JUNE 2013

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie
Jordan Sonnenblick
2004

Contributed by Lauren Theisen, age 13

Are you looking for a book that will make you cry? Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, does just that.   This is a book about a boy named Steven, who recently finds out that his brother has leukemia and how it affects his family and friends emotionally and financially. His brother’s name is Jeffery,  a playful little boy until he finds out about his disease.  Read this book, to find out Steven’s thoughts on his brothers cancer, and if you like it read, “After Ever After” written from little brother Jeffery’s point of view.

This book is written by a man named, Jordan Sonnenblick. He is an American writer and he writes young-adult fiction. A fun fact is also that he was born on the 4th of July.

Lauren is a baker, cook, reader, track and field athlete, food critic, mother of Luna, her dog.  She now adds book reviewer to her long line of credits.

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    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Mark Twain
    1884

    Contributed by Katie Pollack, age 15

    As a result of ones experiences people often change physically or mentally.  In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain a friendship is developed between two unlikely persons, a white boy and a runaway slave.  In the 1800's this relationship is punishable by law however, this doesn't stop Huck.  Few things do.

    Huck is an  adventuresome boy who sees the river in Mississippi as his playground, and Jim, the slave, is his trusted friend.  Throughout the course of the novel the union the characters share strengthens.  Though this relationship is unusual, on numerous occasions the alliance and unity they share is proven legitimate and strengthens.

    Young boys are always getting into trouble, it may be because of something they said or because they are being devious. Huck is no exception.  He is constantly playing pranks on whoever presents themselves to be a handy target.  Often he would not think twice about the consequences of his actions even when it hurts someone or someone he cares about.  Not because he's mean, he just think about these things ahead of time.

    Twain's writing transports the readers to the rivers and islands of Mississippi and makes you part of Huck's many adventures,  The dialect can be tricky at times, but if you let yourself flow--it flows easier. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn  is a classic adventure tale I recommend and, if you've already read it, read it again.  

    Katie Pollack  attends Edgemont High School and read this book at part of her English class.  She admits that while she may not have otherwise read it - she's glad she did.  

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    State of Wonder
    Ann Patchett
    2011

    Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson.  Swenson has all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug. The development of the drug has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina’s assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey to the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor. Along the way, she hunts answers to troubling questions about her friend’s death, the state of her company’s future, and her own past.

    In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss and ultimate discovery.

    About the Author
    Ann Patchett is the author of six novels: State of Wonder, The Patron Saint of Liars , which was a New York Times Notable Book of the YearTaft , which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; The Magician’s Assistant; and Bel Canto.

    Same Shelf
    Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
    Grade A Baby Eggs: A Fertility Memoir, by Victoria Hopewell (reviewed in The Literary Cafe)

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    Vampires in the Lemon Grove
    Karen Russell
    2013

    Karen Russell's collection of short stories is a wonder of imagination.  Each story differs from the next in location and character, but each has a dark streak with a pull.  The title story, "Vampires in the Lemon Grove," is just that--a story of ancient creatures who find the sweetness of a certain Italian lemon grove slake their thirst for blood.

    From there the stories jump to Japan, Australia, the American West and Antarctica.  The locations are ancillary to characters in each story.  You begin each story settling yourself into the narrative, which often starts midway.  As the plot is revealed, you no longer have to suspend belief.  You will buy into the situation as painted by Russell.

    I'm not going any further into the stories, because discovery is part of the joy of this book.  But if you haven't been surprised in a while, read Vampires in the Lemon Grove. 

    Karen Russell won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction and her first novel, Swamplandia! was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.  

    Same Shelf:
    Tenth of December

    George Saunders

    The Interpreter of Maladies
     Jhumpa Luhri

    If you fancy a wine selection to enjoy with your reading, check out are earlier post:  A Wine Fit for a Vampire or a Poet