Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh

Jack Perdu, a shy, ninth grade classics prodigy, lives with his father at Yale University. When he suffers a near fatal accident, Jack's father sends him to see a mysterious doctor in New York City--a place Jack hasn't been since his mother died there eight years ago. In New York, Jack meets a girl named Euri who leads him into the city's Underworld, a place where those who died in New York reside until they are ready to move on. This, Jack believes, is a chance to see his mother again. But as secrets about Euri's past are revealed, so are the true reasons for Jack's visit to the Underworld.

Wow.  I was shocked when I read this book.  I walked to the library and picked out the first book that caught my eye.  Naturally, it was The Night Tourist.  I actually read it expecting to have to put it down due to language, sensuality, or something.  But no!  I was pleasantly surprised and was able to finish and enjoy it.  I even managed to convince my sister to read it (huge Brownie points for that).  There is so much fun stuff about this book that I'll let you find it for yourself and I'll highlight the bad stuff for you here.
There are a very few uses of d--- and h--- and a few uses of 'oh my god'.  The subject matter rates this book at ages 14+.  A girl commits suicide and tells how she jumped in front of a train.  Death is a very common subject, always in the back of the mind.  It is treated lightly most of the time but might be frightening or disturbing to younger readers.
The Night Tourist isn't a complicated read; it's what my mom would call "fluff" because it doesn't cause a whole lot of thought.  This makes it ideal for younger readers.  However, the subject matter of death and suicide curbs the audience at age 14.  I recommend mature readers who are looking for a break from school literature.  Enjoy!!!
Happy reading!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.  (

This was quite the shocker when it comes to books.  My younger sister was recommended to read this and so, being the book lover that I am, I naturally picked it up to read a few pages and get the feel of the story.  Despite the language being written for younger audiences, I was immediately intrigued.  The plot is complicated and much more complex than I would expect a sixth or seventh grader to grasp.  I finished it within a day and was extremely pleased with the finale.  If you are in need of an excellent quick read, find the nearest copy of When You Reach Me.
There may be a few uses of "oh my god" or the like.  I don't remember every use of the phrase and so I will throw out a general warning but don't promise there are uses.
There is reference to murder and accidents such as car accidents.  One character is killed when a truck hits him although there is no graphic gore.  Another character is punched in the stomach and repeatedly kicked while lying on the ground.
A woman is left by her husband and has a boyfriend.  There is no sensuality and everything is handled nicely.
Again, I was rather surprised to find such a complex and compelling story within a children's book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you do too!!!
Happy reading!