Monday, December 18, 2017

ORCHARDS by Holly Thompson


The summer after eighth grade Kana Goldberg was sent to visit relatives in Japan. Half Japanese/American and half Jewish/American, Kana was prepared to be uncomfortable to say the least. The recent suicide of a classmate had all the parents sending their daughters somewhere for the summer.

Kana found herself sharing a room with one cousin and helping work in the family's citrus orchard with another cousin. Kana was given plenty of chores to do while being supervised by her critical grandmother. Learning the ins and outs of the local and family customs kept Kana busy since she was also struggling to brush off her rusty language skills.

All the business was intended to help Kana keep her mind occupied and off the tragedy she had left behind at home. As time passed, she realized she did think less about what had happened, but she still had to deal with the fact that she may not have been at fault for the bullying that caused Ruth's suicide, but rather the fact that she hadn't done anything to stop it.

Kana summer in Japan helps her recognize and appreciate what is important about family and friends and what it means to take responsibility when it comes to relationships. Author Holly Thompson paints a beautiful portrait of the Japanese countryside and the family orchard as she tells Kana's story in verse.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Into the Hurricane

The lighthouse on Shackles Island holds significance for both Eli and Max. Eli watched helplessly as his sister jumped to her death from the railing of the lighthouse. Max's finally memories of her father include time shared while standing at the railing of the same lighthouse. Now both teens are headed for that memorable location hoping to make peace with their pasts.

There's one major complication and her name is Celeste. Hurricane Celeste is bearing down on Shackles Island. Residents have been ordered to evacuate immediately. The bridge will be shut down in several hours which means Eli and Max must hurry. 

When the two teens' paths cross at the lighthouse, both are still determined to complete their personal missions despite the storm. The storm, however, has other ideas. Forced from the lighthouse, Eli and Max run into a notorious family of no goods from the island complicating matters even further. Now Eli and Max find themselves having to recover their belongings and escape the clutches of these delinquents. The teens also become responsible for not only themselves but also a frightened little girl clutching a stuffed toy.

Author Neil Connelly takes readers on an emotional and action packed journey complete with hurricane force winds, driving rain, crashing surf, and even an albino alligator. Eli and Max help each other survive both physically and emotionally as Hurricane Celeste tries to destroy Shackles Island.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Turtles All the Way Down (Signed Book)
Aza describes her world as “an ever-tightening spiral.” Her OCD behavior has her constantly fearing the worst. She obsessively changes a bandage covering a cracked callus on her thumb. She is convinced it will become infected and kill her or she’ll end up in the hospital where she’s given antibiotics which will result in a fatal case of C. Diff.

Her mental frailty combined with the loss of her father has Aza spending time with her therapist and counting on her best friend Daisy for support. She doesn’t need anything else to complicate her life, but along comes Davis and his younger brother. Their billionaire father has disappeared, and Aza becomes involved in the hunt to find Mr. Russell Pickett.

Can she overcome her psychological fears enough to follow the clues and handle the budding romantic feelings she has for Davis Pickett? Is she too wrapped up in her own problems to sympathize with her friend when she breaks up with her boy friend? Can she find a way to cope with losing her father without increasing her mother’s stress?

Popular author John Green has finally returned to his fans with TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. It is definitely a book to read and savor, and then reread again.