No matter how you deal with it, losing someone hurts. It leaves a them-shaped hole in your soul. In the book Words in Deep Blue, Rachel has pushed her grief deep inside. So deep, in fact, that she feels almost nothing at all. She has finished school, for now, and has moved back to where she grew up; back to where the boy who was her best friend and secret crush (who broke her heart) lives. No one there, save her aunt, knows about her brother’s death. They do know that something has changed the once-carefree girl into a quiet, sometimes cruel person. Her one refuge is the bookshop where she works but it is also a curse because “The Boy”, also known as Henry, works there, as well. As they work together, they find a comfortable rhythm. Her job is to catalog the stories in the Letter Library. It is the heart and soul of the bookstore where people have left notes to others, known and unknown, inside of books. His job is to help his slowly disintegrating family decide whether to sell their beloved bookshop or not. Together, they reveal themselves to each other and help heal the hurt that each one caused.
Cath Crowley’s poignant love story is powerful and sweet, painful and healing. The characters move through their own lives like feathers on the wind, coming to rest at odd places but always picking up bits and pieces along the way. Her “Letter Library” is a brilliant creation; one that every bookstore and library needs.
John Green has long been one of my favorite authors. His books are fabulous and he and his brother Hank, the Vlogbrothers, have the best videos around. They tackle all kinds of topics and issues with humor and insight. They also educate. Their history/civics videos, in particular, would spice up any high school classroom and help students understand our past.
John’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down, takes on an issue that is closer to him than most; mental illness, specifically, OCD. He speaks about it on his Youtube channel. With tenderness and humor, he gives us a glimpse into his world and what it feels like to be stuck in a spiral. In particular, the scene when Aza and Daisy are in the tunnel and Aza uses the situation to help Daisy understand a little of what she goes through each day is poignant and heartbreaking.
Spirals are cool looking figures. They seem to continue in an ever-tightening, infinite circle. Aza is not particularly fond of spirals, though. Her thoughts can sometimes corkscrew out of control and take her with them. It might start as a simple question, “Did you change your band-aid this morning?” Then, as fast as a machine gun, more questions, doubts, terror crowds out her world and all she knows is the spiral. Her best friend Daisy has stuck by her for most of their lives, no matter what. When the two girls decide to play detective and find the town’s missing millionaire who disappeared under suspicious circumstances, their road diverges into uncharted territory for Aza; boys, a particular boy named Davis Pickett who also happens to be the missing millionaire’s son. It’s a roller coaster ride for Aza as she figures out a way to navigate the budding relationship with Davis, maintain her friendship with Daisy, and also deal with her worsening OCD symptoms. It all comes to a head with a crash and Aza must learn to move forward even if it hurts.
I first discovered Mr. Anderson at a conference in Atlanta when I first started at The Lovett School. I was awed. He was articulate, funny, handsome, did I mention funny? Since then, I have read everything he’s written. I am still awed and he is still articulate, funny, handsome and really, freaking funny! I just finished his latest book, which is sci fi meets Pleasantville with a dash of Mean Girls thrown in for effect.
Adam is an aspiring artist with fantastic talent when the vuvv invaded. Was it really an invasion, though? The vuvv offered free advanced technology and the cure for every disease on Earth. As it turns out, yes, it was. There are very few jobs because vuvv tech has replaced human workers and completely decimated the Earth’s environment in the process. Those miraculous cures are impossibly expensive. Adam makes some creative sacrifices to help his family endure the impossible hardships but soon enough, he must decide how far he’s willing to go and what he’s willing to surrender for their survival.