Author Eric Lindstrom understands teens struggles are real. Mel’s struggles are bigger than some but none the less normal. Especially for teens.
Mel is trying her best. Trying to pretend things are fine and she is fine. Mel is far from fine but she is loved and has great support. Sometimes that isn’t enough.
Teens are hard on each other partly because they are hard on themselves. Mel and her friends are no different.
Mel needs all the strength she can muster to navigate her reality. The support is there but will she let them help her?
Realistic look at bipolar life in a family that has more than their share.
Funny, sad and uplifting.
The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
The family arrive off the boat on a stormy night to an isolated island community. Father is a noted scientist trying to outrun something that happened before they left home. Her mother is trying to keep up appearances and her little brother needs attention.
She suspects that her father is up to something so does some spying. He seems unbalanced and she is worried. She is smart in a world that doesn’t admire smart girls.
Tragic events unfold but Faith is smart and she stays strong. The social commentary is telling as the women of the family try to salvage a life for themselves.
Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills
Dan’s live in girlfriend Clara abruptly leaves him without a trace after four years. She leaves her dog, named Doggo, that she rescued from the shelter. Dan is pretty distressed. Doggo is an extremely ugly dog. Dan tries to return the dog the shelter but changes his mind and takes him back home.
Dan is between jobs but his reputation is good and he gets a great offer. He will only accept if he is allowed to bring Doggo to work with him. The boss makes the unpopular decision to allow this as long as Doggo behaves.
Dan is happy in his new job. Doggo seems happy too.
This is a light, funny read with dastardly co-workers, a dog that seems smarter than he looks and enough of a story to satisfy.
This House Is Haunted by John Boyne
Set in 1860’s England. After her fathers death Eliza is left alone in London. She sees and advertisement for a governess position in a large estate in the country and applies. She receives a prompt offer of the position without knowing how many children or what ages. Despite some misgivings she decides she needs a change and accepts.
She arrives at the gothic mansion in the evening and is met by two unusual children Isabella (12) and Eustace (7) but no adults. Over time she discovers why the children’s parents aren’t around.
The locals she meets become circumspect when they find out where she is living. She comes to believe the house is haunted and her life may be in danger. With little help from the locals she is isolated in the home.
This well developed mystery kept me guessing. John Boyne, author of favorites of mine The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas and The House of Special Purpose, has weaved a story of suspense with interesting historical and social commentary of the time.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Absolutely great kid literature. Funny, adventurous and a bit farcical. For independent boys or girls age 8+ or a terrific read aloud.
I listened to the audio version, would be fun for a family car trip.