The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender is an extraordinarily story about a girl named Rose who discovers at the age of nine that she has a special gift: she can taste the feelings of those who made the food. This is not a gift Rose wants to have and at a very young age she discovers that sad secrets of her family and those around her. This incredibly melancholy story grabbed me by the heart and I was unable to stop reading.
This book tastes just like chocolate lemon cake…the title of the book says it all and that sweet, sad taste will linger in your mouth long after reading this story.
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl is written in a voice that reminds the reader of Jane Austen. With a spunky female lead named Althea who believes it is her duty to marry rich in order to save her family and fractured castle as well as a cast of quirky characters, this story proves to be great fun.
At the beginning of this story there is a quote from Pride and Prejudice which makes me believe that this might be Kindl’s way of paying homage to a great influence: Jane Austen. Kindl writes with her own voice and has created a lovely story all her own, but I loved seeing remnants of that Austinian influence throughout the novel.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier is a fun graphic novel about a middle school girl named Callie who is extremely enthusiastic about working on the set of the school play. With the excitement of the show, fabulous ideas for the set design, friends and boy drama, Callie has a lot going on and she discovers that she doesn’t need a boy to make her happy.
At the school I work at, the kids are always coming into the library asking for this book. In fact it is never on the shelf so I decided that it was time for me to check out what all the commotion is about. I was so incredibly pleased with this book I cannot even explain it. Callie’s character is fun, strong, creative, and sweet and I lover her to bits. She doesn’t give up on her dreams, in fact she works hard for them. When it comes to boy drama, she reacts with grace and learns that it is great to have a boy friend, but they are not necessary for happiness.
Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo is a wonderful, real story about a boy who runs away with his horse in order to escape his older brother who has a conduct disorder and can be dangerous. The book is actually Yancy’s journal and he narrates his story with writings, poems, and sketches. While reading this story we get to experience Yancy’s fear, frustration, excitements, and first romance
The main thing that Yancy deals with is his frustration towards his parents. They don’t see the danger that Yancy’s brother Will poses and even after he runs away, they struggle with accepting it. It is very eye opening to see the struggles that families have to go through when one family member deals with a mental disorder.
Hush by Eishes Chayil is an eye opening novel about a girl named Gittel, a young Jewish woman living in New York. When Gittel is young she witnesses something horrible happen to her best friend but she is told by her community to keep it quiet. But keeping quiet will only begin to wear on Gittel from the inside out.
This story was wonderful in a very sad way. I hardly knew anything about ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Jews going into this story but my eyes have been opened a little more to their world. Eishes Chayil wrote this story based on her own upbringing and experiences but she also brings to light that abuse, especially sexual abuse should never be kept quiet. No matter the culture, religion, or beliefs, abuse should not be ignored.
Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande is a novel about a girl named Mena who has been kicked out of her church, ostracized by her friends, and ignored by her parents all around the same time that high school is starting. But when she’s teamed up with Casey, a nice guy with big ambitions for their science project she begins to see life a little differently.
I loved this book because Mena’s character really has to find out what she believes for herself instead of what she is told to believe. This book also provides a realistic portrayal of the “radical Christians” versus the true believers with a fantastic sense of humor mixed in.
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix is a fast paced Sci-Fi story about a young man named Khemri who has been raised as one of the million princes in the intergalactic Empire who could possibly become the Emperor. But when he gets involved in a mission where he must relinquish his Princely powers and become human he meets a young human woman who changes his view on the entire Empire.
Garth Nix has created a strange galactic world full of quirky characters and difficult decisions. Prince Khemri grows as a character from a self-assured Prince who looks down upon humans to a fighter and protector of the Empire.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass is a thrilling story about a well known assassin named Celaena, who despite her young years is feared throughout the kingdom. For a year she has been slaving away in the salt mines as a criminal until the womanizing Prince Dorian shows up to make a deal with her: if she competes and wins in the King’s competition to become the royal assassin she will have her freedom after four years of service. But romance and dark magic threaten to take this trained killer down.
I was intrigued by this story because it has everything I love, a strong, kick-butt heroin who has her secret fears and flaws, mystery, romance, magic, and great action scenes. There are remnants of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna in this great character and I cannot wait to continue reading the series.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young is fascinating story about a girl named Saba who goes on an epic adventure to save her twin brother from four cloaked horseman. Saba, along with her little sister, a gang of revolutionary girls, and a smooth talking thief find themselves fighting a war they didn’t even know existed.
Saba is an awesome character; strong, smart and speaks with an unforgettable voice. She is a survivor, fighter, and flawed hero who made me fall in love with this story.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano is a chilling story about a girl named Rhine who is part of a doomed generation. When an epidemic begins killing off women at the age of twenty and men at twenty-five, keeping the world’s population alive has become crucial. Rhine is stolen from her twin brother and forced to become one of three wives of a young man in order to procure him with children. Her husband’s mansion becomes her cage and it is up to Rhine to find a way out. But when she begins befriending her sister wives and falling for one of the servants, her escape plan begins to change.
Personally I expected to be disappointed by this book but in fact it made a jarring impression. The story is creative and the lives led by this particular generation is creepy and strange. The main character is strong and human and has a will of iron which will hopefully set her free.