Flash Reviews (22)

Flash Reviews

Fingerprints of YouTitle: Fingerprints of You

Author: Kristen-Paige Madonia

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Source: Gift from a friend–Thank you, Kelly! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads):

Lemon grew up with Stella, a single mom who wasn’t exactly maternal. Stella always had a drink in her hand and a new boyfriend every few months, and when things got out of hand, she would whisk Lemon off to a new town for a fresh beginning. Now, just as they are moving yet again, Lemon discovers that she is pregnant from a reckless encounter—with a guy Stella had been flirting with.

On the verge of revisiting her mother’s mistakes, Lemon struggles to cope with the idea of herself as a young unmarried mother, as well as the fact that she’s never met her own father. Determined to have at least one big adventure before she has the baby, Lemon sets off on a cross-country road trip, intending not only to meet her father, but to figure out who she wants to be.

Flash Review: The cover is what initially drew me to this book. I don’t have any tattoos, but I appreciate the artistry that goes into them. Not long after I started reading Fingerprints of You, I understood the meaning behind the tattoos on the book cover.  Something I really like about Kristen-Paige Madonia’s debut is that even though Lemon is pregnant, this isn’t really a book about teen pregnancy.  I discovered last year while talking with some of my students that many of them won’t read pregnancy books because “they’re all the same.”  I would hand this book to those students and challenge them to read it.  Lemon is a very different character and sometimes hard to relate to, but her story and conflicts are engaging. This is a story about Lemon growing up, realizing where she’s really come from, how to build and maintain relationships, etc. Madonia’s writing is fluid, her cast of characters are interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. I’m sure Fingerprints of You will be a hit in my classroom this year.

**Fingerprints of You is now available in paperback**

A Trick of the LightTitle: A Trick of the Light

Author: Lois Metzger

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Source: Publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.
 
Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
 
Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

Flash Review: Lois Metzger has written an important story because it’s one not often written about (exclusively, that I know of), but it’s a story many of our teen boys know too well. It’s the story of a teenage boy suffering from anorexia. I did, however, have a tough time with the pace in A Trick of the Light. It’s a short book at only 208 pages, so it’s naturally going to move quickly. I needed more of Mike’s background because it seemed like after a couple short chapters, Mike was suddenly anorexic and I didn’t understand exactly why or where it came from.  Part of that could be because Mike’s story is narrated by his eating disorder.  However, I really enjoyed reading this from such a fresh perspective. It took me a few pages to realize that’s who’s narrating the story, but once I did I immediately understood it. I’m happy to add this to my class library and recommend it to my students. I’m looking forward to discussing it with them.

Halloween HustleTitle: Halloween Hustle

Author: Charlotte Gunnufson

Illustrator: Kevan J. Atteberry

Publisher: Two Lions

Source: Publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

In the dark, a funky beat. / Something white with bony feet. / Skeleton dancing up the street, / Doing the Halloween Hustle. Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart! Can Skeleton stay in one piece long enough to make it to the party?

Flash Review: I’m still new to the picture book scene, so I’m not always sure what to say about them or how to review them.  I can say that Halloween Hustle is a delightful picture book full of vibrant images and rhymes on every page.  I can easily picture young children reading this book with their parents around Halloween and dancing with the characters. Charlotte Gunnufson has written the story in rhyme so it reads like a song, hence the title Halloween Hustle.  It’s my hope that my seniors this year will be able to read to a class of first graders, and if we are around Halloween I know they’ll want to read this to them.

Also, I was provided with some images from the book when the publisher sent this. Here are a few snippets of Kevan J. Atteberry’s work:

As always, thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen!

Author Guest Post: Lois Metzger, A Trick of the Light

I recently read A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger (review coming soon) and enjoyed both the story and the point of view from which it’s written.  Lois Metzger has written an important book, so I’m happy to feature her guest post today on the blog.

A Trick of the Light

Anorexia is a Liar
By Lois Metzger
Author of A Trick of the Light

My new book, a young-adult novel about a 15-year-old boy who falls victim to an eating disorder (“A Trick of the Light,” Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins) took me almost ten years to write. It’s not just that I’m a slow writer (though that’s part of it). It’s because I was researching anorexia, which took me down so many twisty paths I needed a long time to understand it.

Basically, as I can now see, there’s what anorexia pretends to be, and what it actually is. Anorexia convinces you that your world will be a better place if you are thin or fit. Anorexia promises you:

You’ll look great and feel great!

But, and this is the crux of the disease, anorexia is a liar.

Many young people and adolescents (though there have been children as young as seven with the disease) fall into anorexia because they are unhappy with their appearance. (Or they’re unhappy with something else, but the focus becomes fixed on the body.) They may begin by restricting certain foods to get rid of a few extra pounds, or exercising to get rid of a flabby stomach.

At first, there may be a few compliments: “You lost weight! You look terrific!” or, as in the case of Mike Welles, the main character in my book, who hasn’t had much experience with girls, a girl says to him, admiringly: “You been working out? It shows.”

This is all the encouragement anorexia needs. It pushes you to keep going, eat less, work out more. If goals are met, new goals must appear and be met (with no end in sight). Generally, in the case of girls and women, they want to see the numbers on a scale go down. For boys and men, it’s more about getting rock-hard abs or a six-pack. Mike, in my book, begins doing sit-ups and push-ups and running laps around a local park. It doesn’t matter if he can barely breathe or gets cramps that feel like a knife in his chest. He keeps going.

So it’s all about looking good or feeling fit, but after a while, these girls, women, men and boys don’t look so good anymore.

They may lose hair or eyelashes. Cuts and bruises don’t heal. They may have a soft coat of fuzz on their faces, backs and chests (because of a lack of food, the body can no longer produce heat, and this hair is the body’s attempt to get warm). Due to a lack of calcium, they may develop osteoporosis; they can’t stand up straight and their bones can break from a simple fall. Too little potassium may result in weakened heart muscles, which can lead to a heart attack.

And the intent — to look great — has actually been reversed. They look wasted, emaciated, skeletal.

In the first stages, they feel good. The compliments, the added energy. Even starvation can give you a bit of a high, and exercise can release endorphins. Mike’s senses are heightened; things look brighter and more vivid. He feels like he’s waking up to the world: “He sees his boring old neighborhood in a whole new way. The slanting light makes everything pop as if it exists in more than three dimensions, a kind of super diorama — front lawn, sidewalk, street, bus, trees, sky, universe, beyond-the-universe.”

But after this initial euphoria, they don’t feel so good.

Besides the dizziness and weakness that come with starvation, they can’t sleep because their bodies are actually de-volving to a kind of caveman existence. As a therapist tells Mike in the book, “A Cro-Magnon man didn’t sleep much — he was always thinking about getting the next meal. His senses had to be at full alert, so he could smell food that was ripe, see a small animal trying to hide in the bushes.”

Body temperature plummets. Getting heat to the heart, lungs and kidneys takes priority over the hands and feet.

So anorexics are cold all the time, and hungry all the time, and can’t sleep (even while protesting they are not freezing, not starving, not exhausted). Here, again, the intent — to feel great — has been lost.

But instead of fighting the disease, they still believe the lie. They are committed to it, or, more accurately, addicted. They deny the reality within them.

My book started out as the story of a boy struggling with an eating disorder. I didn’t really know what that meant, and it took me years to figure out that it’s the story of the struggle to see the lie for what it is.

© 2013 Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light

Author Bio
Lois Metzger,
 author of A Trick of the Light, was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of three previous novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and Harper’s Bazaar. She lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and son.

For more information please visit http://www.loismetzger.com, and follow the author on Facebook

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