Sunday, April 27, 2008


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson follows Melinda's first year in high school. The summer before this year, she attended a party where she eventually called the cops. This action made her lose all of her friends, and she now enters high school as a lonely, quiet girl. As the school year continues, Melinda shares her thoughts and feelings in her own words and begins to explain how and why she closes in on herself eventually choosing barely to speak at all. Soon Melinda shares why exactly she called the cops that night at the party, and the reader begins to acknowledge the pain that she has been through. Read this book if you like stories told by the main character, if you like young adult fiction, or if you like interesting female protagonists. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank is a sort of loose collection of short stories centering around the same character: Jane Rosenal. The stories begin with Jane as a teenager dealing with her family and her older brother's relationship. Other stories follow Jane's relationships with men, with friends, and with family members. Each story stands out on its own, but together they form an overarching story of Jane as a modern woman searching for who she is as a single woman, a career woman, a dating woman, a young woman, and a family woman. The only story that stands out is a story about Jane's neighbors where she does not even make an appearance. The story is warm, complicated, and endearing, but just doesn't seem to fit in this novel about an interesting woman who is just trying to survive in life. Read this book if you like chick flicks, if you like a book you can pick up and read small snippets from, or if you're interested in stories with complicated and real woman as the protagonist. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Rosie by Anne Lamott is a mother-daughter tale that illustrates the struggles and joys of young, single motherhood. Elizabeth and her daughter, Rosie, live near San Francisco. Elizabeth is a beautiful widow who is beginning to realize that she drinks too much and distances herself from others. Rosie is an energetic four-year-old wise beyond her years. Elizabeth and Rosie need each other in more ways than one, and their story is loving, tender, and sometimes even heartbreaking. Read this book if you like mother-daughter stories, if you like chick flicks that aren't trash, or if you enjoy a story that you can relate to. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is Lily's story. She is a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in 1950s South Carolina with no mother, a mean father, and a terrible guilt riding on her shoulders. When Rosaleen, her black nanny, finds herself in jail, Lily finds a way to free them both while searching for answers about her mother. Their search lands them on a beekeeping farm run by three sisters - August, June, and May. The sisters teach Lily more than she could have imagined including the mystery of the Black Mary, Jesus' mother. Lily knows she can never be the same, and neither will you. Read this book if you love strong women, if you like stories infused with a sense of time and place, or if you've heard about the filming and you want to read the book first. I give it a 9 out of 10.