Monday, August 23, 2010

This Gorgeous Game--Donna Freitas

When 17 year old Olivia wins a prestigious writing contest sponsored by award winning author Father Mark Brennan, she can't believe her good luck. Being a writer is her life's dream, and winning this contest will set her on her career path. When Father Mark offers to mentor her in the ways of writing, Olivia couldn't be happier. As a devoted Catholic and completely dedicated to her writing career, Olivia believed being mentored by Father Mark would take her places she would never reach on her own.

But when Father Mark begins to call and text her multiple times an hour, follow her, and completely dominate her time, Oliviae starts to realize their relationship isn't typical. Although Father Mark hasn't touched her in any way, Olivia can still tell that something is inappropriate about their interactions. But soon the situation spirals out of her control and she has to dig deep inside herself to try and find her way out... and to still find the love for writing that started it all.

Donna Freitas has written a tale of an inappropriate relationship between a priest and a young girl, but she has done it in a respectful, not sensationalized way. She does not dismiss all priests or Catholicism as wrong; in fact I would think readers who are Catholic might be pleased with the way she portrays the religion. I would easily recommend this book to youth who like clean, religious fiction even though the subject matter seems so appalling. Personally, I didn't enjoy it much but only because it's not quite my literary cup of tea... but in general, I found it to be well written and there is a subset of teens out there who will be looking for a book like this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend-- Emily Horner

Things that are happening during the summer before Cass's senior year in high school:

Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.
A badass solo bike ride from Illinois to California (kinda).
A musical which should have stared Julia, but instead stars Heather, the girl who mercilessly called Cass a dyke in front of the whole school.
Self discovery.
Two first kisses.

Something that happened in the spring:

Julia, Cass's best friend and secret (even to herself) girlcrush is killed in a car accident... and Cass's world implodes. Her hippy-liberal-Quaker parents encourage Cass to find her way out of the blackness, and Cass decides to do so by making a cross country bike trip, alone, to scatter Julia's ashes in the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Cass and Julia's friends decide to produce Julia's legacy, the musical she'd been slaving over "Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad."

This book is told in Then and Now passages, isn't linear, and is totally compelling. I literally couldn't put it down. Sometimes YA coming of age stories are unrealistically good (ahem, John Green), but this one really communicates how boundaries in the mind can be blurry, and how easy it can be to trick yourself into believing a lie... basically just like real life. I also found this book to be quite well written and will be keeping it in mind when it's time to select titles for Mock Printz!