The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is another book that I requested from the library. This young adult novel was written by Leslye Walton.

The most remarkable thing about Ava Lavender is that she is born in 1944 with a set of wings. But in order to understand why something so peculiar would happen, we need to go back to the beginning. Read more

Mr. Grumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

We have been enjoying our summer. We’ve been swimming at the lake, swimming at the pool, and doing lots and lots of reading. I have also tied screen time to workbook pages, and I signed my girls up for Kumon. Kumon is a tutoring program originally based in Japan, and it places emphasis on repetition to ensure mastery of a subject. They offer math and reading programs, ranging from basic preschool skills to high school. My oldest girl is going into second grade, and she is a dynamo reader. She could use a little boost in math to make sure that she has her addition facts down before she goes back to school. Likewise, my younger girls are going to Kindergarten in the fall, and one of them could use some help with letters and letter sounds, so I signed her up for reading. The other twin is pretty well rounded, but I didn’t want her to feel left out, so I signed her up for math.

One of the benefits of the reading program is that it allows the student to bring home a book after every session. We were sent home with Mr. Grumpy’s Outing, a picture book written and illustrated by John Burningham. Read more

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is a young adult novel by Karen Finneyfrock. I found it at my town library displayed on the end of a shelf. The cover intrigued me, and the plot synopsis on the flap made me add the book to my checkout pile.

The novel begins as Celia is entering high school in Hershey, PA. She has turned “dark” over the summer. She explains rather early in the novel what turning dark entails, but she doesn’t go into the reasons behind her decision until the novel is almost over. To Celia, being dark mean no longer caring about what people think of her, and no longer trying to fit in. Celia is also determined to exact revenge on a Queen Bee type girl named Sandy, who did something terrible last year during eighth grade. Read more

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

I read The Museum of Intangible Things immediately after finishing Great. Both of these novels fall into the young adult genre, but they could not have been more different. Great is a modern version of The Great Gatsby, and filled with fabulously wealthy teens behaving badly. Hannah and Zoe, the main characters in The Museum of Intangible Things, live in a rural part of New Jersey, where there have been cutbacks at the local high school, and no one has very much extra money.

The Museum of Intangible Things was written by Wendy Wunder. As I have mentioned, Hannah and Zoe are best friends. Hannah is the practical sort, and Zoe is much more esoteric. But, like they say, opposites attract, and somehow, they make their friendship work. Read more

Great by Sara Benincasa

I have close to 30 books on my reading list, and that doesn’t include books that I have purchased for my Kindle. That being said, one of the books that I was the most excited about was Great, a modern re-telling of The Great Gatsby. This young adult novel was written by Sara Benincasa.

The biggest change is that Nick and Gatsby are both female characters in Beninicasa’s version. Naomi Rye is a Chicago-bred teen with divorced parents who spends her summers in the Hamptons with her social climbing mother. Now, let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the wry (ha, do you see what I did there?) pun with the surname Rye and the original novel’s Carraway. Well played, Sara- well played! Read more