Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Angry and Lost...while stealing a car?

Three more reviews for your reading pleasure. I still have four or more to write.

Angry Management
by Chris Crutcher

Run by Nak, Angry Management is a group for misfits – teens who have dealt with some hard lives. Told in three novellas, the reader learns a little about each of them, and a lot about survival.

The author takes several characters from his popular teen novels, adds a couple of new ones, and intertwines all of their stories. To paraphrase a coworker, he wrote his own fan fiction.

While the stories are interesting they are not some of Crutcher’s best work. Skip this and head straight for Athletic Shorts.

How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman
Fifteen-year-old Kelleigh Monahan is a good girl. Some might even call her dull. On an impulse, she does something that changes her image; she steals a car. This leads to stealing another car…and another…and thinking about stealing other cars. The high from driving off in someone else’s makes up for the thinly veiled turmoil of her home life. Can Kelleigh curb her penchant for illegally borrowing other people’s automobiles, or will her bad girl ways finally catch up to her?

While there are some serious moments in the story, this book is still more of a fun fluff novel. I like the main character’s voice, and the way her summer assignment is incorporated in the tale. Overall, this is just a quick, fun read.

Lost by Jacqueline Davies

It’s the early 1900s. When Essie, a Triangle Shirtwaist Factory worker, first sees Harriet, she labels the new worker as lost; however, Harriet isn’t the only one who is lost.

As the story unfolds, we learn of Essie’s family: her mother, younger brother, Saulie, and younger sister, Zelda. Essie and Zelda are particularly close. Each chapter switches between the now (Essie’s growing friendship with Harriet) and the then (Essie’s close relationship with Zelda) until the two stories merge. Will those who are lost ever find their way?

With descriptive paragraphs and colorful wording, Davies richly portrays life the early 1900s New York. While life is difficult for Essie and her family, there is beauty and joy as well. Additionally, the plot element and setting of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory (and the fire which took the lives of many young women) is one not often found in historical novels for teens, making it a welcomed change.

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