“Dork on the Run,” by Carol Gorman

“Dork on the Run,” by Carol Gorman is the humorous tale of a shy, geeky young boy who finds himself as a candidate for president of sixth grade.

Book Cover Art for Dork on the Run by Carol GormanIn “Dork in Disguise” readers are introduced to Jerry Flack, a bona fide dork complete with glasses, an interest in science, and complete ignorance of social skills and pop culture. In the first book Jerry briefly tried to pass himself off as a cool person, but since then he has learned a little more about how to handle himself in public, and has found his own circle of friends without having to change himself to please the “cool kids.”

When Brenda, one of his new friends and a fellow science club member, suggests that Jerry run for sixth grade president he is a little skeptical. But then Jerry takes a look at the ballot. The other candidate so far is Gabe Marshall, a cool jock known for his looks and brashness, but not for intelligence. Gabe’s campaign platform has the goal of eliminating late rules and putting video games in the detention room.

Jerry has much better plans for the school, but to make them reality he will have to run for president himself, and that means running against Gabe and his cool friends and supporters. Somewhat reluctant, but still determined Jerry enters his name in the ballot.

Little does Jerry realize, but this will be a decision that he will regret before long. Soon Gabe and his friends begin playing a series of devious tricks to make Jerry Flack look foolish. Among other things they distribute humiliating pictures of Jerry crashing while ice skating and screaming in terror while Gabe and his friends hang him out a second story school window.

Before long Jerry is the subject of all the school jokes. It appears that his campaign is doomed to failure, but there is something that Jerry can do to turn this humiliation around, if he can just figure it out in time.

“Dork on the Run,” is another great installment in the Jerry Flack series by Carol Gorman. Carol Gorman does a marvelous job portraying the complex dynamics of the middle school environment, with its conflicting cliques and dramatic personalities.

Jerry is an amusing character that will quickly gain the sympathy of readers. His personality, though geeky, is cool at the same time, and that is the point of the entire series.

I recommend “Dork on the Run” to all young readers.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-31T17:49:00-05:00

“Milicent Min - Girl Genius” by Lisa Yee

Book Cover Art for Milicent Min - Girl Genius by Lisa Yee“Milicent Min - Girl Genius” by Lisa Yee is a humorous book about a young Asian girl who is a genius. But for some reason, when it comes to social interaction she’s a little bit ignorant.

Millicent’s parents are always worried that she hasn’t had a chance to enjoy a “normal childhood.” But Millicent doesn’t care. She would much rather be what she is: a child genius who has been featured in TV shows and Time magazine. Millicent has skipped so many grades that she is attending high school at age eleven. Unfortunately, this makes all the other kids her age hate her.

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Review of "Milicent Min - Girl Genius" by Lisa Yee
Inkweaver Review 2009-07-25T13:54:00-05:00

“Exodus,” by Julie Bertagna

“Exodus,” by Julie Bertagna is an amazing science fiction novel about a future in which global warming has resulted in rising sea levels that have covered most of the world in water.

Book Cover Art for Exodus by Julie BertagnaWing is an isolated island in the Northern Sea. Each year the seas rise a little farther, forcing the people of Wing to move upland. And each year the winter storms hit Wing even harder. For fifteen-year-old Mara the storms are frightening, and she is convinced that there must be some way to escape the situation.

In her spare time Mara uses the Weave, an ancient virtual reality system, to search for information about what Earth was once like and what happened to the rest of the world. Most modern technology no longer works, but pieces of the Weave still operate, and Mara is able to tap into it. The Weave once bustled with human avatars, but now it is empty, and all that is left are representations of the disturbing wreckage of Earth’s civilization, interrupted at its very peak by world disaster. The Weave is full of frightening calls for help, and last minute news reports about worldwide flooding.

But deep in the Weave Mara finds clues that lead her to believe that just before the world flooded a series of elevated cities were built on huge platforms above the water. These cities were called New World cities, and in pictures they appear beautiful, with intricate platforms and tubes. Mara dreams about finding one of these cities and leading the people of her island to live there.

