When an accident leaves teenage cousins Meline and Jocelyn parentless they are sent to live with their unknown and eccentric Uncle Marten on a private Island that has a tragic past of it’s own. Quirky characters and outlandish situations weave a story that is as humorous as it is bizarre. It’s a story about the possibility –and impossibility of new beginnings and the truths that make us who we are.

Advertisements

Caleb Becker has spent the past year in juvenile detention. His crime? A hit and run while drunk driving. His Victim? Maggie Armstrong– who happened to be his twin sister’s best friend and also his next door neighbor.

It’s a year after the accident-Caleb has been released from lock up and Maggie is still learning how to walk again.

Two people, bonded together by tragedy, shunned by the rest of the world… What happens when the very person who hurt you becomes the only person you can trust?

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkes

*Notes on my categorization for the appropriate age levels for this book:

As always, the final decision about “appropriate age level” is hard to generalize…it ultimately depends on the reader. Although SLJ gave this book a 9+ recommendation for “mild cursing and some sexual scenes” I feel comfortable recommending it to several of my older middle school readers(7th and 8th graders) who have read/are reading The Gossip Girls, The Boyfriend List, and TTYL.

Seventeen-year-old Alice Tully is finally starting to feel comfortable. She has a boyfriend, a job, a place to live with a kindly woman, and plans to attend college. But things haven’t always been so peaceful for her—in fact, Alice hasn’t always been Alice. Six years before, her name was Jennifer Jones, and she was convicted for murdering her best friend. The British press had been fascinated by her story and now that she has been released they want to find out where she is, and who she has become. Alice isn’t sure what she has become, or what she deserves. Does she deserve to be happy after what she did? As Alice tries to protect her new identity her past comes back to haunt her. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy is a gripping and thought provoking thriller about who we are and what we can become.

*Librarians should be aware that there is some discussion of sex within the book.  Alice contemplates losing her virginity with her boyfriend and some passages describe their physical relationship. It is never gratuitous or too graphic but it is present.

Louise Collins is 13 years old when she is yanked out of school to protest desegregation in New Orleans. Instead of going to class, Louise spends her days helping out around the boardinghouse her mother runs. Her mother, Pauline, spends her days participating in protests down at the school. Pauline is one of the Cheerleaders, a group of women who lead the crowd in hate filled chants as 6 year old Ruby Bridges walks up the steps to the school every morning.. But Louise doesn’t really mind not going to school, and she doesn’t think much about the fact that her mother spends her mornings heckling a 6 year old girl.

“Looking back people tend to think that there were two sides of the line on the segregation issue in the Ninth Ward, but there weren’t, at least not where I lived. Not at the beginning, anyway. Just about everyone in the Ninth Ward believed in segregation, including the Negroes, It was one of those things that you assumed everyone agreed on or you didn’t think that much about. I was in the latter category. I never thought to think any other way.” (pg 53-54)

But when Morgan Miller, a man with a mysterious past comes to town everything Louise knows about her mother, her world, and herself changes—forever. An unflinching look at hate, violence, and courage—My Mother the Cheerleader is a tour de force that shows just how slow, confusing and dangerous change can be.