Tag Archives: suicide

Simply beautiful

22 Jul

In What I Leave Behind,  Alison McGhee doesn’t take on topics that haven’t been covered before. She does, however, take on familiar topics in a whole new way. It is simple and beautiful…and simply beautiful.

There are 100 words on 100 pages. It is poetic and thoughtful – perfect for a teen who loves thoughtful literature but accessible for reluctant readers. Each page has a Chines character and my only complaint is that I would have liked a little more information about that. I did some research on my own, and that satisfied my curiosity.

I loved Will. He is a nice boy with a lot to bear. His father is gone and his friend has been raped. He makes sense of the world by walking, thinking and being kind. We need more people like Will.

what-i-leave-behind-9781481476560_lg

Publisher’s Summary: After his dad dies of suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this exquisitely crafted story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each, by award-winning and bestselling author Alison McGhee.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

18 Oct

A lot of teen books deal with suicide: either characters have suicidal feelings or they are dealing with the aftermath of the suicide of someone close to them. I just finished listening to I Was Here by Gayle Forman, which falls into the latter category.

Unknown

Publisher’s Summary: When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

It took me a while to warm up to Cody. She hasn’t had the soft life of some of Forman’s other protagonists. She is the only child of a single mother who is not very maternal, so has grown up tough and a bit prickly on the outside. She is, however, maybe more realistic that some of Forman’s other characters. because of her situation, there isn’t money for her to go away to school. She has to work after graduation and take classes at the local community college as she can afford them. Her dream of going to university in Seattle is a bust. But she’s making do. Meg’s suicide is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It turns her world upside down, but it eventually gives her the fortitude to take action.

Happy 17th birthday, Alexis!

4 Jul

Today, in addition to it being the 239th birthday of the United States, it is the 17th birthday of my niece, Alexis. This year, I sent her All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Unknown-2

Let me start by saying this one ripped my heart out. It reminded me a little of John Green’s Paper Towns. This is a very sad book about two very sad teens. Violet is overwhelmed by the death of her sister a year before. Finch is depressed and contemplating suicide. They come together accidentally and bond over a geography project.

The story, told in two voices,  unfolds slowly, so don’t give up on it if you get to page 50 and are thinking about abandoning it.

A few things about the novel concern me. First, the inattention and lack of concern for Finch’s mental health on the part of Finch’s parent. Then, the apparent lack of concern of school officials for the suicide attempt in the tower, and the way the school social media made a circus of it.

In spite of that, I highly recommend this to YA and adult readers.

Faith

5 Feb

I’ve been running across a number of YA books that deal with faith and religion lately. The first one I want to tell you about is Rumble  by Ellen Hopkins.

Unknown-1

Publisher’s Summary: Matthew Turner knows it doesn’t get better.

His younger brother Luke was bullied mercilessly after one of Matt’s friends outed Luke to the whole school, and when Luke called Matt—on the brink of suicide—Matt was too wrapped up in his new girlfriend to answer the phone. Now Luke is gone, and Matt’s family is falling apart.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting those he blames off the hook—including himself. As Matt spirals further into bitterness, he risks losing Hayden, the love of his life. But when her father begins to pressure the school board into banning books because of their homosexual content, he begins to wonder if he and Hayden ever had anything in common.

With brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance, bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s Rumble explores bullying and suicide in a story that explores the worth of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Matt lives near Eugene, Oregon, in a small town where there is a large evangelical Christian presence at his high school. His girlfriend, Hayden, is part of that presence, though Matt is an atheist. Told in Matt’s voice, we see him struggle with his relationships as he deals with his brother’s suicide. This is a sensitively told story and I think a lot of teens will connect to Matt’s struggles with the ideas of religion, faith and God.

I listened to this on an Audiobook generously provided by Audiobook Jukebox. The text is narrated by Kirby Heyborne. At first I felt as though his voice was a little flat, but it grew on me, so don;t give up if you start listening and feel the same way. The audiobook is made up of 7 CDs and runs 9 hours and 8 minutes.

Right now, I’m reading Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley, but I’m not far enough into it to tell you much about it. I’ll save that for another day.

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

%d bloggers like this: