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

Guest Post: Alternative Valentine’s Day Reading List by Renee Watson

Piecing Me Together Guest Post by Renée Watson

Poetry was my first love.

When I was a child, I wrote poems in a journal and often created hand-made birthday or holiday cards for family and friends with my own poem penned on the inside written especially for my loved one. On Valentine’s Day, more than chocolate—I wanted a poem. I enjoyed the exchange of Valentines with my schoolmates, how we showed care for each other and took one day of the year to make sure each person in our class felt special. By high school, Valentine’s Day was no longer about friendship but more about relationships— was dating, who wasn’t. All of a sudden love was only about romance.

I’m all for romance but I also think it’s important to practice loving myself, … Continue reading

Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

everyexquisitethingEvery Exquisite Thing
Matthew Quick
Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers
Available May 31, 2016

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It starts with a book. A beloved teacher gives Nanette his copy of an out-of-print novel called The Bubblegum Reaper, about a Holden Caulfield-type boy who falls in love with a girl who shares her secrets with a turtle. As Nanette reads and rereads the novel, she becomes impassioned. She reaches out to the author and discovers another boy who loves the book, and in him, a potential soulmate. But when his vigilante attitude takes him too far, Nanette must learn find the courage to be herself despite the expectations of others on her own.

Part The Fault in … Continue reading

Review: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamilloFlora and Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press

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When Flora saves a squirrel from a powerful vacuum cleaner, she discovers that he has super powers. She names him Ulysses and brings him home to teach him what it means to be a hero, and she watches and waits for his true superpowers to emerge. Ulysses’ powers do emerge: a deep love for Flora and the gift of poetry. Her desire to protect him and his power to communicate changes Flora’s life in unexpected ways.

My family and I listened to this as an audiobook on our vacation. I loved the comics that Flora reads and how they were a bond between her and her dad. Ulysses … Continue reading

Poetry and Friendship: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland StoneEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Disney-Hyperion

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She might look just like another one of the popular girls, but Samantha has a secret not even her best friends can know: she suffers from OCD. She needs weekly visits to a psychiatrist and prescription meds to keep her anxieties at bay.

As her friendships with the top girls becomes more and more toxic, Samantha desperately wants an outlet. Her search leads her to Caroline, a carefree, fashion-less girl whose frankness and kindness may be just the right rescue. She introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a place where students gather to share poems about anything from chicken nuggets to the loss of a parent.

Through … Continue reading

Review: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank
Ellen Hopkins
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published October 1, 2004

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Crank is the story of Kristina Snow and the summer that changes her life, when she goes to visit her father and meets the “monster”, Crystal Meth. Based on the experiences of her own daughter, Ellen Hopkins captures the turmoil and grip of addiction in a raw, authentic manner.

The entire story is told in verse. The poems capture the scenes of the story in vivid detail. They flow from scene to scene very smoothly, capturing the raw emotion of the heroine– her desperation, heartache– and the downward spiral of her addiction to Meth. A powerful read.

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