The Silence of Six Paperback Release

On December 6, one week from today, The Silence of Six comes out in paperback! It’s a great title for teens who like fast-paced techno thrillers, and it would make a great book to have around during a lazy winter break. I reviewed the book when it first came out it 2014


Here’s a link to the original review.

Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland

under-the-dusty-moonDundurn, 2016.

It’s hard to be sixteen when your mother’s a rock star and pretty much everybody knows her for her famous band, the one that broke up when Vick was a toddler. Vick and her mom, Mick (rhyming names, of course!) are close, but sometimes Vick just wants to have her own life. She wants to be certain that some people like her for herself, not because of her mom. When Mick goes off to Japan on tour, Vick finally has a chance to explore who she is on her own terms.

I loved this book! Suzanne Sutherland captured beautifully what it is to be sixteen. I was completely with Vick as she struggled with her over-the-top but loving mother, her first boyfriend, and her relationship with her best friend. Her writing manages to evoke full emotion, setting and mood without pages and pages of description. The story moved quickly and included a cast of characters and relationships that were very appealing, warts and all. They were realistic and yet definitely upbeat.

This book will appeal to the music obsessed, computer gamers, geeks, and anyone who’s just trying to build their own life. This one’s going on the gift list.

I received an electronic advance reader copy of Under the Dusty Moon courtesy of Dundurn and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass


Recorded Books, 2007.

Mia Winchell is a middle schooler with a secret: for her, everything has a color as well as a shape or a sound. Until third grade Mia thought everyone saw things that way, but when she tried to explain it in math class everyone laughed at her and her teacher thought she was lying. Since then, she’s kept her secret to herself. But one day in the grocery store Mia meets a little boy who also sees colors for words. Their meeting emboldens Mia to confess her secret to her parents. The confession isn’t easy, and it takes them some time to understand.

It’s been a tough year for Mia. Her grandfather’s death had her whole family, and especially Mia, mourning. Now she has to deal with reinterpreting who she is as someone with a condition named synesthesia. Will she be able to mesh who she once was with who she is now?

I listened to A Mango-Shaped Space as an audio book expertly read by Danielle Ferland. Though I was enjoying the story and fascinated by the details of synesthesia, a condition artists like Van Gogh and Rachmaninoff also had, I must admit that I considered not finishing the book at a point about halfway through. The synesthesia had been explained, and the plot was spiraling toward both inevitable bad decisions of adolescence and difficult facts of life. Though I took a break from the story, I couldn’t resist finishing it, and I’m glad I did. Not all of the terrible things I was anticipating came to pass, and the story wraps up in a place of warmth and love that left me feeling buoyed rather than sad.

This book has so many points that readers can connect to. It’s rich in details of neuroscience, personal relationships between classmates and family members, death and grieving. This would make a great addition to a classroom or school library.

I listened to A Mango-Shaped Space as an audio book from my local library.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

rain-reignBrilliance Audio, 2014.

Rose loves her name because it’s a homonym. In fact, Rose is a little obsessed with homonyms, and the obsession is probably related to her Asperger’s Syndrome. She recites homonyms to calm herself when she is anxious. She thinks they make the best words and the best names, so when her father brought home a dog for her, Rose named the dog Rain, a name with a homonym: Reign.

It’s not only homonyms Rose likes. She also loves prime numbers and rules. She loves rules so much that she can’t help but point out whenever someone isn’t following the rules, like when the bus driver doesn’t signal before making a turn. That’s why Rose no longer rides the school bus and instead gets rides to and from school from Uncle Weldon.

School is hard for Rose. It’s tough to join in when the kids and teachers don’t find homonyms nearly as interesting as she does, and they’re annoyed when she points out that someone has broken a rule or recites prime numbers. The kids soften a bit toward Rose, though, on the day that Rain follows Rose into school. Any way you look at it, Rain is a comfort to Rose, that is, until the Super Storm comes and Rain goes missing. Rose will have to make a plan and move way out of her comfort zone to deal with this crisis.

For three years in middle school my daughter’s assigned summer reading included books in which either the main character or a sibling of the main character was on the autism spectrum. Since then, the mere mention of a book that will put my sensitive teens into an imaginary situation where they or their sibling create extremely awkward social situations is enough to make them run screaming from the room, but Rain Reign is different somehow, perhaps because it is narrated by Rose herself, and the reader sees those situations not from the side of mortifying embarrassment but through the lens of someone trying hard to understand the intricacies of social skills.

Rose is extremely appealing and a hero to be remembered for her bravery, her failure to give up, her loyalty, and her principles. The book brought me to tears in a good way. It champions compassion and understanding without being sappy and provides important insight into the thoughts of someone whose affect may be different from the norm but whose wants and needs are universal.

I borrowed the audio book of Rain Reign from my local library. It was read beautifully by Laura Hamilton and runs four hours and nine minutes.