Finally Mara uncovers clues that reveal the location of a New World city called New Mungo. Excited, she uncovers her ultimate plan to the people of Wing. They should sail South, leaving Wing behind, and become a part of New Mungo.

After some deliberation the people of Wing decide to leave their island. Really they have no choice. The sea is rising so rapidly that they may not be able to survive another winter without being washed out to sea by rising floodwaters.

So the people of Wing set out for the New World city. Upon arriving at New Mungo, though, they find themselves locked out. New Mungo is a giant elevated city and its residents have little concern for any others who may have the misfortune to not have an elevated city of their own. The thousands of refugees that live below New Mungo have nowhere else to go, and now the people of Wing have no choice but to join them. The squalid conditions of the refugee camp cause sickness and anger. Even the danger of Wing would be preferable.

But Mara is still determined to save her people. If she could just find some way past New Mungo’s defenses then perhaps she could find a way to save not only the people of Wing, but the other suffering refugees as well.

“Exodus” is an amazing story in all respects. Author Julie Bertagna has envisioned a stunning world, reminiscent in some ways of “The Other Side of the Island.” In a world engulfed with water there is limited interchange of ideas, and as a result each group of isolated people develops their own dramatically different culture.

This makes for some very interesting characters. All of the main players in “Exodus” are well designed, with their strong and weak points to balance them out. I will be especially interested in seeing how “Exodus” develops as a series. The book ends with plenty of room for further developments, and I’m sure that a sequel will come soon.

I definitely recommend “Exodus” as one of the most interesting utopian/dystopian novels I’ve read.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-23T10:28:00-05:00

“Home of the Brave,” by Katherine Applegate

“Home of the Brave,” by Katherine Applegate is a realistic fiction novel about a young emigrant boy named Kek.

Book Cover Art for Home of the Brave by Katherine ApplegateKek emigrates to America to escape the brutal conditions and refuge camp life of his homeland. Kek arrives in the United States in winter, and to him this is a shocking surprise, for he is not used to either the cold, or the fact that all the trees have lost their leaves. In the cold of a Minnesota winter, Kek must get used to his new life in America.

Kek begins to make friends slowly but surely. First he meets Hannah, a girl who lives in foster care. Kek can connect with her, because his own father was killed, and no one has managed to find his mother yet. Kek is sure that she is still alive, though, and that someday she will come to America to be with him.

Then Kek meets an old woman named Lou. She lives on a rundown farm, and she has a cow. In Kek’s home country cows were very important, and Kek is saddened to see the old woman’s cow in poor condition because Lou can not take care of it. Soon Kek has a job taking care of Lou’s cow. He names the cow Gol, meaning “family” in his native tongue.

In the end Hannah, Lou, and Gol will help Kek adjust to his new life in America, and the pain and joy that he will experience along the way.

“Home of the Brave” is a brief book, written in a poetic style that reflects Kek’s simple sentences as he learns English. “Home of the Brave” is a sensitive story that covers many of the issues faced by new immigrants from third world countries, from misunderstandings of appliances, to the struggle to learn English, to racism.

Katherine Applegate’s “Home of the Brave” isn’t a particularly noteworthy book, but it is a reasonably decent read.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-21T17:42:00-05:00

“The Boy Who Dared,” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

“The Boy Who Dared,” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a historical fiction novel based on the life of a young boy who fought the Nazi’s during World War II.

Book Cover Art for The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell BartolettiLike most other Germans Helmuth Hübener is glad when Adolf Hitler is elected as leader of Germany. Hitler has plans for Germany, and he seems determined to help Germany recover from its national depression and become a great country again. “Hitler will get Germany out of this mess! No more unemployment! No more inflation! He will bring jobs! Food for our tables!” the people say. But not everyone supports Hitler. Some protest that Hitler is a madman, a lunatic who is sure to bring war and suffering to Germany.

