Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater...

Last week was just plan crazy. Most of the week centered on our end of Summer Reading picnics. Tomorrow is the last big hurrah for this summer. Yay!

I won’t be posting much over the next few weeks as I am heading to San Antonio for my sister’s wedding.

I do, however, have two books to share with y’all before I go.

After the Train by Gloria Whelan

Ten years after WWII ends, the effects of anti-Semitism and Nazi rule are still prevalent in Germany – a fact that Peter’s teacher tries to impart on his class. Over the summer, the boys must write about a German who opposed Hitler, Peter ends up making a discovery that has him questioning the life he has always known.

This is an interesting story. The reader is drawn in by Peter’s struggle to justify who he is with who he thought he was. Written in first person and narrated by Peter, it is hard to not experience some of his conflicting emotions. However, there are times when the writing seems abrupt.

Overall, this is an OK book. Although set in 1955, this is yet another to add to already lengthy list of Holocaust/WWII themed books. The premise of the after effects of the war, and the main character being male, do make this slightly different than many of the books already on that list. Tween boys will probably like the discussion of soccer, fishing, etc.

First Light by Rebecca Stead

When 12-year-old Peter’s father decides to take his family on a trip to Greenland, Peter is ecstatic and his mother is apprehensive. Peter expects six weeks of adventure in the frozen world while his father studies the glaciers and effects of global warming. Instead, he finds a world he never imagined.

Fourteen-year-old Thea’s world is a hidden one. Far beneath the surface of Greenland, lives a society of gifted people who, generations ago, fled persecution in England. Thea dreams of going topside, fully believing that it is time for her people to join that world again.

After a chance meeting, Thea and Peter’s worlds collide more than they could ever dream.

I read this book upon a recommendation of a coworker. We were discussing Stead’s other novel – When You Reach Me, and she asked if I had read this one as well.

The story is interesting. There are a few spots of scientific discussion, but they are written well enough that they don’t lose the reader’s attention. The connections between Thea and Peter are a little far fetched, as is some of the back-story of Thea’s people. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and one that I recommend checking out from the library. The age range is from tweens to adults.

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