Monthly Archives: May 2010

Walk Two Moons

by Sharon Creech

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

I’ll say it right now: I’m a sucker for Native American (or as our main character here, Sal, prefers, Indian) novels.  This one, thankfully, didn’t hit you over the head with it.  It wasn’t about a Native American, first and foremost, who was a girl only incidentally.  It was about a girl, first and foremost (and her family and her friend Phoebe), who was Native American almost incidentally, which was refreshing.  I did think the characters acted a little young for their age; I kept imagining my own 5th grade classroom, even though the girls were 13.  But in general, I loved the way that Salamanca wove the story of her mother’s abandonment into the story of Phoebe’s mother’s mysterious disappearance.  Sal tells the story to her grandparents as they make their way across the country from Kentucky to Idaho, following her mother’s path right up until her death.  Sal’s grandparents relate to her, and she to them, in a way that I didn’t entirely believe, inserting all kinds of details about her first kiss as they pertained to the story of Phoebe and her mother, things I never would have told my own grandparents.  But in general, the chapters moved quickly and ended on cliff-hangers, leaving me up reading until all hours of the night!

PS – I am having trouble deciding if this book would be considered YA or J-fic.  I could see a 4th or 5th grader getting a lot out of it, so I’m going to tag it as both.  Anyone agree or disagree?

Eleven Birthdays

Eleven Birthdays
by Wendy Mass

Stars: 5 out of 5

What a perfect book to read on your birthday weekend!  Two ex-best friends, Amanda and Leo, were born on the same day.  They end up reliving their eleventh birthday over and over, Groundhog Day-style, until they can figure out how to make amends and solve the mystery of why this is happening.  (Also reminded me a little bit of Freaky Friday.)  They relived the day eleven times and I did think some of it was overkill.  However, one of those days they indulged Leo’s impulse to live consequence-free, which I thought was good to explore a bit, but not too much, or they would get away from the main storyline. The interactions between characters were believable and the story was clever and well-executed.

This was a good book to add to my repertoire of books for kids who were just like me – a little feisty, wanting a little adventure and something with some teeth to it, but also wanting a somewhat happy ending.  At our book fair last week, I hit the jackpot recommending this one to a few girls who fit that category – and who I had trouble making good recommendations to in the past, oddly enough.