No one can agree, and when Hitler is elected as chancellor, half of the people Helmuth knows rejoice, while the other half feel a sense of foreboding. Helmuth doesn’t know what to think at first, but as he sees the effects of Nazism take over, he begins to feel disgust toward Hitler and his national party. Hitler and his Nazi party spread anti-Semitic doctrine, claiming that all Jews are evil. Hitler and the Nazi’s want a Jew-free Germany, and these attitudes spread through the German people, even reaching the Hitler Youth group that rules Helmuth’s school yard.

As time passes and Hitler and his party become increasingly cruel toward the Jewish people living in Germany, Helmuth wishes that he could do something to change the situation. Hitler takes away the freedoms of the German people, and most of them stop supporting him, but they don’t dare do anything to oppose him.

So Helmuth finds his own way to oppose the German government. As World War II rages, and the German government spreads propaganda and outright lies over the radio, Helmuth uses a special shortwave radio to tune in to British stations, where the truth is reported.

Helmuth trusts the British radio news, because it has full transparency. The British announce their own losses as well as the German losses. So Helmuth begins using an old typewriter to write pamphlets containing the real British news, as well as exposing the lies and brutality of the German government.

But Helmuth must be careful, for he knows that if he is caught, or exposed, the results will be just as swift and brutal as Hitler’s treatment of the Jews.

“The Boy Who Dared” is fascinating from a historical point of view. Helmuth’s heroic decision to do what he could to fight Hitler is admirable, and the book that Susan Campbell has written about his life is poignant and educational at the same time. The novel feels very genuine, and shows a different side of Germany, from the point of view of a German living under Hitler’s rule.

I would definitely recommend “The Boy Who Dared” as historical fiction that everyone should read.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-19T17:11:00-05:00

“The Trap,” by John Smelcer

“The Trap,” by John Smelcer is an unforgettably moving story about an Indian boy and his old grandfather.

Book Cover Art for The Trap by John SmelcerJohnny Least-Weasel and his grandfather Albert live in Alaska, where the winters are long and treacherous. Albert has been working traplines all his life. He travels out into the lonely wilderness and sets traps to catch wild animals. He sells the skins to make money to buy food and supplies. It is how his father and his father before him made a living. Now Albert is old, and although he knows everything about working traplines and knows the ways of the wilderness, he no longer has the strength of a young man.

His seventeen-year-old grandson Johnny worries when his grandfather Albert leaves on yet another circuit to check his traplines. Something tells him that he should check on his grandfather or follow him, but he doesn’t want to hurt Albert’s pride by making it seem as if he needs supervision. Still, Johnny worries, because he doesn’t know how long it will be before his grandfather returns.

Little does he realize, but far away in the Alaskan wilderness his grandfather has gotten caught in one of his own wolf traps. The steel jaws are so strong that the trap must be stepped on with both feet to open it. With one foot stuck in the trap Albert can not open the trap, and he can’t free the trap from its chain, which is bolted into a frozen tree.

Albert will have to use all his knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness to survive. All his supplies, comforts, and tools are on a snowmobile that is within sight, but there is nothing that he can do to reach them. All Albert has is the tree he is chained to, a few matches, and a pocketknife.

Meanwhile Johnny prepares to set off in search of his grandfather. But will he find his grandfather before the hungry Alaskan wolves do?

“The Trap” has a very calm and deliberate progression. Albert never panics despite his predicament. Instead, he uses his knowledge of the wilderness and its ways to survive. I found this story to be very reminiscent of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.”

I think that John Smelcer has written a laudable book about survival and the clash between old and new ways for Indians living in Alaska’s wilderness. I definitely recommend “The Trap” to all readers.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-17T16:15:00-05:00

Sean Beaudoin talks about his novel "Fade to Blue"

This is a guest post by Sean Beaudoin, author of "Fade to Blue", a new novel/comic hybrid.

