Sixteen-year-old Sophie is used to her mother's ups and downs. When she's up, she's vibrant and giddy. She's spontaneous, loves ice cream for breakfast, works tirelessly on her art, throws her cares to the wind.
When she's down, she barely speaks. She barely has the energy to move, let alone get out of bed.
Sophie has been taking care of things since she was eleven years old. Making sure her mother takes her meds, that she eats regularly, that the bills get paid, that her mother's social worker doesn't see any red flags.
One day, she comes home to find that her mother has attempted suicide. She calls 911, her mother is rushed to the hospital, and Sophie goes to live with her extended family for the duration.
Her ESTRANGED extended family.
Everything. I'm not being lazy! I really loved it, full stop. It's a sensitive, empathetic look at how bipolar disorder can affect a family; about the realities of living with depression; about how sometimes people cause more damage by trying to protect one another than by just being honest. It's about how a lack of communication and a difficulty in asking for help can make a hard situation that much harder; about misunderstandings, isolation, and about that moment of catharsis that comes when feelings that have been hidden for far too long are finally verbalized. It's about abandonment, and about how abandonment by a friend can just as painful as abandonment by family. It's about how you can intellectually understand why a person acts the way she does, but still get frustrated and angry, and about the guilt that comes out of that.
I've got nothing. It's a solid read across the board.
It made me cry, but in a good way. If you like contemporaries that deal with meaty issues without being trite, didactic, or manipulative, here you go. I've added Sara Polsky to my list of Must Read Authors.
It’s hard not to wonder why some of the largest voices in the YA world and kid lit world more broadly aren’t speaking up and out in visible ways. They have far less at stake than any author of color (and most women, white or not) would have doing the same thing, in part because their privileged position affords them them their platform. They do not succeed simply because they work harder; they have more advantages. This isn’t just pointed at authors with power. It’s pointed equally toward librarians, toward booksellers, toward major media outlets, and to anyone with a position to say something.
There’s no expectation for anyone to talk about everything. That would be impossible. But in a week where an announcement of an all-male, all-white panel coincides with a wealth of well-written, thought-provoking, and important conversations about diversity and there’s nothing but silence?
...I wrote aboutThe Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, and OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVED IT:
I laughed SO MUCH while reading it. Laughed and laughed and laughed. If Ethan wasn’t “stewing in the Crock-Pot of betrayal,” he was taking a “dumbwaiter ride to hell,” or becoming part of a “tornado of justice.” I loved the scenes with his triplet sisters; Ethan’s ongoing willingness to play with language (the past tense of high five is apparently “high fove”); and the many, many literary references (“...we were kicking it old-school, searching his files in the grand tradition of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”)
Fauquier County Public Schools has received a request from a parent to withdraw from student use the book “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan which is a part of the high schools’ library collections. A school committee at Fauquier High School decided to retain the book in its library collection, and the parent is appealing the decision to the superintendent.
IN A WORLD where the government regulates the temperature of microwaveable food so that no one burns their mouth on frozen burritos, one girl must fight for her family’s right to consume something other than lukewarm convenience foods.
“I don’t want my food to be safe, or still kind of icy in the middle,” I cried. “I want it to be burning hot and freezing cold. I want to singe the taste buds off my tongue and give myself incapacitating ice cream headaches whenever I eat a freeze pop.” “You want to taste things the way they really are,” said the mysterious new boy in school. “I want to live.”
It’s Becky’s voice that makes Lisa Colozza Cocca’s Providence work. She’s tough and honest; craves affection but is understandably guarded; she’s prone to quoting her father but hasn’t adopted the entirety of his philosophy. She’s practical, but has dreams; she’s generous and tenacious; she’s funny, awkward, creative, reliable, independent and sweet. Though her situation is a very different one, she feels like a direct descendant of another stubborn farmgirl: D.J. Schwenk, of Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen.
Anyway, enough pontificating from me, right? On to the actual book! Clearly, Marthe Jocelyn’s What We Hide succeeded in at least getting THIS reader thinking about truth; about secrets; about lies of malice and lies of boredom, about lies of omission and lies of desperation, about lies to loved ones and lies to ourselves; about perspective and worldview and, yes, the reliability of any given narrator.
Meridian trustees voted 2 to 1 to keep in place a hold on “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie. The hold was put in place a few weeks ago after some parents objected to the book.
Board members rejected a recommendation from an earlier committee that said the book should stay on the 10th grade English supplemental reading list, with parental permission required for children to read it.