Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published March 14, 2006 (Orig. published 2005)

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A mysterious narrator gives an account of a young girl who has an unusual vice: she steals books. Death comes for the girl’s brother as she and her mother wait for a train to take them to a foster home where the children will be safe. It is he, the collector of souls, who is the only witness to the girl’s first thievery, and he begins to follow her story.

Life in Liesel’s new home is a difficult adjustment, plagued with nightmares, but through them, she and her … Continue reading

Review: Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill

Me, Just Different
Stephanie Morrill
Revell
Published July 1, 2009

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Senior year should be everything beautiful Skylar Hoyt can hope for. She has popular friends, a hot boyfriend. But a terrible experience gives her a late summer wake-up call, and for Skylar, it’s time to make some changes. No to parties, and yes to youth group top her list.

Until her family begins crumbling beneath her. Her parents seem to be moving opposite directions, with Skylar and her sister caught in the middle. Then Skylar discovers her sister’s secret. Should she tell? Can her parents’ fragile marriage handle a blow like this one?

With Skylar’s best friend acting weird and her boyfriend’s jealousy skyrocketing, … Continue reading

Review: By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

By Darkness Hid
Jill Williamson
Marcher Lord Press
Published April 1, 2009

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Achan has known nothing but the life of a stray, lower even than that of a slave. When a mysterious knight, rumored to have once been a stray himself, makes an offer to Achan to train him as his squire, despite laws that should prevent it, Achan finds himself trapped between two lives. In this midst of this, a strange gift seems to wake inside him. But isn’t bloodvoicing just a myth?

When an evil prince seeks her hand in marriage, Vrell hides behind the orange tunic of a stray and masquerades as a boy to conceal her identity. At the same … 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 … Continue reading

Review: In Between by Jenny B. Jones

In Between
Jenny B. Jones
Sweet Pea Productions
Published March 25, 2014 (Originally published 2007)

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Sixteen year old Katie Parker is not too excited when she discovers she’s moving to a new foster home in In Between, Texas, home of the Chihuahuas. And to top that off, her new “dad” is the pastor of one of the local churches. Not exactly consistent with Katie’s formerly religion-less life. At her new school, she finds herself at home with the other outsiders. At least, so she thinks. When one late night stunt turns to trouble, Katie finds herself sentenced to time with her new nonGrandmother– Mad Maxine. Could things get any worse? And does the God … Continue reading

Review: Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen

Jerk California
Jonathan Friesen
Speak
September 4, 2008

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Sam Carrier can’t sit still. He jumps and blurts and twitches almost constantly. That’s the nature of the beast. Tourette’s Syndrome. The only solace he finds and the only time his limbs obey comes when he runs. But after his embarrassing graduation ceremony, everything changes. His angry step-father expects a large monthly sum for rent, and an unorthodox neighbor hires Sam, but only on the condition that he can use Sam’s real name, the name his real dad gave him. Jack.

Everything is complicated further by the recurring appearance of the beautiful Naomi, who always leaves Sam feeling like he’s not sure which way is up. … Continue reading