Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sketchy by Olivia Samms

Bea can see into other people's minds. Not like reading other's minds, but when she looks at them with her sketch pad and pencil in hand she draws what they are thinking about. It started when she was in rehab. Bea is a recovering addict - 3 months sober when the book starts and heading to public school after getting kicked out of private school. Her mother no longer trusts her and makes her test her urine regularly.

It is fortunate for Bea that Chris an old acquaintance from art camp goes to the school. He doesn't judge her like everyone else. She only confesses her 'power' to him when she thinks she can help catch a rapist.

One of the popular girls, Willa, is found alive after having been attacked like two other girls (except they were killed). Bea saw the rapist face in Willa's mind but can't convince her to come forward and tell the police everything she knows.

This is the start of a new series, so hopefully some questions will be answered in future installments. It's a promising start with a smart, no-nonsense character.

For more info, check out the Evergreen Library catalog and the author's site.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September Girls by Bennett Madison

Strange book. For me, at least. I kind of knew what was going on from the beginning, but not exactly. I suspected things, but not all the details. Could I be anymore vague? Let me give it a try.

Sam and his brother and dad leave their suburban home suddenly before the end of the school year to spend the summer in a beach town. It has been several months since his mom left them for a different life. Sam's dad has been flailing about since and decided they all need a change of scenery.

Their summer rental home is right on the beach but more run down and weather worn than one might hope. The dad quickly takes up treasure hunting with a metal detector leaving Sam and his older brother, Jeff, mostly on their own. Jeff has been away at college and missed much of the drama surrounding his mother's departure and the aftermath.

So while everything in the small beach town seems old and in need of upkeep, there is definitely something unique happening - the town is filled with beautiful young women (who for some reason keeping giving 17 year old Sam the eye - much to his brother's displeasure). The women are not just the average girl you would find in your own home town. They all have some mystique about them (and they all look very similar). We as readers are given some very ambiguous dialogue from one of the girls (in between chapters narrated by Sam). It is kind of unnerving in that I never knew exactly what was being revealed even after reading the sections. But I kept with it as Sam and Jeff were drawn to the girls, two in particular, Kristle and DeeDee.

Sam hangs out with DeeDee and does normal things (like go to parties), but the girls do not behave like any Sam has met before. He is entranced and frustrated at the same time.

In some ways, reading this book was like sitting on the beach in the hot sun for too long. You were happy you went to the beach, but you wonder if it was worth staying the extra hour. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret reading this book. It's just very different from what I normally read. I will  leave you to decide on your own what you think about these mysterious girls in this odd small beach town and the effect it all has on these two brothers.

For more info, check out the Evergreen Library catalog and the author's site.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey & Aaron McConnell

It is amazing how a graphic novel can take a complex subject and not only make it understandable but truly enjoyable. My first thought was how could they make a graphic novel from a such a short speech (lasting less then 300 words). The author expands upon the speech's text by examining the meaning behind each line. It is a trip through a sad, violent and shameful part of our history where slavery was legal and by some people's arguments moral.

I have never read an account that covers the events leading up to the civil war, the war itself and the aftermath with such clarity. Looking from our current place in history,  it is hard to read some of the arguments made in favor of slavery. People used economics, religion, politics and any other number or reasons to keep the institution of slavery preserved. People passionately believed in the reasons, too. It's why the Civil War was so bloody and much longer than people predicted.

But the Civil War was not driven just by slavery. The long struggle (going back to the creation of the Constitution) is also about the role of the federal government and how much power it should wield over state governments. Like so many other times in history, this is a complicated series of events involving many people across many decades.

The words Lincoln spoke 150 years ago are still relevant. We live in a world full of people who are persecuted, held captive and killed for nothing more than their race or gender or sexual orientation. I highly recommend this to anyone - it may help us understand where we have been and how we can shape where we are going.

For more info, check out the Evergreen Library catalog.