Tag Archives: Young readers

‘What I do now will cause . . .?’ | Review of “Me (And) Me” by Alice Kuipers (2017) HarperCollins Canada

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(I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book. I will add pull-quotes to this review once I get my hands on a true printed copy.)

It is never easy of any person to make a decision, let alone one that needs to be made at the spur of the moment. Consequences need to be considered to words said or actions  made which may  have long lasting results. And for  an adolescent, those decisions  can be heart-wrenching, especially if their young minds are already guilt-ridden  from past traumas.  That is  one of the major themes Alice Kuipers brilliantly explores  in her book Me (and) Me.

The story of the book deals with Lark, a young girl who is just in the process of celebrating her seventeenth birthday. She has mixed feelings about the day, since it brings back memories of her mother’s passing a few years ago. Readers witness Lark’s day  starting off in a well-enough manner; The sky is clear. She has just finished writing a ‘kick-ass’ song for the band and she has a date with the gorgeous and Alec out by the lake. Alas, things  take a turn for the worse when a neighbourhood girl begins to drown and Alec gets himself into trouble as well trying to save little Annabelle. Lark is in a quandary as she tries to decide which one of the two to save.

Kuipers uses the concept of parallel universes in this book in a brilliant fashion to explore the roles of cause/effect. Reader’s witness the two Larks – one where she save little Annabelle from the depth of a lake and suffering from a long-lasting coma AND the other where she saves Alec from the same fate. Both Larks are guilt-ridden by their decisions and their guilt becomes overpowering that they both act out in different manners.

Alice Kuipers’ Me (And) Me is truly a unique read. The book does an excellent job in exploring cause/effect roles in the actions of human beings. A great read and an enlightening one for the younger set.

*****

Link  to HarperCollins Canada’s website for Me (And) Me

Link to Alice Kuipers’ website

Link to my Q&A with Alice Kuipers about Me (And) Me – (M)y books often explore how writing and creativity give my characters tools to deal with the world

 

 

 

(M)y books often explore how writing and creativity give my characters tools to deal with the world | Q&A with author Alice Kuipers on her novel “Me (and) Me”

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Alice Kuipers is a very popular author of Young Adult fiction and one of good merit.  Her newest book  –  Me (and) Me –  is already garnishing praises on from all manners of readers and bringing new fans to her works. Kuipers was kind enough to answer a few questions for me and include me in her blog tour of her new book.

*****

1) First off, could you give an outline of the plot of Me (and) Me?

Hi there. Thanks for interviewing me! The description of Me (and) Me from my website is this: It’s Lark’s seventeenth birthday, and although she’s hated to be reminded of the day ever since her mom’s death three years ago, it’s off to a great start. Lark has written a killer song to perform with her band, the weather is stunning and she’s got a date with gorgeous Alec. The two take a canoe out on the lake, and everything is perfect—until Lark hears the screams. Annabelle, a little girl she used to babysit, is drowning in the nearby reeds while Annabelle’s mom tries desperately to reach her. Lark and Alec are closer, and they both dive in. But Alec hits his head on a rock in the water and begins to flail.

Alec and Annabelle are drowning. And Lark can save only one of them.

Lark chooses, and in that moment her world splits into two distinct lives. She must live with the consequences of both choices. As Lark finds herself going down more than one path, she has to decide: Which life is the right one?

That gives the opening. After that the book is structured around both of Lark’s lives as she tries to figure out how to put her life back together again. Each choice has good things and bad things about it—but Lark spends the book encountering glimpses of the life she isn’t leading and that sends her into a tailspin. I’m not sure how much to say without spoiling the story!

2) Was there anything that inspired to write this book? (If yes, what was it?) Is there anything you are hoping the book will accomplish?

I started writing this book when I was eighteen, but I had a whole different set of characters and ideas at the time. Suddenly, about three years ago, the character of Lark came to me and from there, the ideas from the unpublished book I wrote when I was eighteen realigned. As to what I hope the book will accomplish, well, that’s an interesting question. I don’t really think while I’m writing the book about anything other than the story. And then when a book goes into the world, I let it go. A book is a co-creation between the author and the reader, so, if anything, I hope that I’ve given the reader a lot of room in the story to bring their own ideas and imagination. I hope the story becomes the living, breathing thing it was for me when I wrote it.

