Review: When You Never Said Goodbye by Meg Kearney

When You Never Said Goodbye
Meg Kearney
Persea
Available March 21, 2017

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Through poetry and journal entries, Liz relates the story of her first year at NYU and her search for her birth mother. As she forms a circle of friends, she gradually shares with them the truth about her adoption and her search. She finds support and love from these friends and from her family, though each member of her family struggles with the search for different reasons. Liz won’t give up looking, even as one obstacle after another rises to meet her.

One of my favorite things about this story were all the references to literature and poetry contained … Continue reading

Review: Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire by Sundee T Frazier

Cleo Edison Oliver Playground Millionaire by Sundee T FrazierCleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire
Sundee T. Frazier
Scholastic, Inc.

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Cleo wants to be just like her role model, Miss Fortune A. Davies, a famous businesswoman with a nightly TV show motivating young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. Cleo has lots of ideas to make money, from selling avocados off the tree in the back yard to her latest and greatest idea ever: a nearly painless tooth-pulling service. As Cleo’s business succeeds, she gets even more excited. Unfortunately, not everyone in her life is as thrilled as she is. Her best friend begins to withdraw, and Cleo has some owning up to do with members of her family after … Continue reading

Review: The Hopper-Hill Family by Erika Castiglione

The Hopper-Hill Family by Erika CastiglioniThe Hopper-Hill Family
Erika Castiglione

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Twelve year-old Piper has always dreamed of having a sibling. She never imagined gaining three siblings in one weekend. But that’s exactly what happens when a tragic car accident brings her three orphaned cousins to live under her roof. Between their grief and the shock of the cross-country move, the cousins’ first days are rough. Piper tries to be her best self, to comfort them, but it’s hard to know what to say and do. She and her parents wrestle with the desire to welcome the three into their family without making them feel they have to forget their parents.

I think telling this story from Piper’s perspective was an interesting choice. She functions primarily as … Continue reading

Review: The Scratch on the Ming Vase by Caroline Stellings

The Scratch on the Ming Vase
Caroline Stellings
Second Story Press
Published September 15, 2012

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Fourteen year-old Nicki Haddon arrives in Canada, ready to begin her training at the Fire Dragon Academy. But when she reports to the academy to meet kung fu master David Kahana, Nicki finds him lying in a pool of blood. He is only able to slur out a few words and begs Nicki to find a priceless vase and return it to its owner.

The search for the Chinese vase causes Nicki to question her past. She wrestles with the absence of her wealthy adopted parents as they manage their hotel chain, and her origin as an abandoned baby from a Chinese orphanage. Are … Continue reading

Review: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

The Rising
Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollins
Published January 1, 2013

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Maya and her friends have been on the run since they discovered their roles as test subjects in an experiment to resurrect supernatural abilities. Worse than that, they’ve now become mixed up in a war between rival groups, both of whom want the supernatural teens for their own use. With nowhere to go and only one possible contact left, Maya seeks a meeting with someone who might help. Turns out his help means putting up with an awful lot of attitude and a part of Maya’s past she’s not ready to face. More than that, as Maya and her friend Corey’s abilities continue to develop, so do the … Continue reading

Review: Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You
Hanna Jansen
Carolrhoda Books
Published April 1, 2006 (Orig. published 2003)

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Jeanne’s family and home are destroyed when the radical Hutu group, the Interahamwe, begin a nationwide massacre of the Rwandan Tutsi population. As Jeanne and others struggle to flee the Interahamwe soldiers and simply survive each day, a black hole yawns inside of her, a grief and rage that threaten to swallow her whole. But something else changes. She finds within herself an unyielding strength and will to survive.

It is a before-and-after story, told by Jeanne’s German adopted mother. Each chapter opens with a behind-the-scenes look at the events and the healing that unfolded even as … Continue reading

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