"Fade To Blue" took almost two years to complete after I finished the initial draft. The novel went through numerous name changes. It started out as "Sour White", which is a fictional brand of soda the characters drink. There were internal discussions as to whether this title sounded too harsh. Then there were discussions about the similarity to "Snow White", and whether readers might think it was some sort of fan fiction spin-off, a notion that would never have occurred to me. The main character, Sophie Blue, was originally named Pam. I still sort of think of her as Pam. I hadn’t realized before I’d sold my first book, "Going Nowhere Faster", exactly how much tweaking a novel goes through before it hits the shelves. There are edit meetings, marketing meetings, focus groups, and legal meetings. There are endless design questions and problems to work through. While a lot of the business of shaping a novel is interesting, as an author, a lot of it is also out of your hands. When you give up that first draft, it’s like sending your child to their first day of preschool. You just hope they make a friend and have a nice teacher and are waiting for you when you pull back up at 2:30.

"Going Nowhere Faster" was definitely there waiting for me, all excited to talk about its day and then go visit Borders.

"Fade To Blue" was a bit more sullen, like it had decided it wanted to start wearing black and get a tattoo. It wanted to go home and listen to scratchy records and sit in the dark. For one thing, the interior artwork—a mini comic by Wilfred Santiago—went through numerous iterations, as I wed the text of the comic to events in the narrative. Wilfred did a great job of making changes on the fly. I think everyone ended up happy with how it came out, but there wasn’t a whole lot of agreement during the process. It turns out that I am a stickler for fonts. If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d ever type the sentence “I am a stickler for fonts” and it wasn’t the punch line for a rude joke, I’d have greatly doubted it.

"Fade To Blue" is the story a young girl who may be losing her mind. Or not. It reflected my personal feelings at the time pretty well. On the other hand, Sophie Blue is enamored with a basketball player, thinks she’s being stalked by an ice cream truck, and wears Midnight Noir lipstick. None of which reflected my feelings at the time at all. Her brother’s name is O.S. Which could stand for any number of things, like Outstanding Student, Original Sin, or Obese Sity. At least according to his cafeteria detractors, of which there are many. O.S. has a bit of a weight problem, and is overly fond of comic books.

My only piece of advice for potential readers is: BEWARE THE NURSE!

In the end, I’m really pleased we went through the struggle. "Fade To Blue" is a better book for it. And like the angry teenager who goes to college and a month later starts calling home three times a week, we’ve become very close.

My new book, for now titled "You Killed Wesley Payne", was sent in less than a week ago, and, like all third children, was an easy birth. I hope to see it on shelves in Fall of 2010.

For more information about Sean Beaudoin and his books please visit his official website.
Inkweaver Review 2009-07-16T19:22:00-05:00

“Starcross,” by Philip Reeve

Book Cover Art for Starcross by Philip Reeve“Starcross,” by Philip Reeve is a fantastic adventure story set in an alternate reality Victorian world in which airships sail the “aether,” taking passengers to the most distant parts of the solar system.

Art Mumby and his sister Myrtle live a rather exciting and unusual life. Indeed that is to be expected when your mother is a “five thousand million year old entity from another star” and creator of your solar system. Art and Myrtle discovered their mother’s secret past in “Larklight,” book one of the Larklight series. When their mother stepped in to save the universe from an invasion of giant spiders, she did it with her usual grace and careful calmness, but it left Myrtle embarrassed by the fact that her mother is different, and it left Art wondering would happen next.

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Review of "Starcross" by Philip Reeve
Inkweaver Review 2009-07-15T15:54:00-05:00

“The Traitors Gate,” by Avi

“The Traitors Gate,” by Avi is a historical fiction novel set in the London of 1849.

Book Cover Art for Traitor's Gate by AviJohn is fourteen years old. He lives with his parents and older sister in a relatively affluent part of London. John’s father is typically considered to be a gentleman, for he works as a clerk at the Naval Offices drawing wages of about 100 pounds a year. His father’s good paying job allows John to attend Muldspoon’s Militantly Motivated Academy.

