Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Red Glass by Laura Resau September 26, 2011

In the middle of the night, Sophie and her family receive a phone call that will change their lives.  Pablo, a six-year-old Mexican boy is in the hospital with dehydration; he is the only survivor of a group trying to cross the border into Arizona.  For some reason, he has Sophie’s stepfather’s card in his pocket.  The family cares for the little boy until one day he reveals where he came from.

Shortly after this revelation, Pablo, Sophie, her aunt Dika (a refugee from the war in Bosnia), Dika’s boyfriend, Mr. Lorenzo, and his teenage son, Angel, set off in a van across Mexico to the small village of Pablo’s birth.  Sophie has always been afraid of everything and this journey has the potential to go very wrong.  She could get food poisoning, they could be in an accident, they could be arrested, or, worst of all, Pablo could decide to stay with his family instead of coming back with her.

When an accident happens, Mr. Lorenzo and Angel need Sophie’s help.  Will she be able to overcome her fears and face danger to save the people she loves?

Red Glass was a heartwarming story of a teenage girl who has always worried about everything overcoming her fears and seeing herself how others see her.  It has love, trust, adventure, and danger.  Bad movie plots had me expecting the worst, but Sophie’s journey contained conflict without being too scary or traumatic.  I will recommend this to middle and high school girls.

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Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

The four young women of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series are back, 10 years later.  As Bridget, Lena, Carmen, and Tibby are about to turn 30, a lot of things have changed.  The girls are spread across the globe, with Bridget in San Francisco, Carmen and Lena on the east coast, and Tibby in Australia and out of touch.  When Tibby suggests a reunion in Greece, the girls are thrilled.  The reunion turns into something that will change their lives forever and forces them to think about their friendship, their lives, and their futures.

I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books years ago and, for the most part, enjoyed the drama and the tales of friendship, loss, and love.  I was eager to read the last book, where the girls are now my age and making decisions about their futures.  It was a hard book to get through; the book turns very sad very quickly and only near the end does it answer your questions and ease your mind.  As the only person I know to finish the book, I had to share the ending.  It was a hard one, but if you start it, you should finish.

 

Paul Has a Summer Job by Michel Rabagliati

Paul is a high school dropout working at a factory printing tickets and running errands.  When he gets a call from a friend asking him to work at a summer camp for underprivileged kids, Paul agrees.  He spends the next few weeks working hard- lifting, swimming, even learning rock climbing.  When the first group of kids arrive, he worries he’s in over his head.  After some harsh words from one of his fellow counselors, Paul learns to relax and get along with the kids.  The summer goes quickly; all too soon it’s time to leave his new friends and new love.  But it’s an experience that sticks with Paul for the rest of his life.

Paul Has a Summer Job is a graphic novel with a story to tell.  When the book begins, you suspect Paul is a slacker, but he really blooms when his feet are to the fire at the camp.  His character is authentic and the author artfully portrays this through his use of “thought bubbles” and facial expressions.  This is a graphic novel for adults who are hesitant about graphic novels.

 

 
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