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If I Should Die Before I Wakeby Han Nolan
Synopses & Reviews
It's 1963 and fourteen-year-old Esther Young is looking for excitement. Cursed with a lack of talent in a family filled with artistic types, Esther vows to get some attention by initiating a summer romance with a black teen accused of murdering a white man in Alabama.
King-Roy Johnson shows up on Esther's doorstep that summer, an angry young man who feels betrayed by the nonviolent teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Sent north by his mother to escape a lynch mob, he meets a follower of Malcolm X's who uses radical teachings about black revolution to fuel King-Roy's anger and frustration. But with each other's help, both Esther and King-Roy learn the true nature of integrity and find the power to stand up for what is right and true.
National Book Award-winning author Han Nolan brings readers a bold new voice--by turns funny and poignant, innocent and worldly--in this powerful coming-of-age story set during the turbulent struggle for civil rights.
Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad timeshis mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his fathers deteriorating condition.
Both heartbreaking and funny, Crazy lives up to the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for. As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship.
As sixteen-year-old Hilary, a neo-Nazi, lies wounded in a Jewish hospital, she slips into a coma and begins to relive the harrowing memories of Chana-a Jewish girl whose family was brutalized in the wartime ghettos and Nazi death camps of Poland. At the same time, Hilary begins to come to terms with difficult memories of her own. When she wakes, she finally finds herself on the path to recovery from a lifetime of rage and resentment. "Chana's story . . . is brilliantly rendered."-Booklist
About the Author
* "Nolan leavens this haunting but hopeful story with spot-on humor and a well developed cast of characters, and she shows with moving clarity the emotional costs of mental illness, especially on teens forced to parent their own parents."--Booklist, starred review
* "In this distinct and effective blend of sorrow and humor, Jason, once invisible to his classmates and used to the chaos at home, suffers the effects of change when he's enrolled in a lunch-hour group therapy with other wayward teens and his father is taken away...he slowly learns, with the help of his new friends and foster parents, normalcy and how to care for himself first."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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