3) Your website lists this book as your seventh published book. Has your writing change since you began writing? If yes, how so?

My writing has changed because when I first started writing I had no idea what I was doing. I had to spend a lot of time reading books on grammar and studying writing to be able to write the ideas in my head—that’s why the first time I tried to write this book, it didn’t ever get read by anyone else. I just didn’t even know how to punctuate speech correctly (to be fair, that is hard!) My first published book was at least my sixth attempt at writing a completed novel. And then during the editorial process for each of my published books I learnt so much about writing that I felt like a beginner all over again. As a writer now, I am more confident sentence by sentence, but I find it very hard to create a whole book—and that’s what stimulates me as a writer too—the challenge.

But thematically, my books often explore how writing and creativity give my characters tools to deal with the world. Lark is a singer-songwriter and she uses her songs to help her deal with her new, crazy life. That part was really fun to write.

4) Are you planning a book tour or any public readings of Me (and) Me? If yes, are there any particular events or dates you are looking forward to? Are public readings something you enjoy participating in?

This blog tour is a great way for me to share the book with readers, along with public events and readings. I have four small children so I try to do a lot of publicity from my couch—but I’m looking forward to the Literacy For Life Conference in Saskatoon (Link here) on May 1st and 2nd, when I’ll share the book with 2000 local students. The Festival of Words in Moose Jaw (Link here) is going to be great fun too—me, plus the children, plus my partner (Yann Martel) who is a writer too, plus the spa in Moose Jaw, plus a lot of eager readers and writers! I do enjoy doing events but they make me a little nervous. Speaking to a big group of people can be intimidating, until I remember that I am not talking about me but about my books. And hopefully I’m giving the people I’m speaking to some ideas about writing that are useful for them, too.

5) You seem to be active on numerous social-media sites. How do you like using those sites in relation to your writing? Is there one platform (like Facebook or Twitter) you enjoy hearing from fans of your work?

I love hearing from readers and I think as an author for teens it’s a good way for them to reach out to me. I enjoy being active on social media—it’s a fun way to procrastinate and connect with a bigger world. (Link to Alice Kuipers’ Twitter account) (Link to Alice Kuipers’ Facebook account) Writing involves me tuning out of the world—I am alone with my thoughts and my books. Social media opens the world up so that I can hear from readers and writers about the books and stories that spark their worlds. I like all of the platforms that I use, but my current favourite is Instagram where I regularly post writing prompts for people.

6) You have a program on the internet called Freeflow: A Writing Journey in which you have had budding writers learn skills on how to write? How has that been working out?

That course is free for anyone who signs up to my newsletter and it has a lot of people working through it online. I also have a course with Children’s Book Insider (Link Here) called Chapter Book Blueprint that has been a lot of fun too. I love working on online courses as, again, I’m reaching out from my sofa. It means I can share my ideas about writing with other writers, but then turn to my bouncy children (who are all under the age of eight) and spend a lot of time with them too. I can work around their schedules.

7) Are you working on anything new right now? If yes, are there details you care to share?

Yes, I’m always working on something new. Right now, I’ve been working on a YA novel about a girl who claims to be from the future, and a YA memoir about travelling around the world with panic disorder when I was eighteen. I’ve also got a chapter book series upcoming with Chronicle Press, which is exciting. The first book comes out in 2018. It’s called Polly Diamond.

8) Your biography on your website lists you as living in Saskatoon. How do you like living there? Are there any cultural institutions or landmarks there that you enjoy that help you with your writing?

