A tragic kind of wonderful by Eric Lindstrom 

 

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.

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How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

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T has been shot in the street by a white man.  Was he armed?  Was it self-defence?  Why do all the witnesses have a different version of what went down?

Very, very good. Short chapters, easy flow, hard hitting reality of living in a bad neighbourhood. Either running into or away from gangs. The desperation, poverty, hopelessness is tragic but sympathetically written.

You don’t always have a choice whether you join a gang or not. The boys of Peach Street don’t have many choices. It’s either the Stingers or the Kings. The girls don’t have much hope either.

This book should draw in reluctant boys 13+ but is a gripping read for all ages. Strong girl / women characters.

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

by Amélie Sarn translation by  Y. Maudet

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I Love I Hate I loved this book.
Set in the present with French sisters of Algerian Muslim descent. They choose different paths, one western and one traditional. Both paths have difficulty and hardship.
One sister gets left behind. She remembers how much she loved her sister even when she hated her. She would like another chance to protect her sister.
She must live with the consequences of both of their decisions. Her family has moved on but she can’t.
Realistically written. I have a much better understanding of current issues of muslim women living in the west. This fiction took the gloss and some of the mystery of another culture away for me.

Well written with a solid ending, a satisfying read.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

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Set in Sri Lanka during the civil war. A story of love and loss. A story of culture and difference.
In the South two families of different backgrounds living in the same house. War separates them with one family immigrating to USA. Later their paths cross again in Sri Lanka when the sisters come back to work with refuge children. A lost love is found.
In the North one family living in hardship and fear of the day their children are taken for soldiers. At 13 you are old enough to serve. The parents can’t protect their children from the army or the enemy. One daughter is damaged and then taken by the Tamil Tigers for training. The ultimate soldier becomes a martyr.
A peek inside another world. A world of tragedy and tradition, of love and prejudice.  The story ends with hope and thoughts of the future in a country no longer at war with itself.