April 28, 2010

She's So Dead to Us

She's So Dead to Us
Author:  Kieran Scott
Available:  May 25, 2010
ARC courtesy of the author and Around the World Tours

Synopsis:  Ally grew up in an ultra-posh neighborhood.   Her family had to move away because of  financial ruin which also affected the other families in the  neighborhood.  Two years later, Ally and her mom move back to the same town, but cannot afford to live in their old neighborhood.   Ally tries to pick up where she left off, but.......

My view:   This was a quick and enjoyable read.  I liked the pages that showed the month and conversation among  the other teens in town.   Example:  August opens with something like  "Oh.My.God. Guess who is back in town?  Ally Ryan!"


Ally is considered a "Norm" by the ultra-rich "Cresties."   She meets Jake who is a new Crestie.  In fact, Jake moved into Ally's old home after she left.  We read alternate viewpoints of both Ally and Jake.  It was good to read the viewpoints of the guy as well as the girl.


Two thoughts by the time I closed the book:
  • Teenagers can be cruel.  I'm glad I don't have to re-live my teenage years.  Who really wants to be back in high school?
  • Huh?  A cliffhanger ending.   So there's possibly a sequel coming out.   Am curious what happens next.



April 17, 2010

Not God's Type

Not God’s Type: 
A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith
By Dr. Holly Ordway
Synopsis:   How does Holly Ordway, an atheist  professor of English literature change?    She compares atheism to theism, questions what is faith,  and decides  there is a god.   She researches into the life and resurrection of Christ, including reading the Gospels as history,  asking more questions,  ultimately accepting His grace.
Publisher: Moody Publishers, May 1, 2010
Read through the courtesy of Moody Publishes and Netgalley.

My perspective:
I cannot conceive of a person being an atheist.  How can this be?   Look at the stars – God made them.   I remember at the age of 8, telling my best friend’s mother excitedly about Jesus.   When I had the opportunity to read Ordway’s book,  I grabbed  the chance to see her path to conversion.  

As an atheist, Ordway  rationalizes herself out of her emotional reaction to 9/11.   She re-reads poetry and realizes there is something deep in the poems of John Keats “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” and especially John Donne’s  “ Break, blow, burn, and make me new.”  What did these men know?   Ordway feels a new hunger.  She realizes her fencing coach, Josh,  has strong Christian beliefs without being a pushy-type of guy.  He is her intellectual equal, thus they have many conversations about  morality and God.

Some of the philosophical arguments were difficult for me to understand, however Ordway’s  metaphors, which are actually Josh’s metaphors,  are a delight to read.  There’s a paper coffee cup in a casino in Nevada.    She wanders in the countryside of the kingdom, and stands on the edge of a moral precipice.    He speaks of aviation and buying the plane ticket.

Throughout the book, there are Interlude chapters which tell of Ordway’s activities in her church --  and her pilgrimages to cathedrals in England.  I googled  these chapels to look at photos of them.

Two questions that I had while reading Not God’s Type:    I was curious about her own childhood family, and how she was raised.    The Acknowledgment section at the end does  not even mention Josh and Heidi, her tour guides  to the Kingdom!  How could this be?

This is definitely a book I want to pick up and re-read, and even go to  other books she mentions.  In the meantime, her blog is something to relish:   Hieropraxis.

CymLowell

April 5, 2010

Mockingbird

author:  Kathryn Erskine
Released April 15, 2010 
ARC received in Around the World Tours.
___________________
Caitlin is almost 11.    She has Asperger's, and emphasizes she is not autistic.   She has early intervention and pull-out sessions  in her school with  Mrs. Brook, her counselor.  At times, Caitlin says things that makes Mrs. Brook's head do a turtle jerk.    

Caitlin discovers the word CLOsure and decides she wants this.  How Caitlin learns empathy and CLOsure make the body of this delightful book.

If you know anyone with Asperger's, this book is even more meaningful.      I have  worked with  students with Asperger’s.    We also had a woman with Asperger’s in our adult Sunday School class.

I’m reminded of one student I had both in the second grade and in high school.    The student would come into my office ANGRY because of someone else.   When telling the student the other person’s side of the issue,  I often drew comic strips with word balloons.   That helped show perspective and the child would go,  “ah. I understand.   But that’s still  not fair.”  

Mockingbird has recently been nominated for the first BFYA (ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults award) to be given in 2011.   It well deserves this award!