I’ve been living in Saskatoon for thirteen years now and we have a good life here. The children go to a great school, we have a close community of friends, and we enjoy everything the city has to offer. The winters are a bit long for me, but I’ve learned to cross-country ski, which helps. This year we did a lot of ice-skating too. Saskatoon influences my writing, absolutely. Walking by the river seems to come up for my characters in all of my books now, based on my walks along the Meewasin Valley Trails.  (Link here) I also enjoy Living Sky Café (Link here) in the old Mendel Art Gallery space, and The Children’s Discovery Museum (Link here) is a great place to hang out with the kids and get ideas for stories. I spend a lot of time at my children’s school at the moment—meeting with kids and talking about writing with them seems to help me with my own writing a lot too. And then I go to D’Lish regularly (Link here)—which is the name of the café in Me (and) Me.

*****

Link to Harper Collins Canada’s website for Me (And) Me

Link to Alice Kuipers’ website

 

 

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Engaging the Younger Audience on their own Terms | Review of “The Death of Us” by Alice Kuipers (2014) HarperTrophyCanada

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I am always asked to recommend books for young adults, usually by parents looking to recommend something for their kids to read. It is usually something I am somewhat nervous in doing. I am not sure that I understand the lives that most teenagers have these days. But there are books that are written for that age group that I enjoy. And The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers is certainly one of those books.

Callie Page 5

I get it, I do. The have a baby now and they’ve done their part: what a successful, balanced teenager they’ve created.

I don’t take drugs. Check.

I don’t drink. Check.

I don go to wild parties. Check.

Okay I have a couple extra piercings in my right ear that Mom  hates. And I’ve dyed my hair black, which Dad moans about. And he definitely can’t understand why the dark-blue nail polish, with one green nail on the fourth finger of each hand. I’ve told him there’s nothing to understand.

Still, I keep my room tidy. Check.

I get my homework in on time. Check.

I’ll get into any university I want, probably. Check.

I’m perfectly bone-crushingly normal. Check. Check. Check.

If only I didn’t feel like I do right now around my parents, we could all just get along like we used to.

I originally picked up this book for research into another blog piece but I feel it deserves to be mentioned here. We have three protagonists in this story  who move the plot along by giving their points of view: Callie, Ivy and Kurt. Callie seems to be up for going through an average summer until her old friend Ivy shows up after a three-year unexplained absence. Although somewhat hesitant at first to renew the friendship, Callie is soon going to parties and trying new clothes and much more new activities with Ivy. However when a handsome boy appears on the scene, the friendship grows more than toxic.

Ivy Page 49-50

Kurt beeps the horn outside my house. Mom’s asleep on the couch. She’s gorgeous when she’s sleeping. I spot a text on her phone from Kevin. Dirty words. Gross. I tuck the phone next to her. She stirs, the sour stink of her rising like steam. Screw it, Mom, two days we’ve been back. Don’ you think Kevin’s gonna notice? I take the bottle.

The room is dark, curtains drawn. No one’s watching but I check around anyway. I put the bottle to my lips and hold it there. Then, slowly, I take the bottle away from my mouth. I won’t drink. I’m notlike her – see how easy it is, Mom not to drink? We’re the result of the choices we make every day and this is my choice. I pour the bottle out into the sink, wishing she didn’t always find a way to get more. But I’m not going to waste energy thinking like that. I count one, two, three, four, five.

I’m ready for the boat trip. Summery dress for a sunny, summery day. Kurt beeps the horn again. I’ve made him wait long enough, poor boy. Men are like dogs, they need training, and every dog needs a reward when he’s done good. Kurt has been very patient. I pop my gum in my mouth, step down the porch stairs and slide into the back because there’s another guy in the passenger seat – a thin guy with a beard and glasses, crouched over because he’s so tall . . .

Kuipers has written a narrative here that is honest and frank. The language hasn’t been filtered or corrected by any means, making it an honest read for any young mind to follow. The issues in the story are current for today’s audience. Kuipers drops hints during the story that something massive is going to happen to the trio in the end but does an excellent job in keeping readers in suspense, ensuring readers are enraptured to the end.

Kurt – Pages 119-120

I glance at the black coffee. I can’t drink it. Inertia. I don’t like it about myself, wish I could be more decisive, but when things get tough I blank out. Freeze.

