Off the Shelf - Blog
Anyone who loves dancing will love Pirouette by Robyn Bavati. Even if you're not into dancing, this book will pull you in and keep you reading. It's about two 15 year old identical twins, Hannah and Simone, who by a strange twist of circumstances end up meeting each other for the first time at a summer dance camp in Australia. Simone has been raised to dance by her mom but hates performing. Hannah loves to dance but her parents see it as a hobby. They end up switching places not just at the dance camp but into the school year. It's so interesting to read about the challenges they face as they fool their family friends, and new boyfriends. This was a fun read and not to spoil anything but the ending is happy (I squeezed out a tear or two). I love the way the girls deal with each situation along the way and their creative resolution at the end. Let's dance!
The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud, is set in a modern day London where ghosts stalk the night, and only children and teenagers can see them clearly. Our heroes Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle, and George Cubbins run a psychic detection agency. That is, they hunt and destroy ghosts. But unlike most other agencies, they don't have any adult supervisors. Since adults can't see or hear ghosts very well, Lockwood thinks they just get in the way. Lucy tends to agree, given her unpleasant past. George hates everyone equally.
We meet Lucy and Lockwood as they prepare to banish what they think is a routine ghost. The ghost, and the case itself, prove too hot to handle, and Lucy and Lockwood barely escape. Unfortunately, the Lockwood and Co. Psychic Detection Agnecy finds itself in some trouble with the law, and Lucy, Lockwood, and George are forced to take on a dangerous case in one of the most haunted houses in England. The last team that tried to clear the historic mansion of ghosts died; every last one of them.
I enjoyed all the action and adventure, as well as the smart mouth comedy in the face of creepy, deadly ghosts. Hope you will too!
The psychological impact of 9/11 still resonates today. Terrorism continues to disturb the world we live in. Everyone is affected by the memory. Those too young to remember soon learn about it as they get older. The following story begins five years after a fictional terrorist attack at a popular gathering place.
Jaime was 5 years old when his sister is killed. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher takes place in London. Now 10 years old, Jaime has vague memories of the sister that died. Both parents remind him often of the tragedy and they do not understand why he is not grieving.
Jaime's viewpoint is very straightforward and often humorous. Both characters have issues as they try to navigate day to day life five years after the horrific attack. Jaime's sister Jasmine does remember her twin, Rose, who died in the attack. Even though Jasmine has her own problems, she tries to provide some stability for Jaime. She cooks and makes calls to school as best she can. Jaime does not dare tell his father he has a new friend at school. Sunya is Muslim.
Jaime and his sister continue to fend for themselves as their parents grieve. Amidst the sadness there is hope but no easy solutions for this family, which makes this story real. There are humorous moments but the ending is not nice and tidy, although it is as good as it gets for this family.
Free Stuff to Do
Chess is for all ages in this free 9 Queens tournament series. Mini-tournaments prepare you to compete in the Championship Tournament on April 25, 2015.
What questions would you ask your favorite author? Find out what local teens asked some of their favorite authors.