Faith, Hope and Ivy June

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
ARC from Midwinter

Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs are seventh graders and are going to be participating in their respective schools first exchange program.  No, they don’t live in different countries, or even different states.  Ivy June and Catherine are both residents of the bluegrass state.  Catherine is a city girl from Lexington, while Ivy June lives in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky.  (Full disclosure: I grew up halfway between the two.)  The exchange program is a way for the girls to explore a different way of life and all the prejudices and stereotypes that exist because of these differences. Of course, they find out their differences and similarities are not what they’d thought they’d be.

The differences in physical surroundings are obvious. Ivy June lives with her grandparents, because her parents’ house was getting too crowded (forget the telephone and indoor bathroom), while Catherine lives in a mcmansion and has her own bathroom.  However, the girls share family/friend joys and difficulties.

Interspersed between the third person narrative focused on Ivy June are  journals entries written by both girls. The settings are rich, particularly Naylor’s descriptions of the Appalachian mountains, and made me a little homesick.
The book takes a more serious tone at the end. Drama brings the two girls closer, leaving me hoping they can maintain that friendship despite the physical distance that seperates them.

48 Hour Reading Challenge

Now that the Tonys are on I’ve given up trying to accomplish anything else towards the challenge.  Today was much less sucessful than yesterday.

Yesterday I read for 13 hours and finished 3 books (and a portion of one I put aside for later), today only 4 hours and 1 book. My original plan for this weekend was to get to titles that I should have read ages ago and so I checked out stack of books from the library. None of the books I read were from this pile and so these titles remain unread.

My totals were 17 hours, 4 books and 1469 pages.

Goth Girl Rising

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga, ARC from BEA

I think I did this book a disservice by reading it towards the end of this marathon.  Nearly as good as Boy Toy and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, it is Goth Girl’s turn to showcase her place in Brookdale.

The action starts about six months after the end of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl ends.  Kyra Sellers, Goth Girl, is just that a goth girl. A very angry goth girl.  We are stuck in Kyra’s head for duration of the novel.  Spaced between the prose are letters to Neil Gaiman (she’s obsessed with Sandman) and a poem she wrote in middle school.  Staying in her head exclusively was difficult because of the depth of her discontent, but it ultimately a rewarding stay.

Troy High

Troy High by Shana Norris, ARC from BEA

As you may be able to tell from the title, this is a retelling of The Illiad in a modern high school.  District lines are redrawn and when one of the most popular Spartan cheerleaders suddenly has to go to Troy High a decades old football rivalry is amped up. The story is told from Cassie’s perspective, who keeps trying to convince the main players (her brothers and crush’s brother) that this “war” isn’t worth it.  And that’s where the main flaw with this book lies.  The stakes in this “war” are so laughable compared to the original.

If I didn’t know the source material this would probably be a fairly cute tale of high school pranks and love.

Forest Born

Yet another BEA ARC due out in September, Forest Born by Shannon Hale is the final “I’m serious this time. I swear.” book in the Bayern series.

Rin has had a feeling of unease growing in her ever since she made Willem kiss her. The trees no longer comfort her and the only thing she can do is keep moving. . . It is always a delight to visit the world of Bayern and the enchanting characters who live there.  This time Rin, Razo’s little sister, is the focus of the story.  She has her own unique powers to discover while, of course, having adventures of the dangerous and political sort. A novel about finding oneself and home wrapped in action. The kind of thing I love to booktalk for middle schoolers.

48 Hour Reading Challenge – Post the 1st

MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge. The Rules.

My official start time was 10pm last night.  Liz’s idea of having everyone in the same place reminds me of a read-in I went to in middle school to raise money for some literacy initiative. What an awesome thought that there are a large number of reader’s out there and that we are all involved in promoting literacy in one way or another.

I just finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and think I enjoyed it even more than The Hunger Games, if that is possible. What a long wait lays ahead for the third installment! I can’t wait to join some of the discussions about this book.  My facebook flist and blog roll is full of them. I’d love to just gush here, but know that I wouldn’t be able to restrain from giving too much away. For now, it is back to my stack of books and my mostly screenless weekend.

48 Hour Book Challenge

Yes, it is the 48 hour book challenge weekend, and yes I am participating. But, I just got my copy of Sims 3 in the mail and it’s begging to be tried out. This is exactly why I left Catching Fire for this weekend. I’ve a stack of goodies beside me I can’t wait to get to. First, a visit to Sims.