Friday, June 14, 2013

Young Adult Reviews

Past Young Adult Reviews

I'm cleaning house and moving some reviews around. 

Bloodhound: Beka Cooper Book 2 by Tamora Pierce -- YA Fantasy/Adventure
Set in Tortall 200 years before Alanna, Beka Cooper, a common-born girl from the city slums is now a full fledged officer of the law, a Dog. When she discovers someone is forging silver coins and the economy is in trouble, Beka and partner Goodwin are assigned under cover duty in Port Caynn to sniff out information, Beka is accompanies by her "birdie" Slapper the pigeon, as well as a new friend, Achoo, the scent hound. Beka detests playing the part of a silly young girl but it helps her make friends, and enemies, in Port Caynn. She and Achoo must work their hardest to find the forger and stop them before it's too late. This is another great offering from Tamora Pierce. A new fan could read it without knowing much of the background and long-time fans will enjoy learning more of the history of Tortall. This story has romance as well as adventure and a cute dog. I enjoyed it as much as Terrier and hope the third volume doesn't take as long to be published!

A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson by Barbara Dana -- YA Historical Fiction

A fictionalized biography of Emily Dickinson. The author uses Emily's writing to flesh out the reclusive offer and show the reader how she came to be the great poet she was. I had a really hard time getting into this story. I just couldn't get into Emily's head. I finished the book but don't remember anything about it. My original review is lost in the ether somewhere!

Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly -- YA Historical Fiction
Set in the Adirondocks in 1906, sixteen year old Mattie Gokey helps run the family farm and look after her younger siblings now that her mother has passed away and her older brother ran off. Encouraged by a forward thinking teacher, Mattie devours words and dreams of attending college and becoming a writer herself. She's torn in her loyalties between duty and dreams which are further complicated by a romance with a local boy. Mattie also feels drawn to a young woman who is a guest at the hotel where Mattie works in the summer. When the young woman turns up drowned, Mattie is even more drawn to her and learning this young woman's story. Mattie tells her own story alternating between past and present using her favorite words from the dictionary to highlight the important happenings of the last year. This is an incredibly well-written novel with rich details that sucked me into the story and didn't let go. I had incredibly sympathy for Mattie, being a literature lover and a college educated woman. I, too, was torn in what I wanted her to do. The murder subplot is only a small part of the book but it shapes Mattie's life and helps her decide where her place is. I have seen this book on the shelves since it was first published and I don't know why it took me so long to read it. It's one of the best YA novels I've read. I especially enjoyed all the literary references to my favorite writers.

Last Dance on Holladay Street by Elisa Carbone -YA Historical Fiction
In 1878, when Eva's adopted parents die, she must make her own way from the Colorado prairie to Denver in search of her birth mother whom she believes was unable to support a child back when Eva was born, but surely must be able to by now. Eva receives a big shock when Denver and her mother are not what she expected. She is befriended by a fellow "colored" person who helps her find her path to freedom. This is an interesting, mature look at the women in the Old West. My heart went out to Eva as she struggled through life and couldn't put the book down to see how she found a way out of her difficult situation. This book is well-written and seems realistic. I enjoyed it.

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