It was the only way to protect myself when I was a little kid. When my mom tore up the world around me. There’s no way to explain to most people, people like Callie or Xander, that life can be so bad sometimes the only way to deal with with it is to pretend none of it’s happening. Or, the opposite. Life can be so good, the possibility of the future so awesome that the only way to protect yourself from ruining it is to sit back. Let the opportunity slide by.

The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers is a unique and enlightening read for  a younger audience. It is a page-turner and a great exploration of thoughts and emotions. In short, a truly exceptional book.

*****

Link to HarperCollins Canada’s website for The Death of Us

Link to Alice Kuipers’ website

All the Emotions of Youth and Fandom | Review of “All The Feels” by Danika Stone (2016) Swoon Reads

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The relationships that younger people have today are complex and far-reaching. They spend a lot of their time in the realms of digital media and popular culture, hence some of the terms they use – like fandom – are odd and confusing to us. But Danika Stone has written a novel that not only allows many of us some insight into the world of fandom culture, but gives younger readers some groundwork to start a discussion about their obsessions. So readers can explore All The Feels on a multitude of levels.

Page 15

If she’d been feeling ambitious, Liv might have picked up groceries and persuaded Xander to teach her another of his “soon to be famous” recipes. With three little brothers and a mom who worked nights, he had taught himself how to cook. As Xander always said, “it was that or starve,” but Liv had been proctoring in the audio lab all afternoon – adjusting audio levels for amateur musical performances – and by the time she made it back, she was wiped. Besides, Liv reasoned, whenever Xander cooked, he talked . . . And tonight she wasn’t in the mood to hear about his latest cosplay ideas, or – worse yet – his last date with Arden, his bubbly girlfriend. The duo make a striking couple. (Liv could see that as much as anyone.) Arden was light and laughter to Xander’s brooding looks, but Liv wasn’t in the mood to hear about their evident happiness.

She was grieving.

Liv flopped onto the couch and pulled out her phone to scroll through the latest postings on the various Spartan websites. Almost a week after the Christmas Eve release, there were spoilers everywhere. The entire Starveil fandom was in an uproar over Spartan’s death. Liv’s throat grew thick and painful, and she searched until she found a fix-it AU, posted just today. She was halfway through reading it when she heard the garage door open. Katherine swirled through the doorway, coat flapping like the sails of a ship.

“Dinner’s on!” she called, dropping a moisture-soaked bag onto the floor of the entrance.

Stone has brilliantly wrapped up so many concepts and issues in her story about college freshman Liv. We do read about Liv’s obsession about the “Starveil” movie franchise but we also get to experience Liv’s anxiety about: friends, relationships, her mother, death, school, money, and so forth. But Stone has managed to keep all those issues flowing through the story, making the plot easy to read.

Page 112

“If you wanted to go out to a movie sometime,” she gasped. “Like  . . . Like a date or something.”

The bomb dropped.

She waited, but Hank didn’t move. He stared at her for a long time. Live felt like she was caught in a movie, and everyone else had switched into slow motion, but she hadn’t. She was certain at least thirty seconds passed before he blinked, like the film he was in had been on pause and he had abruptly caught up to her.

Hank smiled, but his time it was a different sort of smile. A weaker one. “Liv, I  . . . I don’t know what to say.” He beamed down at her, but it wasn’t the toothy grin she knew. This was something else. Something that hurt the inside of her chest. “I’m flattered. Really, I am. But I have to say no.”

“What?” The word was the sound of someone kicked in the gut.

Hank’s smile faltered. “I can’t. I mean, I’d love to, if I didn’t have a girlfriend.” He winced. “And I felt that way about you.”

Liv turned away from him. Her stomach roiled. The only possible way this situation could get worse was if she did throw up. “Oh my God.” She pushed past a gaggle of girls lingering outside the doorway and headed down the hall. She needed to get away!

“Liv wait!”

She waled faster, vision tunneling down. Now she felt like she might pass out. Oh God, her mind screamed. What have I done?

