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Interviews | April 8, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Gabrielle Zevin: The Powells.com Interview



Gabrielle ZevinThe American Booksellers Association collects nominations from bookstores all over the country for favorite forthcoming titles. The Storied Life of... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    Gabrielle Zevin 9781616203214

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Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com has commented on (353) products.

What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren
What the Moon Said

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, April 3, 2014

Esther’s Ma pays attention to a lot of signs to keep her family safe. Frequent occurrences, like seeing a ring around the moon or a spider before breakfast, have to be analyzed to determine whether they will bring good luck or bad. And when it comes to Ma, Esther feels like she always needs good luck.

The family lives in Chicago at the start of the Great Depression, but when Pa loses his job, they all move to a farm in Wisconsin. The place is run-down, has no electricity or indoor plumbing, and requires lots of hard work, but Esther finds joy in country life. She doesn’t understand why Ma is always looking for signs to help direct their lives, but Esther is also looking for signs��"actions that will tell her that Ma truly loves her even though she always seems to be messing up.

What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren is fun to read because Esther’s voice is innocent, hopeful, and trusting. She wants to believe her mother loves her, buy Ma is not one to show her emotions outwardly. Always focused on the tasks at hand, she doesn’t take time for hugs and kisses. It’s not until Esther experiences a few setbacks and begins to see the faults in other lives she thought were perfect, that she truly sees how Ma shows love.

Esther is lively, thoughtful, considerate, and wholly irresistible. You’ll fall in love with her as she struggles to understand the people in her own family as well as the world around her. I highly recommend What the Moon Said for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 8 to 12.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Maybe One Day

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, April 3, 2014

Zoe has been best friends with Olivia since elementary school, spending long hours dancing ballet in an elite program and hanging out together. But when the ballet program cuts them because they’re not quite good enough, they suddenly find themselves wondering what they’ll do with the extra time. Olivia volunteers at a community center dance program until she’s diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Without her best friend at school, Zoe is suddenly adrift, questioning who she is without Olivia and wondering how God can let a young, vibrant teen get so sick.

Zoe is right beside Olivia during her treatment, and she’s a great support to Olivia’s family too. But as the months drag on, Zoe discovers than cancer and it’s treatment takes a toll on everyone who knows and loves the person fighting it.

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor delves into the difficult issues that arise when someone is being treated for a serious illness. Olivia’s parents constantly question whether they’re doing the right thing. Physicians don’t always know the best course of action. Friends on the sideline can feel helpless. Zoe struggles to find where she fits into it all. She feels like part of the family, yet there are times Olivia’s mom says no visitors, which includes her. Because Olivia is so important to her, she can’t concentrate in school and she skips classes sometimes to be at the hospital. Her grades start to slide.

Then there’s Calvin. A guy Olivia has a crush on but who grows close to Zoe in Olivia’s absence. There are also thoughts about college applications and what comes after high school in two years. It’s all a bit overwhelming, and Kantor does a great job of revealing Zoe’s conflicting emotions.

Maybe One Day is a great book for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up to read and discuss issues about friendship, what to do to support someone with an illness, religious faith during difficult times, and finding inner reserves to get through the worst situations while learning about yourself in the process.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh
The Moon Sisters

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, April 3, 2014

As sisters, Jazz and Olivia Moon could not be more different. Jazz is practical and sensible, and since she’s the older sister she’s also had to be responsible for Olivia, a free spirit who tends to wander where her dreams take her. When their mother dies, most likely from suicide, they respond as expected. Jazz bottles up her emotions and wants to move on. Olivia wants to fulfill her mother’s dream by traveling to the cranberry bogs of West Virginia in search of an elusive natural phenomenon that will complete her story.

Setting off together, the two encounter unexpected obstacles and meet others who will change the course of their journey��"tattoo-covered Hobbs whose ink seems to hide more than his skin and crusty Red Grass, who has a hidden interest of his own. As their stories converge, secrets are revealed that threaten to tear them all apart.

The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh is a story of sisters, mothers and daughters, and the ways that family members can both hurt each other and lift each other up. Lyrically told, the story shows how the secrets we hold close push away those who may help us deal with the difficulties in life.

Even though the sisters are so different, Walsh brilliantly captures the essence of each, revealing their flaws, strengths and vulnerabilities. I found myself lingering over passages, taking in the words to consider their meaning beyond the story Walsh created. I highly recommend The Moon Sisters for adult book clubs or mother-daughter groups with girls aged 16 and up. Issues to discuss include expectations put on family members and how that can affect behavior, making judgments about those who are different than us, forgiveness, and meeting family obligations versus following your dreams.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan
Skin and Bones

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, April 3, 2014

Jack is in a program for people with eating disorders because his parents want him to be there. He knows the truth: his thin frame looks good and he could even stand to lose a few pounds. Jack has been obsessed about his weight ever since middle school when a store clerk assessed his size and handed him a pair of “husky” jeans. He doesn’t think he needs to change.

As he gets to know the other members in his six-week, live-in program he sees people who are just as obsessed with food as he is, some with eating it, some with not eating it. He’s attracted to Alice, a young, anorexic ballerina who has been in and out of treatment several times. As Jack sees the things Alice does to lose weight, he starts to reassess his own point of view. He and others in the program experience group sessions, family meetings, and individual therapy, but it isn’t until one of their own suffers a crisis that the true meaning of what they’re dealing with becomes evident.

Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan looks at the nature of eating disorders and how they can affect the lives and threaten the health of teens and young adults. With Jack, nicknamed Bones in the program, and his roommate Lard, an overeater, Shahan shows that girls aren’t the only ones who get eating disorders. She also really gets the voice of a teen struggling with issues around food. Jack believes he is healthy. He will do anything to burn off the extra calories he’s required to consume each day. Readers get to see why he thinks the way he does and why it’s so difficult to change that thinking.

Skin and Bones is a great way for moms and daughters in book clubs to approach a difficult topic and discuss it. What is the danger of eating disorders? Why can’t those who have them see their actions are hurting them? How do you react to someone you care about who has one? There are also facts about eating disorders and a list of resources in the back of the book. I recommend Skin and Bones for groups with girls aged 14 and up.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Peter Panda Melts Down! by Artie Bennett
Peter Panda Melts Down!

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, February 24, 2014

Peter Panda is a typical toddler, happy one minute, throwing a tantrum to get what he wants the next. That’s part of what makes Peter Panda Melts Down such a great picture book for parents to read with their young children. They can see themselves in Peter’s situations, and maybe laugh a bit about all the drama.

As Peter and his mom go about their daily lives, they do things like go to the grocery store, visit the library and stop by the playground. At each stop, Peter is happy for a while, but then when something happens like he drops a toy in the car, or asks for sweets he can’t have at the grocery store, or has to leave the playground, he melts down. Mama Panda is very patient…most of the time. Author Artie Bennett has captured the ups and down that make getting through days with a toddler so difficult sometimes, and he’s done it with humor.

Reading the book is a great way for parents and kids to look at all those situations during calm moments and possibly talk about what to expect the next time they happen. Illustrations by John Nez do a great job of capturing the expressions to go along with the emotions expressed in each setting. It all comes together to make Peter Panda Melts Down a book to read again and again.

The author gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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