Friday, September 27, 2013

Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento

Twigs is an 18 year old girl...I mean woman...who is staring community college while her boyfriend is away at college. A girl who is working at a local pharmacy for the worst boss ever and a girl who is having major family issues. Her brother Matt is missing in Iraq, her sister and mother both have new boyfriends who are always around and she hasn't heard from her father in years--but apparently the rest of the family has.

The theme of this book is undeniably family--as an institution as the people you choose to surround yourself with. However, this book tackles to many issues as well:

War--her Brother Matt goes missing
Growing Up--Twigs tries to redefine herself as Madeline
Relationships--the Boyfriend away at college
Learning to Stand Up for Herself--job and relationships
Abuse--not in Twigs family but in a sub-character. This could tie into family if there wan't so much going on...

And lastly there is the pink-loving, disaster of a woman who destroys the pharmacy in the opening pages and throws open bottles of hair dye at Twigs giving her a sort of tiger make-over. This lady adds the most value to the story and entertainment as well. Rather than being a problem for Twigs, she takes her as family while her marriage is falling apart. She made this book and really made it ripe for discussion.

However, I think this book could do more. It touches on substantial issues and while predictable at times it is believable and honest. I think the themes need to be flushed out more to be a truly great book but I do think teens will gravitate towards it and emerging adults as well.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reality Boy by A.S. King

A.S. King has done it again. Reality Boy is fantastic and I can't wait to get it in the library and start recommending it.

Gerald Faust was a child reality TV star--famous for being horrible and leaving presents for his family in inappropriate places (not the toilet). He is still living in the same town, still battling rage issues and still known as "The Crapper."

But as always, what is seen on TV, especially reality TV, is never the whole story. Reality Boy gets to the roots of the truth and brings his family knowledge and unity they should have had more than a decade earlier. Interspersed with chapters direct from the TV episodes from his youth I can't see how this won't be popular and resonate with teens.