Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

February 20, 2007

The Higher Power of Lucky

By Susan Patron
Newbery Award 2007
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Lucky loves living in Dead Pan, population 43. She loves her knot-tying friend, Lincoln (who may become president some day), and collecting insects like Charles Darwin with her dog, HMS Beagle. But Lucky doesn't think that Brigitte, her Guardian from France who came to take care of her after her mother's death, feels the same way about Dead Pan. Lucky thinks that after 2 years of taking care of her, Brigitte is ready to return to France and leave her and dusty Dead Pan behind and Lucky will be put in an orphanage. Whenever Lucky eavesdrops on the 12 step program meetings in town, the people always talk about hitting rock bottom and finding their Higher Power. When she finally thinks she's found hard evidence that Brigitte is going to leave, Lucky realizes she's hit rock bottom and decides to run away. But will a dust storm, a lost 5 year old, and a survial kit help Lucky find her Higher Power and give her the answers she needs? This is a very unusual, touching story, with unforgettable characters against the vivid backdrop of the California desert. You can almost feel the grit in your hair and feel the heat under your toes. Readers will be pleased with Lucky's realization that what you were looking for might be right under your nose all of the time, and that happiness can be found in your own backyard.

February 14, 2007

Kiss Me Tomorrow

By Susan Shreve
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Blister is back! Fans of the first book, simply called Blister, will be happy to read this sequel. Red-headed, skinny, and sure of who she is, Alyssa "Blister" Reed is ready to start 7th grade with her best friend Jonah Morrison at her side. But when school actually does begin, things start to go wrong. Jonah spends his time trailing around after a pack of "cool" boys and mostly ignores Blister. And her mom reveals she has a new boyfriend named Frank, and that they are planning to move in together. Instead of feeling centered, Blister feels events and people are spiraling out of her control. Then Jonah gets accused of shoplifting and runs away from home on the same day that Blister is moving to the new house, which ironically, is across the street from Jakob Cutter's house. Jakob is one of the kids that Jonah had been desperate to hang out with, and Blister suspects he may have had something to do with the shoplifting. Can Blister find Jonah and help clear his name? Can she get the real story out of Jakob Cutter (who is paying a lot of unwanted attention to her)? And can she be happy living in a house with a guy who makes her mom happy but isn't her dad? Blister discovers that people can her surprise her in good ways, and that she needs to be herself to be happy. Readers will admire Blister's fierce sense of self, and how she handles her issues while staying true to that. Great characters and a good story!