Tag Archives: Jessie Ann Foley

Art Saves Lives

29 Jul

I’ve been a little absent from this blog. It is not a sign that I haven’t been reading – just a sign that I am knitting like a madwoman and relaxing. I have read a number of really great things, but haven’t had the discipline to sit down and write about them. Such is the life of a teacher in summer.

A recent YA read I really enjoyed was Sorry For Your Loss  by Jessie Ann Foley. Recently, I was talking with a friend about the different ways people process grief, sharing how each of my siblings behaved differently following the death of my mother. Sorry For Your Loss tells the story of how a large Irish-American family deals with an unexpected death. As the youngest (by 4 minutes) in a family of five, I loved how Foley depicts the way birth order impacts your role in a family.

36137535Publisher’s Summary: As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path.

The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”

When Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose.

And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.

 

YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #5

11 Jan

This will be my last check-in on this thread. I have finished the Morris list and can’t comment on the nonfiction list because some of the titles are up for the CYBILS YA Nonfiction award.

It has been interesting reading the Morris list, knowing that I will be on the committee picking next year’s finalists!

So, with no further ado, here is the 2015 Morris list, in my order of preference:

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A sentimental favorite going in, The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston never really left the top spot. I love the world Johnston created and the idea of a bard for a dragonslayer. The ending was unexpected.

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Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero came close to taking Owen’s spot because her voice was so believable.

 

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ties with Len Vlahos’ The Scar Boys. 

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he Carnival at Bray  by Jessie Ann Foley was my least favorite of the five books mostly because of its slow build up to the last quarter of the book. That said, I highly recommend all these books of you are looking for a great YA novel.

YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #3

28 Dec

Thank goodness for the holidays!!! I read three of the books this week: 2 Morris finalists & 1 NF finalist.

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I finally finished  The Carnival at Bray, which I liked, but fund I kept expiating it to be narrated in the first person and was surprised every time I picked it up because it wasn’t. That said, I liked it, but didn’t love it. I felt it took some time to get going, then everything happened at once. That said, it was beautifully written, so give it a read.

Next, I read  Laughing at My Nightmare which I was very excited about.

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I wonder if this book was a contentious choice. With gallows humor, Burcaw describes what his life has been like so far. He is trying to be a typical teen, while confined to a wheelchair. While the book is inspirational and really sheds light on what life is like for people with disabilities, the tone sort of rankled at time, especially when he is critical of others with disabilities. Maybe that’s  just my white middle-class sensibility, but it felt like he was over-compensating for the wheelchair. I feel like a bad person for saying that.

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Finally, I finished The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender yesterday afternoon. I loved this book.  It is magical realism wrapped in a world where the reader’s senses are tantalized. It s also very sad and violent, though not graphically so. It begins with the sad history of the Roux family, from which Ava is descended. When we finally got to Ava’s story, I was very worried for her, and with good reason. But the ending is so full of hope. Read this one.

YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #2

21 Dec

Tis the season to put down the books and madly finish my Christmas knitting projects. I’ve hardly read this week. I had to renew my driver’s license, so I had about an hour to read at the DMV. I’m about a third of the way through  The Carnival at Bray  by Jessie Ann Foley.

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It’s good, but so far, I like  Gabi  and  Owen  better. We shall see what the next two-thirds bring.

On a happy note, I finished all my knitting last night!  The last item was a pair of gloves.

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It’s a little hard to see in the photo, but there is a bit of cabling on the wrist. This is my favorite glove pattern to knit, Knotty, and it is a free pattern you can download from Ravelry. I am giving these to the recipient today, which explains the lack of reading this week. Now, that school and knitting are finished for the year, I can really relax with some good books.

 

2015 Morris Award Finalists

4 Dec

2015 Morris Award Finalists

The Carnival at Bray written by Jessie Ann Foley, published by Elephant Rock Books.

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In 1993, the grunge movement is at its height and Maggie Lynch is living comfortably in Chicago, near Nanny Ei and Uncle Kevin, her musical guru. After her impulsive mother marries and moves the family to a tiny Irish village, Maggie struggles to adjust to the changing world around her.

I just put this on hold today. this title is new to me.

 

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim written by E.K. Johnston, published by Carolrhoda Lab™, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

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Owen is training to be a dragon slayer, a crucial job in a world where dragons bring death and destruction. With help from their friends and family, Owen and his bard Siobhan seek the source of a growing dragon threat.

 

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces written by Isabel Quintero, published by Cinco Puntos Press.

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Aspiring poet Gabi Hernandez is having a complicated senior year: One of her best friends is pregnant, and the other just came out. Even as her mother worries that she will become a “bad” girl, Gabi adds romance and the quest for college to her already full plate.

I’ve had this out from the library for a while, but have yet to read it, though it has just moved to the top of the pile.

 

The Scar Boys written by Len Vlahos, published by Egmont Publishing.

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In a college admission essay, Harry Jones reveals the physical and psychological scars of his childhood and the solace and self-confidence he found in friendship and punk music.

 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender written by Leslye Walton, published by Candlewick Press.

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Born with a pair of wings, sixteen-year-old Ava Lavender inherits a rich family history and a legacy of heartbreak. After a young man becomes convinced she is an angel, can Ava survive his obsession intact?

I’ve had this out from the library for a while, but have yet to read it, though it has also just moved to the top of the pile.

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