Monthly Archives: June 2014

Staff Review: Say What You Will

9780062271105Say What You Will

Cammie McGovern

Harper Teen


Available June 3, 2014

Besides the deft plotting and writing, the believable characters and interesting setup, this book captures the uncertainty of being a teen, simultaneous with the pounding clarity of want (and don’t want). So many YA books, including the estimable ones to which this is being compared, have central characters whose desires are hard-edged, sure-footed, clear-eyed. Amy and Matt, especially Matt, are NOT so sure. Their days and nights are filled with the anxieties that exacerbate neurotic behavior, yet they struggle bravely on, never seeking the assurance of alcohol, video games, or extreme personal style statements. (There are some medications involved, but they do not constitute “drug use”.) Amy and Matt know without knowing that life is never going to be easier: her brains will never compensate completely for her cerebral palsy; his therapies and new-found friends will never wipe out his obsessive-compulsive urges altogether. The issues may evolve, but the coping never ends, and they have learned to help each other cope better.

~ Carol


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Staff Review: China Dolls


Lisa See

China Dolls

Random House


Available June 2014

Lisa See once again has brought a certain time period in history to life. This time is San Francisco, 1938, there is a World’s Fair on Treasure Island and a war brewing overseas. Three young women meet and find themselves competing in auditions at an exclusive nightclub called the Forbidden City. Grace is an American-born Chinese. Helen is from a Chinese family with deep roots in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. They form a pact to stick together alternately helping and sometimes hurting each other within the cutthroat world of entertainment and male attention. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, the government starts rounding up innocent Japanese and send them to interment camps.

I was really interested in following the lives of these women and See continues to portray complicated relationships in a very interesting, yet harrowing, time in our country’s history.

~ Cathy

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