Flashback Friday: Forever by Judy Blume

Forever

This was the book to read in upper elementary school. I remember it being whispered about a lot among the girls and passed around with a certain page open. It was a book about sex, and of course we all wanted to know!

You could get it from the school library if you had a signed permission slip from your parents, but then the boys, and perhaps even the teacher, would see that you had the book, so that really wasn’t a viable option. At some point I got a copy of my own, which I still have. Strangely, I don’t have any memory of how I got it, but I remember it made a huge impression on me. It was a safe way to put myself in a situation I hadn’t encountered yet and allowed me to consider what sexual intimacy would mean for me.

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The Silence of Six by E. C. Myers

Adaptive Studios 2014

Max used to be a hacker. He and his best friend Evan spent a lot of time that way. But then Max got pretty busy with his life and his new girlfriend and kind of lost track of Evan, until the night that Evan hacked into the live presidential debate and killed himself on camera. That got everyone’s attention, and, unfortunately, the Feds think Max is involved in a plot he knows nothing whatsoever about.

This is a classic thriller. It picked me up at the beginning and sent me along on Max’s ride. It was fast paced with just the right amount of intrigue and romance to keep me interested. The ending felt a bit rushed. I would have loved a bit more detail there, but there was enough that I was satisfied with the ending. I was pleased with the hints that this was the first book in a series.

Kids and adults who like fast-paced thrillers will enjoy reading The Silence of Six. It is likely to draw in reluctant readers with an interest in computers, thrilling chase scenes, and kids who survive against the odds. It’s also a fun read for mystery readers like me who want to tease out the clues of the story before the main character gets there.

I read this book courtesy of Adaptive Studios and Net Galley.

Flashback Friday: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

I love, love, loved this book when I was young. In seventh grade three of my friends and I performed a skit with a scene from Little Women for English class. I was thrilled because I got to play Beth. I thought it was terribly romantic to die of scarlet fever, especially when you’re the perfect one who never does anything wrong.

When I was in eighth grade we moved to Boston. My father’s office was near a really big Salvation Army thrift store. It had a whole room full of books for fifty cents or a quarter. I think he often went there on his lunch break and when he came home in the evening he brought me back treasures. Among them were a 1924 edition of Little Women, a six book set of Louisa May Alcott books including Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys and Invincible Louisa, and a biography of Lousia May Alcott written by Cornelia Meigs and dated 1933.

 

 

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

PointePenguin Books, 2014.

Seventh grade was a really rough year. Theo’s secret boyfriend left, just ditched her without saying goodbye, and two weeks later her best friend Donovan vanished. In the following few months Theo fell apart and got sent to this hippie farm where there was loads of therapy but absolutely no dancing allowed. Four years later Theo’s got her life together again and both she and her ballet teacher think she might even have the stuff to become a professional dancer. But when Donovan comes home alive everything about Theo’s carefully reconstructed world threatens to crumble again. Everything has changed and now Theo’s got one huge decision to make.

Brandy Colbert has the adolescent brain nailed. I’m in awe of her voice. Theo brought back to me the gelatinous feeling of the myriad uncertainties of every day and every decision in high school as well as the desperate cravings for things I couldn’t — or believed I shouldn’t –have. She also managed the unmovable mistaken beliefs and naïveté of a young woman. I was with Theo completely as she desperately fought for control in all the wrong ways.

Colbert not only managed to present an engrossing story, but she managed to give me the impression that I was reading about Theo’s entire life with all its myriad complications. And yet, at no point did I find the story confusing. The threads of Theo’s life were so convincingly tied that I felt I was in her head.

This is a smart and fascinating read. It’s much less of a ballet book than it would seem. It contains many “issues” – anorexia, abduction, statutory rape –but it’s not what I’d call an issues book either. It’s the story of Theo and how she navigates an extraordinary junior year. One tip: don’t start this book late in the day; if you’re anything like me you’ll be up far too late reading.