when he remembers being locked up with his mother. An evil man he knows as Harris bests Eddie's mom and deprives them of life in the outside world.
After years of abuse, Eddie and his mother are finally rescued. His mother is hospitalized with mental and emotional issues so Eddie is sent to live in a temporary foster home. He blossoms while under the care of an older couple and is disappointed when he learns he can't stay there indefinitely.
Eddie moves to a new home where another younger couple adopt him. He now has new parents and a sister named Alice. He's catching up in school and enjoying his new life with two exceptions.
Visiting his mother and seeing her barely recognize him as she babbles on about her latest craft project is almost more than Eddie can handle. His new family seems to understand and doesn't push too hard.
The day that Eddie is shown an picture of his possible future appearance is the day his new, normal life begins to crumble. The image shows a view of Harris and reveals the horrible truth that the man who held him captive and beat his mother is none other than Eddie's own blood - his father.
Readers will quickly fall for Eddie and cheer him on as he attempts to turn his mixed up life into something close to normal. When life throws him yet another curveball, readers will rush on to find out if Eddie is able to learn that blood is not the only thing that makes a family.

CYCLONE by Doreen Cronin

Cyclone
One ride on a rollercoaster can change your life. Nora experiences this fact firsthand when she blackmails her cousin Riley into riding the Cyclone on Coney Island. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when the ride is over and Riley collapses, Nora realizes life might never be the same.


Riley is rushed to the hospital where it is determined that she has suffered a stroke and has a heart condition no one knew about. As she lays in intensive care, Nora's guilt mounts.


When she is finally able to see her cousin, nothing seems to get better. First there is the coma, then the gradual awakening followed by the realization that Riley can't speak or walk. Does that mean that the horrible threat Nora made to convince her cousin to ride the coaster will remain unknown by the rest of the family? Is losing Riley as a friend because she'll never be normal again worth protecting Nora's terrible secret?


Author Doreen Cronin, known for her children's book CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE, has ventured into middle grade fiction, and this reviewer is thrilled that she has. Cronin's main character is facing the serious illness of a relative for the first time. Faced with an illness that doesn't normally hit someone as young as her cousin, Nora is frightened and confused. Understanding and dealing with the hustle and bustle of the hospital and mind-boggling medical terminology, Nora adjusts as best she can. As she deals with numbing guilt and a family in crisis, Nora learns life is rarely predictable. I'd recommend CYCLONE for ages 12 and up.