Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wrecked

Volume Twenty Seven in the Books that Matter Series

Wrecked is the young adult novel by Maria Padian, told in alternating points of view from Haley and Richard. Haley is a college freshman, rooming with Jenny who has just been assaulted at a recent party. Richard is also a student at the same college whose housemate, Jordan, is accused of the assault. Neither Haley nor Richard attended the party in question. They don't even know the connection when they first meet, when they start to fall for one another. But as events unfold, they are soon forced into a college investigation involving their roommates. This story shows the reactions of others from the outside looking in, how it all impacts the victim, why a judge in an investigation makes certain decisions, while providing pieces of the incident between each chapter so the truth is not revealed until the end. Wrecked is a book that matters for dealing with such an intense, heavy topic that needs to be discussed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Holding Up The Universe

Volume Twenty Six in the Books that Matter Series

Jennifer Niven has done it again. Her new book, Holding Up The Universe, soars into the books that matter category with flying colors. Much like, her first novel, All The Bright Places, her new young adult novel is told in alternating points of view from two high school students who are anything but ordinary.

Libby is heading back to school after several years of being homeschooled. She hasn't been to school since fifth grade, the year she lost her mother, the year she was bullied relentlessly. Then at the age of thirteen, when she had to be rescued from her house, Libby was labeled America's Fattest Teen, weighing in at 653 pounds. Now, she is about to enter her junior year and has lost the weight of two whole people but is still over 300 pounds. Ready to face the world again, Libby knows who she is, has endured the worst of people, and won't let that stop her from achieving her dreams.

Jack is popular but is holding onto a secret that is turning him into someone he doesn't recognize. He is face-blind and has trouble finding even his own family in a crowd. With his father having recently survived a battle with cancer while in the midst of an affair, Jack's condition has gone unnoticed for many years. Jack has swagger and charm that allows him to bury his fear and mask the condition that could lead to disaster.

But when their two worlds collide, nothing may ever be the same for either of them again. This is the story of Libby and Jack. It is for anyone who has ever felt unwanted. It is inspiring and beautifully written. It is a book that matters.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Truth About Alice

Volume Twenty Five in the Books That Matter Series

"I stared at the graffiti and watched how quickly the shiny Sharpie writing dulled to a permanent black stain." (excerpt from The Truth About Alice)

Alice Franklin is a junior at Healy High and the talk of her small Texas town, mainly because word has spread of her actions at a party in the summer. But when a car accident in the fall claims the life of Healy High's star quarterback, Brandon, soon Alice becomes the even bigger talk of an even bigger story as she gets blamed for the events leading up to the crash.

The Truth About Alice is very much her story and yet it is told from multiple outside points of view. Elaine is the girl who threw the party, who had an on again, off again relationship with Brandon. Josh is Brandon's best friend and fellow football teammate who survived the car crash. Kelsie did not attend the party, but as Alice's best friend, she is very much a driving force in this story. And Kurt lives next door to Brandon's family, is genius level smart, and has a crush on Alice. These four players tell a story that does not belong to them but yet is very much their own to share.

Author, Jennifer Mathieu, weaves a tale about truths and lies, the secrets kept and the ones shared, and the power of rumors that can soon take on a life of their own. The Truth About Alice is certainly a book that matters. It is a young adult novel of how each new event, new lie, new secret, new truth, new story can bring out the worst in people and can change the lives of others forever. It is the story of high school students set in a small town, so true it could be anyone's tale. The Truth About Alice is a must read for teenagers and for parents alike.