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Melissa Montecuollo has commented on (4) products.

Almost Home by Joan Bauer
Almost Home

Melissa Montecuollo, December 22, 2012

I personally have been a Joan Bauer fan since I was a kid, and even though I'm well into adulthood, I love reading all her books. She has a unique way of capturing the young adult experience through hardship, especially when it comes to parental relationships. Many times as I have read her books, I think, "this is what I was feeling as a kid." She writes honestly in a way that captures the human spirit and speaks of the soul of her main characters.
Her main character, Sugar, shows a remarkable amount of human strength as she not only has to care for herself during her time of homelessness but also for her mother who falls into a mental breakdown from the experience. Bauer writes of adolescents who overcome great odds and Sugar finds her own voice throughout the experience. It is a tale of healing, redemption, and family that is profound for the adult to read, but written well enough for younger children to understand the character growth and experience.
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Bossypants by Tina Fey

Melissa Montecuollo, August 6, 2012

Bossypants is like standup comedy in a written form. I cannot count how many times I laughed out loud at Tina's honest and candor that she put in the book. From her stories to her times at theater summer camp, to her first job in improv, to her thoughts on parenthood there is a little something in this book for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. Certainly after reading this book, I had a new appreciation for the sketches on Saturday Nigh Live and 30 Rock. Like many memoirs there is no definite plot scheme, but the stories Tina tells are worth the read. She tells them in a bold honest way (and would expect anything less of Tina Fey in the first place) and you may find yourself laughing when describes how she got her first period (well, only the girls may laugh for they will understand her confusion in the tale). I will warn you, this book is difficult to put down, and when read in a public place may result in laughter out loud so be prepared for others to stare at you. I assure you, they are jealous because you are reading a book with such comedic power and they are not.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Life of Pi

Melissa Montecuollo, August 6, 2012

When I first got the book, I expected an epic tale of a boy's survival on a boat with a tiger. I expected action and adventure, perhaps a little suspense and I believe that expectation resulted in me having a difficult time getting through the book. This book is more of a boy's journey from boyhood to manhood as he processes through religion, life, existence, and being stranded on a boat with a tiger. It would better be seen (as a future reader) as Pi's own journal of his thoughts and struggles through his life in India, through trying to have three different religions, and one time, and through him wrestling with the comparison of life to a zoo.
This book is heavy read, with lots of descriptions than can often seem overwhelming or tiresome. If one enjoys philosophy, religion, or the discussion of zoo animals then I would recommend this book. If one wanted to see a battle between a boy and a tiger then I would seek to find an action book instead.
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Esperanza Renace / Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza Renace / Esperanza Rising

Melissa Montecuollo, August 6, 2012

I really enjoyed reading this book for several reasons. One it tells a unique story of a girl from Mexico trying to fit in after just moving to the United States. Many stories we hear about immigrants moving from Mexico to the US to work in the fields are stories of those living in desolate poverty in Mexico and come to America for a better life. Esperanza and her family lived in extreme wealth on a ranch in Mexico but through a series of terrible events are forced to flee Mexico for their personal safety. As the story story unfolds, it becomes not just a tale of a little Mexican girl trying to fit in in America, but of a wealthy girl trying to understand the life of a poor field worker. Esperanza's tale is a one of growth and understanding as she learns to set aside not only the prejudices, but her old ways in order to step up and take care of her family.
This story is a perfect tale for younger kids because of it's easy language and child-like innocence but can be easily read by adults because of its powerful story and themes that are present throughout the novel. It can also appeal to a wide variety of cultures because it is more than just a tale of Mexico and the US but of a person of wealth being forced into the unknown culture of poverty.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

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