But one day John’s father makes a startling announcement: “By the end of this week, there’s a possibility that I shall be sent to prison.”

The next day when John comes home from school, he finds the constables hauling off his family’s belongings. John’s father is in debt, and will be sent to debtors prison unless he can raise 300 pounds by the end of the week.

In 1849 this staggering amount is more than three years pay for middle class citizens such as John and his family. The question is: How did John’s father manage to accumulate such a huge debt? And who is the mysterious O’Doul to whom John’s father owes the money?

All John can get from his father is that he doesn’t owe that man any money. John isn’t sure what to think. As he begins searching for answers he discovers inspectors from Scotland Yard, mysterious strangers, and hidden plots that he had never noticed before.

But worst of all, John discovers that his father has secrets that he has kept from John and the rest of the family. Now John may be the only one who can pull his family out of a precarious situation that could mean their complete downfall.

Once again Avi has done a superb job in creating a historical fiction novel. Just like his earlier “Beyond the Western Sea” series, “The Traitor’s Gate” is alive with detail and rich characters. The only thing that is certain in this book is that surprises are in store around every page.

“The Traitor’s Gate” is enlivened by beautiful line drawings by Karina Raude. These illustrations look like period woodcut images, and add a lot to the historical air of the plot. As Avi himself says, “The Traitor’s Gate” is a tribute to Charles Dickens. The story feels remarkably similar to many of Charles Dickens’ books, from some of the characters, to the vivid depictions of London in all its dirty, bustling splendor.

I would definitely recommend “The Traitor’s Gate,” by Avi to all young readers who enjoy historical fiction.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-13T03:42:00-05:00

“Replay,” by Sharon Creech

“Replay,” by Sharon Creech is a book about a small, dreamy boy in a large, outspoken family.
Book Cover Art for Replay by Sharon Creech
Twelve-year-old Leo loves to daydream. In his mind he is famous, big, or strong, but in real life his family calls him Sardine or Fog Boy. Leo feels that his family tends to forget him in the midst of their own boisterous dynamics, relationships, and projects. Leo is a dreamer, but the rest of his family doesn’t seem to appreciate this, and Leo doubts that they ever did or will.

But one day Leo goes up into the attic to escape the noise and confusion of his family. In a dusty box tucked away amidst the junk Leo finds a small blue book entitled “The Autobiography of Giorgio, Age of Thirteen.” Beneath the journal Leo finds a pair of scuffed up tap-dancing shoes. Giorgio is the name of Leo’s father, but Leo can’t believe that his father was ever happy enough to tap dance, and his father’s old journal is full of grand hopes and dreams that Leo can’t believe that his father ever aspired to.

Leo begins to explore his father’s life through reading the old blue journal. On those rare occasions when Leo finds that he has the house to himself he puts on the tap-dancing shoes and relives his father’s own early days.

Leo also takes a part in the school play. Not only does this give him a chance to achieve one of his dreams of performing, but it also pleases his father, who once wanted to be an actor.

Leo is determined to perform well in the play, even though he has the less than desirable part of an old crone. In addition, Leo is determined to uncover the secrets of his own father’s past: why he is so sad now, and why he abandoned all the plans and hopes that he wrote about in his blue journal so many years ago.

“Replay,” by Sharon Creech has a few distinguishing features that make it unique. First and foremost, the story includes the full text of the play “Rumpopo’s Porch,” by Bill Beeber. This is the play that is performed by Leo in the main story of “Replay.” “Rumpopo’s Porch” makes up about one-tenth of the content of “Replay.”

“Replay” also has a series of three interesting chapters that seem to be ‘replays.’ Each has the same basic structure: one of the children has an upcoming event, and the family is late. When the finally arrive, the star of the day plays their part and ends up getting injured. One of the Leo’s brother’s breaks his leg at a football game. Leo’s sister sprains her knee. Even his youngest brother manages to get hurt at a choir event.