Not only has Stone kept the language clear and concise here but uses phrases and terms appropriate to the age. Many of my followers have stated they have had problems finding books for younger readers because much of the  language used in today’s selections seem stilted and dated. This book uses terms and phrases that are common usage today. Stone has not only come up with an interesting story line here but also must have researched terms and technology well.

Page 160-161

Liv glared at the laptop screen, the cursor pulsing in time to her thoughts. There was footage on her hard drive: used segments from the bonus features of various Starveil films and twice as many outtakes with Xander, music and audio clips. It was all there, ready to make and #SpartanSurvived vid.

She just needed to break her promise to do it.

“Liv?” her mother called from outside her bedroom “Can we talk?”

“No.”

Liv slid her chair over to the door and locked it.

“Liv, sweetie,” her mother pleaded, “I know you’re angry I talked to Gary, but if you’d listen you’ll-”

Liv put on her headphones and hit Play.

The well-known trill of the Starveil theme flooded her ears, and she let out a sobbing laugh, overwhelmed by emotion. This was it. This was where she felt at home. Not at the dinner table with Gary! Not doing stupid school projects that didn’t matter. The sound of her mother’s knocking faded, and Liv sighed in relief. She needed this the same way she needed air. The last few weeks, she’d felt trapped, but now she was free.

Decision made, Live opened the video editor and smiled.

It was time to bring that passion back to fandom.

Danika Stone has written a great and modern book with All The Feels. The story line is easy to read yet covers a multitude of issues that concerns younger readers. In short a great and enlightening read for any age.

******

Link to Danika Stone’s website

Link to Swoon Reads’ website for All The Feels

Link to my Q&A with Danika Stone -“I was eager to find a Canadian press for Edge of Wild, since it’s a Canada-focused story.”

 

Riley Donovan and the Fight Against Injustice | Review of “Trial by Fire” by Norah McClintock (To be Released April 19, 2016) Orca Books

I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book via librarything.com and Orca Books

It is hard for any teen to adjust, let alone fit into a new setting. But they do have  a set of values in place and they do fight for what they think is right. That is the situation that Norah McClintock has put her character Riley Donovan in her new YA fiction novel Trial By Fire. The story is not only an enlightening one, but a gripping one as well.

Riley has been bounced around a bit. Her mother has died. Her father – a medical doctor –  has ‘turned into Albert Schweitzer’ and spends most of his time overseas. She was finally use to her Grampa Jimmy, but he passed on too. Now she is living with her Aunt Ginny who has taken a new job as a police officer in a small town. Her aunt is demanding and controlling which Riley finds difficult.

As Riley is getting her room ready in her new house, she sees that her neighbour’s barn is on fire.  She has met Mr. Goran – also new to the community being a refugee from Kurdistan – and fears for his safety. She rushes over to help but becomes trapped herself.

McClintock has written an interesting story here filled with suspense, intrigue and guile. Her phrasing is simple and has the book filled with dialog that fits the manner of today’s young reader. Plus there are facts and issues included in the plot that should enlighten and engage any reader.

In closing, Trial By Fire by Norah McClintock is a great read for the YA set. Engrossing, enlightening and entertaining, Riley Donovan should lead readers into wanting more adventures from her.

Link to Orca Books’ website for Trial By Fire

Link to Norah McClintock’s website

“I think most of my inspiration . . . comes from those very human moments that can happen anywhere” | Q&A with author Lisa J. Lawrence

New authors are always exciting to discover, especially if they are out to engage new minds. This past week Lisa J. Lawrence launched Rodent, a gripping novel aimed for the teenage set. Lawrence grew up in several different locales in British Columbia and Alberta.  She now resides and works as a teacher in Edmonton.

*****

1) First off, can you give a bit of an outline of Rodent?

Rodent is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Isabelle, who is essentially the caregiver for her mother and younger siblings because of her mother’s alcoholism. She tries to keep everyone alive and together as her mom bounces from job to job and they move from friends’ basements to shelters to sketchy apartments. Rodent begins after one of these moves. At the same time, Isabelle starts grade eleven at a new school. That brings a lot of new, unexpected things for her—both good and bad.

