Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I listened to this one on audio in the car, sometimes driving with tears running down my face.
I had thought that I had this one pegged, a group of girls share a pair of pants for the summer. They serve to tie the friendship and the story together. Fine.
But then I got caught up in the writing which is beautiful. The imagery is inventive and revealing, making the whole story sing, especially in audio format.
And the language led me straight into caring vastly for these different girls, so varied and yet so understandable. The story gives a glimpse into a single summer in their lives that demonstrates that they are human, all make mistakes, and all survive to fix them.
I know that there is a sequel and it will go straight onto my list to be read. This book is for teen girls. Any type of teen girl will find themselves somewhere on these pages.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech (0-06-029290-3)
The book I just finished, Olive’s Ocean, was also about a 12-year-old girl and her special relationship with her grandmother. But the two books and the two grandmothers are special in different ways.
As Granny Torrelli mixes her soup and makes her pasta, she tells stories about her childhood friend. That relationship mirrors Rosie’s with her friend Bailey, who is blind. Wonderfully, Bailey’s blindness does not slow him down at all, but complicates Rosie’s feelings towards him. The angst and wonder of friendship are captured here among the smell of great cooking.
Boys and girls alike will enjoy this story. It is a fast and easy read appropriate for sharing in classrooms, since it will generate conversations about disabilities, friendship, and grandparents.

Olive's Ocean

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (0-06-053543-1)
When Henkes is not charming us with the mice in his picturebooks, he is amazing us with the depth of his characterization in his books for older children. Martha, the 12-year-old protagonist, is learning a lot during two weeks of her summer. She learns about wanting to be a writer, about her relationship with her grandmother, about cruelty, and about bravery.
This book will be enjoyed by girls in particular as they watch Martha sort through some confusing times in her summer. It is a story driven more by character than by action, leaving the reader with a quiet, serene ending that is as refreshing as an ocean breeze.

Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block
Ah, one of my all-time favorite authors. In her Witch Baby and Weetzie Bat books, her language sang and flowed like magic. I see from her site that I have missed some of her more recent titles. I’ll have to add them to my overlong reading list.

Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot
Homepage for the author of the wildly popular Princess Diaries series. I was surprised to find out that Meg Cabot also writes under the name Jenny Carroll, another popular YA series author. Very useful information when trying to lead kids to more books they would enjoy.