Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

November 18, 2008

Bird Lake Moon

By Kevin Henkes
Rating: 4 stars

In this well-written story, Mitch is living at Bird Lake with his grandparents and mother after his parents seperate. But the little house is feeling overcrowded, and Mitch wishes he and his mother could move into the seemingly abandoned house next door. But then a family arrives and moves in. Mitch cares nothing for the boy and girl in the family; instead he starts to plan little things he can do to make them think the house is haunted, things that might drive them away. Little does he know that they have their own tragedy--a boy who drowned in the lake when he was just four years old. Spencer even starts to believe the ghost of his brother is present. But then things go too far when Mitch is responsible for the family's dog running away and he knows he has to set things right. And as the two boys become friends, they begin to grow up a little more and learn how to get past their troubles. It is a tale of two boys coming to grips with their own emotions and starting to look at the grown ups in their lives as real people with their own feelings and motivations. A heartfelt story.

November 05, 2008

My One Hundred Adventures

By Polly Horvath
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Jane lives year round on a Massachusetts beach with her poet mother and three siblings. The summer she is twelve, Jane feels restless and prays for 100 adventures to happen to her. While Jane doesn't cram 100 adventures into the summer, she does have many interesting encounters, from delivering bibles by hot air balloon to visiting psychics with the local preacher to heading out on a cross-country trip that never leaves the state to suddenly being presented with multiple possible father figures. Jane begins to realize, at the grown up age of twelve, that people may not always be what they seem, and that kindness and meanspiritedness can exist side by side everywhere. Reminiscent of Richard Peck's excellent A Long Way From Chicago, the adventures are sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, and are all helping Jane on her way to growing up. For doesn't everyone have different needs? And doesn't everyone deserve a second chance? A great story which will make you laugh and make you think all at the same time.