Thursday, June 17, 2010


McCormick, Patricia. Cut. Push, 2002 (c2000). 151 p. PBK $7.99 ISBN 0439324599

SUMMARY: "While confined to a mental hospital, thirteen-year-old Callie slowly comes to understand some of the reasons behind her self-mutilation, and gradually starts to get better."

RISKS: trigger cutting and self-harming behavior

EVALUATION: McCormick uses just the right details, doesn't overdo it on the description, and develops an authentic protagonist - a tricky thing when the character is silent for most of the novel, in addition to dealing with emotional problems and behavior issues at a "residential treatment facility." Not only did McCormick do extensive research for this book, but she is also emotionally capable as a writer. She truthfully and gently handles the pain in each of her characters, and creates an intimate world full of both harshness and tenderness where readers can hopefully come to understand a little better some of the difficulties many young people face.

TOPICS: self-injury; cutting; eating disorders; substance abuse; emotional problems; mental health; psychiatric hospitals; family problems; sibling relationships; psychological trauma

AWARDS: Arizona: Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominees, 2005; Illinois: Lincoln Award Nominees, 2005; Texas: Tayshas Reading List, 2004; South Carolina: YA Book Award Nominees, 2003; ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2002; Kentucky: Bluegrass Award Nominees, 2002; ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2001

Ages 12 & up

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Peters, Julie Anne. Luna. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2006 (c2004). 256 p. PBK $7.99 ISBN 0316011274

SUMMARY: "Fifteen-year-old Regan's life, which has always revolved around keeping her older brother Liam's transsexuality a secret, changes when Liam decides to start the process of 'transitioning' by first telling his family and friends that he is a girl who was born in a boy's body."

RISKS: transsexuality & transgender characters, issues, and discussions

EVALUATION: Peters tells the story of a transgender teen through the eyes and experience of his/her younger sister. The struggle, the feelings, the characters and their choices all ring true. This is one of very, very few books for teens that honestly and tenderly address transgender issues. Hopefully there will be more in the near future.

TOPICS: transsexuality; identity; family problems; sibling relationships

AWARDS: Missouri: Gateway Readers Award Nominees, 2007; ALA Popular Paperbacks , 2006; Texas: Tayshas Reading List, 2006; ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2005; Michigan: Thumbs Up Award Nominees, 2005

Ages 12 & up

Monday, January 11, 2010


Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Pocket Books, 1999. 213 p. PBK $14.00 ISBN 978-0671027346

SUMMARY: "Charlie, a freshman in high school, explores the dilemmas of growing up through a collection of letters he sends to an unknown receiver."

RISKS: Description of date rape, depictions of substance abuse, descriptions of sexual activity, homosexuality, abortion, vulgar language, sexual abuse

EVALUATION: While I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, primarily because of its gritty elements, I loved it and think it is brilliant. Charlie's voice is constantly authentic and amazingly thoughtful. I might call it a mix between Catcher in the Rye and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Charlie is like Holden in his candor and like Christopher in his guilelessness.

READER'S ANNOTATION: I don't have to come up with one since my assignment it done and my class is over and I don't like writing these anyways!

TOPICS: depression; anxiety; friendship; post traumatic stress; sexual abuse; substance abuse; homosexuality; sex & sexuality; dating; letters; high schools;

AWARDS: Tennessee: Volunteer State Book Award Nominees, 2004; ALA Popular Paperbacks, 2002; Kentucky: Bluegrass Award Nominees, 2002; Texas: Tayshas Reading List, 2002; ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2000

Ages 14 & up