A road trip …. and missing dads

the pull of gravity TITLE = THE PULL OF GRAVITY

AUTHOR = GAE POLISNER

GENRE = FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, ROAD TRIP, GRIEF

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9+

Nick’s best friend (Scoot) has an aging disease. He might be 16 yo but his body thinks he is a small, old man. Whilst most teens are thinking about their first date, Scoot has to battle heart failure and weak limbs. He is all too aware that he is dying.

So when Scoot’s other best friend, Jaycee, decides to fulfil Scoot’s dying wish (to find his father) how can Nick refuse to help her?? Even if it means a road trip with a girl he barely knows and doesn’t really understand. And while they look for Scoot’s dad, what about Nick’s own dad who has taken off own his own road trip to NY.

Absent fathers and friendship are at the heart of this book. Nick not only learns a lot about Jaycee, he also learns a lot about himself and how to deal with tough times and unplanned events. This book is gently paced, with credible and interesting characters. For those readers with a literary bent, references to Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and  Men” will be of interest while others might revel in the frequent mention of Star Wars movies and Yoda’s quotes.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 

Miracles and mystery

TITLE = THE RELUCTANT HALLELUJAH

AUTHOR = GABRIELLE WILLIAMS

GENRE = FANTASY, RELIGION,

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10, 11

This is a very unusual and intriguing story. Just days before her year 12 exams Dodie’s parents go missing and she discovers they have been hiding something in their basement. Something totally unexpected and something that requires her to take totally unexpected action. Before she knows it, Dodie and her sister Coco are on the road with the secret from the basement, and 3 boys whom they barely know. Together they are setting off for Sydney, with Dodie driving, even though she doesn’t yet have her license.

What could possibly be worth this risk? And who is out to stop them? Along the way they witness miracles and learn alittle more about each other and themselves. But as Sydney gets closer reality sinks in … can they achieve their aim or will further sacrifices be required?

Recommended (dma) ****    

 

The awesome mystery of life

papertowns2TITLE = PAPER TOWNS

AUTHOR =JOHN GREEN

GENRE =MYSTERY, COMING OF AGE, IDENTITY

INTEREST LEVEL = YRS 10 – 12

How well do we know our friends? Can we ever truly get inside another person? These are the questions that John Green explores in his third novel, Paper Towns. This novel recently won the Edgar Award for Young Adult fiction and deservedly so. On one level, the novel is an intriguing mystery: has Margo Roth Spielgelman left Orlando? And if so, where has she gone? As her neighbour, and ardent admirer, Quentin Jacobsen soon learns, if he is to find Margo, he needs to not only follow the clues she has left but also learn more about Margo. He soon discovers that “his” Margo is really a fiction of his imagination and that there are other versions of Margo (seen through the eyes of other people in her life – her friends, her sister, her parents). As he reads one of Margo’s clues – a highlighted copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” – Q realises there is a deeper mystery in life – how do we see each other? Can we ever understand how others see us and can we ever truly understand or “be” another person, as Whitman claims. As in his other young adult novels, Green explores the teen experience with great depth and insight, providing a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining reading experience.

There are similaritiesw in some of the characters in this novel and Green’s earlier work “Looking for Alaska” (both male narrators are nerdy and attracted by the courage and adventurousness of their female protagonists) – but it is not a repetitive experience when reading Green’s third novel, rather it is as if he has shone a new spotlight on these characters and we therefore look at characters and their lives with new lenses.

To heighten you experience of the novel, check out the omnictionary entry about Margo … in fact, why not check out the omnidictionary site in all its awesomeness!

And if you want to read what other teens think about this book check out this review.