The interesting part, when this really begins to play a major role, is on the night of Leo’s play. The chapter starts withe same format and structure as the three chapters in which Leo’s siblings get hurt at their own performances. Right from the start of the chapter the reader is just sure that Leo is going to ruin the play or get hurt. Whether he does or not, I’ll not say. You just have to read the book.

All things considered I would say that “Replay,” by Sharon Creech is well written book. Leo’s antics and adventures are both humorous and heartfelt, and it is this balanced mixture that makes a good book.

I would recommend “Replay” for the junior fiction audience.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-11T08:20:00-05:00

“Manolito Four-Eyes, The 2nd Volume of the Great Encyclopedia of My Life,” by Elvira Lindo

“Manolito Four-Eyes, The 2nd Volume of the Great Encyclopedia of My Life,” by Elvira Lindo is the second book of the “Manolito Four-Eyes” series. It continues the history of Manolito’s life and greatest moments.
Book Cover Art for Manolito Four-Eyes The 2nd Volume of the Great Encyclopedia of My Life by Elvira Lindo
Manolito is a ten-year-old boy living in Spain. He’s better known by his nickname, “Four-Eyes,” inspired by his thick glasses. Manolito loves playing with his friends in Hangman’s Park, a local hangout. Unfortunately, Manolito and his friends can always find some way to get in trouble.

The action starts with Manolito’s classic voice:

Boy, did I get chewed out the other day. My legs are still shaking from it. And I didn’t just get chewed out; I got the worst punishment in the history of rock and roll. When my mom was yelling at me, telling me all the different things I was going to suffer through over the weekend, I said “Could you please go a little slower? I wanna write this down.”

Manolito’s voice is honest and thorough as he tells the reader about how two of his friends came up with the idea to steal some candy from the local convenience store. Naturally, the three of them didn’t get away with it, and Manolito ended up paying the penalty.

Manolito’s life is a continual parade of mistakes and mishaps. At the crowded local pub, Manolito accidently cheers a player on the other soccer team playing against the local Barcelona team. Manolito and his friends take part in a local school program to turn trash into art. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned, and the art gets a little more competitive than necessary. When Manolito and his friends form the “Filthy Feet Gang” their mothers shut it down without hesitation.

My favorite chapter out of all of them, was chapter eight: “A Clear Conscious”. Manolito begins telling his tale:

By now, on every street corner in Carabanchel they’re talking about the crime I committed. A small piece of advice: if you want to keep a secret, go live in another neighborhood; in this one it’s impossible.

The funniest thing about it is I swear that I didn’t commit any crime, and to this day, no one believes me. I will being my terrifying story from the beginning of time….

The second volume of Manolito’s life is just as humorous and detailed as the first installment of the “Manolito” series. Manolito’s honest and thorough voice make this story worth reading. His youthful innocence and seriousness are sure to keep readers amused.

If you have read “Manolito Four-Eyes” then I definitely recommend that you read this second book in the popular Spanish series, and I would certainly keep my eye out for further developments as the series is translated from the original Castilian Spanish to English.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-09T08:20:00-05:00

“Every Day and All the Time,” by Sis Deans

“Every Day and All the Time,” by Sis Deans is a novel about a girl who must cope with the aftereffects of a deadly car accident.
Book Cover Art for Every Day and All the Time by Sis Deans
Six months ago Emily Racine and her family were devastated by a car wreck. Each member of the family was effected in some way.

One of Emily’s legs was mangled, resulting in months of therapy and surgery that left her able to walk with a limp, but unable to do one of the things that she loved best: ballet dancing. But far worse than Emily’s fate was that of her brother Jon, who died that day, leaving a great hole in the Racine family.

