Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

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Genre: Realistic/historical fiction

A 2012 Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Honor Book

Jasper Jones was one of those books I wanted to start recommending before I had finished reading. This is what young adult fiction should be.

Jasper Jones is the store of Charlie, a teenage boy growing up in a small Australian mining town in the 1960s (of particular interest to me as my sister currently lives in a small, rural Australian mining town). When the town delinquent, Jasper Jones, shows up at his window one night, Charlie makes the pivotal choice to follow him, and as a result becomes caught up in…well, a lot. A town scandal/mystery. A personal and moral crisis. A search for justice on many levels. The solution to the book’s mystery won’t leave anyone reeling, but by the end, everything has come together so gracefully it feels satisfactory. The writing is beautiful, descriptive and readable. Continue reading »

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Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

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image_51 Genre: Realistic Fiction

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

I started by review here by saying Girlchild was “well written but kind of just not my cup of tea.”  I think part of the problem was that I couldn’t really find anything in it to which I could relate. In addition, the writing had a beautiful quality to it but took a bit of patience. I described it to a friend recently as “one of those books that seems like it’s written entirely in metaphors.” There was one chapter that confused me totally and I’m still not sure what happened in it. I think there’s a good deal of merit in it, in the writing as well as the subject, I just didn’t find it compelling. Continue reading »

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