We first meet fifteen year old Wren, the “Wild Bird” in this riveting realistic fiction story and quickly realize she is a danger more to herself than others as she awakes one morning after the bender of all benders. Little does she know that she has hit rock bottom as far as her parents and sister are concerned, and as a last resort, have signed on to have Wren taken away by a cop to be escorted to a survivalist camp. In the desert. Once there, Wren is angry at the world and can’t figure out why she belongs in this tumbleweed place with a set of ‘prison clothes’, one canteen of water to last the week, a tent to put up, a latrine to dig, and endless challenges that leave her feeling as if she is a prisoner. She is just beginning her eight week session of survivalist ‘training’ and she’s sure she doesn’t belong here. However, she now has more time to think than she has friends. Through flashbacks, we learn how Wren’s destructive choices, desire for acceptance, working parents who are never home, and everyone around her seemingly her enemy turns her life into one hot mess. Will Wren realize that she is not the sum of her choices and that her future path can be changed? Although, this is not the trials and tribulations of young love as portrayed in Van Draanen’s Flipped, this may just be a journey of how a girl learns to love herself.
Janine's December 2016 pick, 1 of 2
You do not need to be a fan of Charlotte’s Web to enjoy this very special, uniquely illustrated biography. As you open to Sweet’s ‘hand made’ collaged pages, you will begin to understand how much E.B. White loved words and why he was a lifelong writer, but also how he came to write his beloved stories. Photos of the author and the animals from his stories are delightful. Published this past October, an interview with Sweet about the book was on NPR’s All Things Considered as well as having made several ‘best book lists of 2016”. This book is a keeper and highly recommended as an inspiring read for young writers.
Janine's December 2016 pick, 2 of 2
Enchantments, magic, a fantastical world with a volcano, and a misfired spell provides a new kind of fairy tale that you won’t want to miss and I’m glad I didn’t. This is hardly a fractured tale, rather it is a meeting of new friends and a rich story worth re-reading. Luna, a young girl is taken care of by her ‘grandmother’, Fyrian and Glerk; a jealous, mischievous tiny dragon and an erudite swamp monster look after her. The integrity of these characters, what Luna discovers about herself, her grandmother who is a witch, and the word she is not to know until she turns thirteen, is what will keep readers wondering who is who and what will happen next.