Emily’s father was driving the family car when the accident occurred and he blames himself for the mistake. Now he has retreated to his office, the place where he wrote the best-selling books that made him famous as a writer. But Emily knows that her father isn’t writing another book. He’s spending his days in the office grieving and drinking far more beer than he should. Emily’s mother also blames herself, because she is a famous surgeon, and when the accident occurred she was away working on someone else’s child. She feels guilty that she wasn’t there to help her own son, and she hides her own pain by spending hours of overtime working at the hospital.

Emily has her own ways of coping with the accident. She spends her time in the basement, where she tries to practice ballet and restore her leg to the condition it was once in. But there is another reason why she likes to spend her time in the basement. In the old entertainment room where Jon and her friends used to hang out Emily can still talk to Jon and tell him about how things are going for her and her parents. Jon answers and tells her that he is fine and suggests things that she should do to help.

Somehow, Emily has a feeling that her parents and her psychotherapist would not want to hear that she still has contact with her dead brother, so Emily keeps it to herself. But then her parents make an announcement: they feel that their house is full of too many sad memories. They want to sell the house and move to another.

Emily can’t move, though, for doing so would be to lose her brother again. And so Emily decides to come up with a plan to turn realtors and home buyers away from the house. That way the Racine family can stay in their home, and Emily can continue to keep her brother living in the basement. As Emily carries out her increasingly elaborate plan, deep down she knows that eventually she will have to face the issues that really matter.

“Every Day and All the Time” is about how psychotherapy and dancing help Emily to accept her brother’s death and “move on” both emotionally and physically. Emily will never forget her brother, but she just needs to find a better way of dealing with his death.

I feel that Sis Dean’s book “Every Day and All the Time” is fascinating in the way that it shows each persons response to death. The different coping mechanisms of each member of the Racine family demonstrate how death affects the family. At the same time the book shows the difference between a healthy coping mechanism and an unhealthy one.

Sis Dean’s focus and depth of exploration on the subject of coping mechanisms makes “Every Day and All the Time” a sensitive and worthy book for young readers.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-07T08:10:00-05:00

“Summerhouse Time,” by Eileen Spinelli

“Summerhouse Time,” by Eileen Spinelli is a book about a young girl named Sophie and her family’s yearly beachside vacation.
Book Cover Art for Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli
Each summer Sophie and her family go to the summerhouse. There they have a family reunion and spend the summer telling stories, riding the waves, and dancing on the beach. Sophie always looks forward to summerhouse time, because every summer she gets to share a room with her favorite cousin Colleen. They giggle and tell secrets all summer long.

This year, though, Sophie is eleven and many things are changing. First of all, there is a new boy in her neighborhood, and Sophie feels that she is “sort of in love” with him. Sophie finally gets to meet him and learns that he is Italian. Summerhouse time will put a break in her romance, but Sophie is determined to be able to speak Italian when she comes back from vacation.

Another thing that has changed is Sophie’s cousin Colleen. When Sophie asks Colleen over the phone if she is getting excited about summerhouse time, Colleen says, “I guess so.” Colleen’s interests have changed, and Sophie finds that her relationship with Colleen has also changed. Colleen doesn’t want to be close to Sophie like she did in past summers, and Sophie is left wondering why.

When summerhouse time finally arrives, Sophie is afraid that this year her summer vacation won’t be nearly as happy as it was in the past. But can Sophie do something to change that?

“Summerhouse Time” is written in a freeform poetry style that emphasizes Sophie’s feelings and thoughts. The dialog is very simple, and yet admirably powerful in its depth and meaning. The entire plot is very openhearted and I enjoyed its tone throughout the story.

Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s drawings add extra charm and appeal to this sunny, warmhearted book. The clean, simple lines of the illustrated characters capture the same tremendous depth of expression, that the poetry passages impart to readers.

All considered I think that Eillen Spinelli has done a great job in writing “Summerhouse Time,” and I would definitely recommend it to young readers.

Inkweaver Book Rating:




Inkweaver Review 2009-07-05T08:22:00-05:00