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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
  1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Customer Comments

Beverly B has commented on (198) products.

Numbers by Rachel Ward
Numbers

Beverly B, September 1, 2014

Although labeled a sic-fi/paranormal normal novel, it is the compelling relationship between the two poor, street tough teens that grabs the reader and makes Numbers a memorable story. The sci-fi element is almost irrelevant. Jem's ability to know when people will die is horrifying and isolating, but growing up in a series of abusive foster homes has given her the strength to survive on her own. When she meets Spider, she rejects his attempts at friendship. She can see his time is almost up, and she does not want any more sadness in her life. But luckily for Jem, Spider is persistent. Soon they are on the run together. The tense action events are the catalyst of huge growth and changes in Jem and Spider. Author Rachel Ward creates an authentic, sweet friendship that helps each become a happier, better person.
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Kite Rider by Geraldi Mccaughrean
Kite Rider

Beverly B, September 1, 2014

Kite Rider is a thrill ride of great literature with a perfect setting for a grand adventure - The Mongol Dynasty. Young Hoyou, while just trying to support his family, finds himself at the center of a natural disaster, a kidnapping, a hurricane, a clan war, a family feud, and an organized crime syndicate seeking revenge. Whew! Every chapter is more exciting than the previous ones. A masterpiece.
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Stained by Cheryl Rainfield
Stained

Beverly B, August 30, 2014

Stained is an intense and horrifying story of a teen girl who is forced to transform herself from victim to hero in order to save herself from her psychopathic kidnapper. It is so gripping, I read it in one sitting. But reading it was not a pleasant experience. Nor is it supposed to be. Stained is a powerful but grim character study. Sarah is kidnapped off the street, imprisoned, and abused by a man who works for her father. Sarah knows if she does not escape, she will eventually be killed. Even though she has spent most of her life feeling insecure and powerless, she finds the courage to fight for her sanity and her freedom. The more she learns about how insane her kidnapper is, the more ferociously she works to escape. The ending is a little predictable and anti-climatic, but that is okay. Stained is not supposed to be an action novel. It is a story illustrating the strength and power we all have to overcome unimaginable experiences.
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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
The Great Greene Heist

Beverly B, August 26, 2014

I know I am showing my age by sharing this, but the whole time I was reading The Great Greene Heist, I was thinking about that terrific Robert Redford/Paul Newman movie The Sting. I knew I was being set up for surprise twist at the very end, but no matter how much I tried, I could not figure out all of the angles of the con. I did figure out the key parts, but very few middle grade readers will. They will be delighted and shocked as Jackson Greene's complicated plan to unfix a fixed student body election unfolds. His "Gang Greene" includes tech geeks, cheer leaders, academic all-stars, athletes and office assistants. Not even the members of the gang know all of details of the con, but knowing some Klingon and some Ferengi helps. The Great Greene Heist is clever and entertaining. It will keep middle grade readers engaged and guessing.
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Article 5 (Article 5) by Kristen Simmons
Article 5 (Article 5)

Beverly B, August 8, 2014

Article 5 is entertaining and action packed, has the obligatory romance, and some interesting characters, but is not particularly memorable. A novel has to be outstanding to stand out in a market saturated with YA dystopian novels. Article 5 is not that novel. The government and Constitution are gone and have been replaced with a tyrannical fundamentalist Christian oligarchy. There are hints to a culture war, but no details or back story are provided. (Left out for a prequel?) So, lots of questions go unanswered: What happened to the government and military? How were all of the major cities destroyed? How was a new government set up so quickly? Ember, a normal teen trying to have a normal life, becomes one of the victims of the persecution of the new regime when she, and her mother, are arrested for violating the law that requires all families to be made up of a man, a woman, and children. Ember has no father and her mother no husband. Ember is determined to escape from prison and rescue her mother. Of course, the story ends with our protagonist, who started out very apolitical and unaware, joining the resistance. YA dystopian fans will probably want to read the sequels, if they remember to look for them when they come out.
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