Buried

Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready.

Claudine has been her alcoholic mother’s support and keeper since she was a small child.   Her mother had been clean for almost a year when she left Claudine.  Claudine builds a story around her mother going to rehab in one of the most prestigious clinics in the area, making it seem as if everything is fine and under control.  But they aren’t.  Claudine begins to forget things, agonizing over stains in the carpet and clean cupboards.  Her school work suffers, and she keeps waking up covered in dirt.  The novel is a grippingly slow look at a girl trapped in a situation where she cannot admit the truth.

The author has created a novel of suspense and mystery wrapped in the guise of a teen situational novel.  Teen readers of both genres will appreciate the skillful storytelling, detailed and complete characterizations, and Claudine as the perfect flawed lens through which to view her own life. 

I don’t want to give many details here because the book has such an intense and agonizing story.  No spoilers here!  Just know that it will keep you reading almost straight through just so you can know how it all turns out.  What more could you ask for in a novel?

Bounce

Bounce by Natasha Friend.

Published September 2007.

I really enjoyed Friend’s Lush, a story of an alcoholic teen, and this book is another winner. 

Evyn’s father is marrying a woman that she has never met and dragging her and her brother to another city to live with the woman and her five children!  Evyn, who just wants to be back in her normal life with her best friend, finds herself in a room with twin teen sisters and her best friend seems to be building a life without her.  Evyn’s stepbrother is considered one of the hottest boys their age, and she is drawn into a strained friendship with the most popular girls in her new school.  It isn’t until Evyn is true to herself and discovers who she really is that she learns how to bounce back.

Friend’s writing is just so crystal clear and clean.  It makes reading a real joy and will appeal to girls who read lighter fiction, even though there is plenty here to dig into.  Her characters are equally well rendered with personalities that grow and change but in the most believable ways possible.  I particularly enjoyed this large step family of teenagers who are all so very different and uniquely drawn.  That alone speaks to the skill of Friend’s writing.

Recommended for girls who read books like Gossip Girl, or The Clique.  This could serve as a great gateway to better literature with its friendly subject matter but also depth.

Censorship Resources Wiki

The amazing Richie Partington (who not only writes incredible book reviews, has impeccable taste, but also seems to read faster than any other human) has created a wiki for Censorship Resources.  The wiki is a work in progress but already has fascinating links to organized censorship efforts, ALA resources, recent challenges and articles.