Saffy's Angel

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay
I just finished this book on audio cassette. I adored it! I enjoyed the entire Casson family since they were all complete characters with their own issues and triumphs, even the parents. I wanted to go to the banana house and help unearth Saffy’s angel from the layers of debris in the house. I wanted to walk on the lawn filled with hamsters and guinea pigs. I wanted to peek into Eve’s shed and see Rose’s incredible artwork myself. And luckily, through the writing, I got to do just that.
My only complaint is with the cover art. Going by the cover, one would think that this is an old-fashioned story set in the distant past, rather than a hip story filled with driving lessons, flirting, nose studs, and friends who arrive by wheelchair. I would say that due to the cover art, this could be a hard sell to get in the hands of the right kids. Girls who enjoy modern books will like this one. It is such a well written and completely conceived book.

Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Feed is one of those books that I had been meaning to get to for some time. It is a social satire set in the near future where everyone’s brains have been directly connected to the Internet through a feed. The feed sends a constant barrage of news, advertisements and communication to people.
I listened to Feed on audio cassette after starting it in book form and having too many other books to read. Feed is very enjoyable in audio format. The commercials that are mixed into the book were complete with music, giving the listener a true sense of being on the feed.
The society created in this book is what it is all about. It is a world that the reader can certainly see coming. Even the jargon that the teens use rings true. I found myself enveloped in the world and even thinking in the jargon.
My one complaint with the book is that I would have liked to have understood the characters better. I wanted to see under their skin more than I did, especially Violet.
I would recommend this to mature teens who can handle the strong language and understand the satire. Boys will certainly enjoy it as well as girls. This would be a great book for book talking, since the feed concept alone will sell it to kids.

Fame and Glory

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O’Connor (0-374-32258-9)
Bird is an outcast at school with no friends, but she has a wonderful neighbor, Miss Delphine, who keeps on telling her that she can take care of things. Bird has two dreams, one for fame and glory if only for one day and the other to go to Disney World. When Harlem, another outcast, arrives in town, Bird decides that they will become friends. Bird uses the school spelling bee to approach Harlem, believing that the two of them can make her two dreams come true.
This is a refreshing book because the characters are a lifelike mix. Mistakes are made and admitted and fixed. Friendships are rocky. Characters break free of stereotypical roles. A wonderful humor-laced glimpse into real life.
This book is that perfect length of just over 100 pages that kids are often looking for for school assignments. It would be of interest to both boys and girls in elementary school with its girl and boy protagonists. Bird is a spunky girl, something I am always looking for in children’s books.