Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rumors and lies

Did you ever make up a story about someone you know?  Ever repeat a story you heard from someone else about someone you know?  In The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mattieu rumors and lies about once popular Alice keep getting bigger and nastier. Her best friend not only no longer speaks to her, but actually contributes to the lies and rumors out of fear of being rejected by the popular girls and losing her place at their table during lunch. Only one person has the courage to reach out to Alice and befriend her, nerdy Kurt.  This is a story about the damage words can do. This is a story about how to destroy someone's reputation in high school. This is a story that teaches you not to believe everything you hear. Everyone has a reason for doing what they do, not one is valid. It is a painful story, hard to read at times, and one that will leave you feeling angry. The story is told over the course of one year by several of Alice's classmates in alternating chapters and we do not hear Alice's voice until the very end of the book.  Alice is a very strong girl who tries very hard to understand why everyone turned on her, and shows admirable courage and resiliency in the face of the cruel attacks.  A short book (only 199 pages) that packs a real punch!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

If you read only one book this year, read this one!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Sinclair family is rich and beautiful. So rich that the patriarch, Harris Sinclair, owns his own island off the coast of Massachussetts and built on it not only a mansion for himself and his wife Tipper, but also 3 additional houses for each of their 3 daughters. Every summer the family gathers for 2 months, and the children of the 3 daughters become very close. After Tipper dies the 3 daughters begin to fight for bits and pieces of the family fortune, placing their teenage children right in the middle, and Harris encourages the bickering until it becomes almost unbearable for the grandchildren to be there. An "outsider" enters the family through the relationship of one of the sisters and she begins to bring his nephew Gat each summer. But something happens the year Cadence turns 15.  She is found wet, cold, barely dressed on the sand on Tiny Beach and because of a suspected head trauma has lost all memory of that summer.  Cady is now 17 and returning to the island for the first time since the accident that caused her amnesia.  The Sinclairs may be rich and beautiful, but it is a severely disfunctional family with secrets to hide. 
Set aside a whole afternoon for this one, because once you start reading you will not want to put it down.  Cady tells fairy tales throughout the story about a king who had 3 daughters, and the stories get more and more gruesome as they go on and tell a story of their own.  The ending is satisfying and surprising.  The story is told in beautiful lyrical language by Cady, who gradually begins to remember bits and pieces of that tragic summer. Read it and pass it on, but do not give away the ending!