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Tag Archives: death of family member

Optimists Die First

Title:   Optimists Die First
Author:   Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
Series:   —
Recommended for:  teens who like books that deal with death, family problems, betrayal, support groups – and a little romance. And fans of The Fault in Our Stars, The Breakfast Club and other books/movies where unlikely strangers wind up becoming friends.
Pages:   228 p.
Call Number/Link:   Teen Fiction Nielsen, S.

Ratings:   ***

 

 

Synopsis:

Since her sister’s death, Petula de Wilde sees danger in everything. A mandatory art therapy class with a groups of teenage misfits is the worst part of each week. She wants nothing to do with them– especially Jacob and his prosthetic arm. When they work together on a project, he helps her with her fears. But a secret he’s been keeping from her could unravel everything….
Comments:
I think we’ve all heard the saying:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I know I have.  And that I still sometimes choose a book to read because the cover grabs me.  Most often, it is because the cover features delicious looking baked goods.  But in this case, I liked the contradiction between the cover and book title.  It looks like the front of a homemade knitted sweater… with skeletons and the title Optimists Die First.  So I read the front flap and found out that the protagonist was in an art therapy group.  Be still my heart!  I’m kind of fascinated with the idea of art therapy, although I only know a little about it.
The book didn’t completely grab me, but I still liked it.  The art therapy group kind of reminded me of the support group in The Fault in Our Stars.  This may be a stretch, but the change in how the group members interacted at the beginning and at he end of the book made me think of The Breakfast Club.  Thus, I think the book could be a hit with teens who like problem novels, support groups, The Fault in Our Stars and/or The Breakfast Club.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a romance….
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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All Fall Down

all fall downTitle: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row Book # 1
Recommended for: 6th Grade and up
Pages: 310 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION CARTER, A. 

Synopsis:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

– (Scholastic)

Grace can only remember little bits about the day her mom died.  What she remembers is her mom being shot by a man with a scar. Graces’ family has been trying to convince her that her mom died in an accidental fire.  Is Grace crazy? Did she make the whole memory up? Who should she believe?  The first half of the book you are getting to know the different characters that live on Embassy Row.  The last quarter of the book is where most of the action happens. This book was enjoyable to read.  I was hoping for more action, but I can tell the author is laying the ground work for the next book.  I am putting this for 6th grade and up because a huge part of this book is dealing with Grace’s internal struggle with what she thinks she sees and what everyone whats her to believe happened.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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