Friday, August 31, 2012

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

This entry would have been much different had I done it last week when I started it. Since that time, I got to hang out with Lauren Myracle. I must tell you she is totally cool and amazing. If you ever get the chance to meet her or hear her speak you should. In the mean time, you should read her books - maybe this one.

Since I read Shine, I have read three other books by Lauren - all exploring the relationships between young women. Of course there is much more to the books than that, but that is what I take from them. Being a guy, the insight into the interactions between the teen girls is new to me, and I find it interesting.

In this story, Carly is returning to Holy Redeemer, a Christian Preparatory School (made up of rich, society kids) after spending part of her summer doing rough and dirty service work in the wilds of Tennessee. She wants to be real and not plastic like so many of the girls at her school. She is happy that her younger sister Anna will be joining her for the first time at Holly Redeemers. If only it were that easy for Carly...

One unexpected turn is that her sister is now hot - meaning her breast size has increased enormously. How many times on the first day of school must Carly endure people telling her how hot her little sister is? Then there is her disastrous haircut she gets when her dad will not pay for the good stylist. Carly is just not like the others in her school - socially or religiously. A new friend, a guy she likes, a sadistic gym teacher, a party out of control and some lost little baby ducks all make up for an up and down year for Carly.

I think Lauren does an excellent job creating a characters with depth. Carly makes mistakes - some are frustrating, but they make her more real. I don't know which Lauren Myracle book I will read next, but I look forward to getting know more of her characters.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle

I wish I could say that I read this book because I heard it was wonderful and was highly recommended or I just know a good book when I see it. Not the case. In a few weeks (everything going as planned) I will have the opportunity to meet and speak with Lauren Myracle. I must confess I have never read one of her books. Of course, I have heard of her and I am familiar with her books, but I have never taken the time to read one. What magical process did I use to decide that this would be the first Lauren Myracle book I would read? It was the only one I could get my hands on for the weekend. And what a lucky bit of fate that turned out to be.

This is a powerful story about teen girl searching for the person (or persons) who brutally beat her former best friend Patrick. Cat has not spoken to Patrick or really anyone in three years. Something happened that caused her withdrew into herself leaving any friends she had behind including her brother Christian.

Cat had heard all the slurs aimed at Patrick. It's not easy to be openly homosexual in her small town, but Patrick withstood the scorn. Cat's brother and his friends welcomed Patrick into their group, but even some of them teased him about being gay. It was one night while Patrick was closing up at the convenience store that he was beaten and a gasoline nozzle shoved in his mouth. Now Patrick is in a coma, and the local police are getting nowhere with their investigation.

Cat must come out of her self imposed retreat to help Patrick, but some do not want Cat to find the truth. Cat has a miraculous journey along the way discovering new friends and rediscovering old ones and learning a lot about herself.

I highly recommend this book. I can't wait to find what else Lauren Myracle has written.

For more information about this book, check out the Evergreen Library catalog.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Sexuality is a powerful force in the world. What does it mean to be male or female? Is it physical appearance? Is it the emotions and thoughts on the inside of a person? It is a confusing thing sometimes. When you are a young adult trying to sort out who you are and where you belong in the world, thoughts of sex can be overwhelming and make life all the more puzzling.

Logan is still recovering from breaking up with Brenda, his girlfriend of four years. He thought they would always be together, but she cheated on him. Enter Sage, the new girl in school who breezes into biology class with confidence like Logan has never seen. She is nothing like anyone else in the small Missouri town and Logan is immediately drawn to her.

What confuses Logan is her reluctance to act upon some of the obvious feelings she has for him. She will touch him flirtatiously one moment but pull away at the beginning of a kiss. The more he learns of her strict parents and their double standard between Sage and her younger sister the more frustrated Logan becomes.

The secret Sage must finally reveal is that she is a boy. At least she was born that way - she considers herself a girl even though physically she isn't. I knew this going in to the story and the tension was almost unbearable as I waited for Logan to find out the truth. This reveal is only beginning to of the story and the complicated relationship between Logan and Sage. It is a journey with no easy answers as Logan questions his attraction to Sage and worries about how he will be perceived if the truth ever gets out. Sage must deal with the fact that she cannot truly live the life she wants and needs.

This book is incredible. I don't know why it took me so long to read it since I loved Brian Katcher's Playing with Matches. The characters and the situations are so gut wrenchingly believable. There are only a few moments of peace between Logan and Sage because her situation is never far from either of their minds.

This is a subject not often explored in young adult books. I am thankful Brian Katcher wrote such a great book to open our eyes to the struggle transgender people must face.

For more information about this book, check out the Evergreen Library catalog or the author's site.