Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fellside by M.R. Carey

Fellside is another terrifying, yet gripping story by M.R. Carey, the author of The Girl With All The Gifts. 

Jess Moulson goes on a hunger strike shortly before entering a maximum security prison, Fellside. 

Though Jess nearly dies, a young boy gives her a reason to live. Alex, the ghost of the boy whom everyone believes she killed, asks her to do the one thing she cannot refuse.

Fellside is a ghost story that reads like a riveting psychological thriller and suspenseful mystery.

Jess's relationship with Alex is complicated. She wants to protect him from everything but he is also powerful. He saved her when a nurse punctured her artery instead of her vein:

"He'd brought her back from the abyss, from the mouth of the grave. She owed him everything and he owed her nothing except arguably a life for a life and a tooth for a tooth."
Alex knows, however, that the fire Jess started while she was high hadn't killed him. 

The fire she set hadn't killed him because he was already dead. So who hurt him and how did he die?  

As a favor to Alex who brought her back from the blackness, Jess agrees to appeal her case and investigate what truly happened to him. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

History of Wolves

For a coming-of-age story that transcends genre, read Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves.
One of the central questions in this tale is culpability.

"What's the difference between what you want to believe and what you do?...And what's the difference between what you think and what you end up doing," Madeleine wonders.

She's a kid surrounded by adults--her parents, Mr. Grierson, the Gardners who shirk their duties and blame others for mistakes they make.The worst offender is probably Patra who blames illogically blames Madeleine for the death of her four-year-old.

Then there's Mr. Grierson, her teacher, who may be reprehensible but is not guilty of what police and Lily charge him with. Madeleine tracks him to Florida after he gets out of prison. She writes letters to him but he seems to have forgotten her.

Though Madeleine is expert at hiking and traversing the streams in her woods, she is less expert at deciphering social cues or understanding human relationships. Perhaps that is why she is fascinated by Patra and Leo's strange relationship.

However capable she is at wilderness survival, Madeleine is strangely powerless when faced  with Leo's religious obsession or Lily's duplicity.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Shirley Jackson

“So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.”  Shirley Jackson.

I think this is why so many writer do what they do. Writing is a snapshot of a particular time, often painful, but sometimes joyful. It's a memory, a recording, that makes the ordinary details of life extraordinary.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Booth Brothers: Drama, Fame, and the Death of President Lincoln by Rebecca Langston-George


This is a fascinating read for middle school and up. Langston-George highlights the two Booth brothers and the different paths their lives took. One felt he was a Northerner, Edwin Booth, and the other, John Wilkes Booth, felt he was a Southerner.

Why two brothers would have such different points of view is never really discussed. In part, it may have to do with how they were raised. Their father, Junius Brutus Booth, was a famous actor, known for his Shakespeare, who was also prone to drink.

John may have been resentful of his older brother, Edwin. Junius allowed Edwin to tour the country with him but refused to allow John to do the same.

Langston-George gives a clear, succinct summary of the events that led to the shooting and its aftermath. She related little known information, like the strange event that occurred when Edwin Booth died.

This is a historical tale full of ironies. Pictures of conspirators and pictures of the personal belongings of Booth at the end provide context.

I previewed this digital arc on