 

2) Where did you get the inspiration to write Rodent? Was there much research involved in writing it or was it more of a work of ‘pure imagination?’

The spark for Rodent came one night when I was putting my youngest daughter to bed, who was three or four years old at the time. After going through the bedtime routine and tucking her in, I thought, “What would it be like for a child to have to do all of this?” I started thinking about circumstances in which children care for other children, playing an adult’s role. From there, it was mostly a work of imagination. I had a couple of teenaged “consultants” who I would bounce things off of from time to time! I know a RCMP officer who was kind enough to answer my police-related questions. I also read some accounts of children living with a parent with an addiction.

3) I know it has been a short while since Rodent was released but how has the reaction been to it so far?

So far, the early reviews and feedback on Goodreads (Click on link here) have been positive. That’s a great feeling. When you share your story with others, you hope they’ll like it or at least relate to it in some way.

4) Who are your favourite writers? What are you reading right now?

Margaret Laurence held the title of favourite for a long time. I’m all over the place these days. I hate to be a cliché, but I adore the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I was a late bloomer; all the movies were out before I started reading any of the books, and then I was hooked. I felt a little depressed when I finished them all! I also enjoy Susan Juby, especially her Alice trilogy, and some Neil Gaiman. I loved Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpoole. With my daughter, I’m currently reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In the near future, I hope to tackle Seven the Series.

5) Is there much planned in the way of public readings or book-club events for Rodent? If yes, are there events you are excited to be attending?

I am looking forward to a launch for Rodent at Audreys Books in Edmonton on May 14th. It’s my first launch, and I’m excited to celebrate with friends, family, and anyone who would like to attend! I also plan on doing some readings at local schools. I’m open to participating in other events that may come up as well.

6) Are you working on anything new right now? If yes, are there details you care to share?

I’m currently finishing a manuscript about a thirteen-year-old girl with Turner syndrome. I’ll just say it takes place in northern Alberta and involves some highly unusual circumstances!

7) You have an active fan page on Facebook right now. Will you be using it to keep in contact with fans? Will you be expanding to any other social-media platforms like Twitter or Pinterest?

Yes, the Facebook page is new. (Click here for link) It’s been pretty quiet so far, as I get things going, but I hope to use it to keep readers informed about upcoming readings, etc. I’m eyeing Twitter as well, but I don’t think I have a really good feel for it yet! Maybe it’s the word limit that gets me.

8) Your biographies have you listed as living in Edmonton. How do you like living there? Does its cultural life offer you much in the way of inspiration for your writing?

I love Edmonton. It’s been my home for about twenty years now. I think most of my inspiration, though, comes from those very human moments that can happen anywhere: feeling left out, restlessness, overcoming something difficult, making an unexpected connection. I grew up in a small town (Stettler, AB), and a lot of inspiration comes from there as well. Having said that, I do love Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre and Fringe Festival!

****

Link to Orca Book Publishers webpage for Rodent

 

Reflecting the Realities of a Young Reader | Review of “Dreams of Significant Girls” by Cristina García (2011) Simon & Schuster

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Being a avid reader, I am often told by parents they have a hard time getting their teenagers to read. In many cases, the teenagers themselves state the books they are given to read don’t reflect their lives or have agendas in trying to form opinions and attitudes instead of trying to relate to them. While researching another project, I came across a book that I think should better fit the wants of young readers. Hence my mention here of  Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina García.

Page 2-3 Vivien Wahl

Things didn’t go as well for my parents. Papi worked all the the time. He traveled to Africa to buy diamonds for his new import business. We hardly ever saw him. This made my mother very lonely. Whenever I wanted to hang out with friends after school, she made me feel so guilty that half the time I didn’t go. Late at night, I’d hear my parents arguing. Mom cried and accused Dad of abandoning her. She suspected that he was having an affair. He countered that maybe he didn’t want to come home to a depressed wife every night. So off I went to “safe Switzerland so they could sort things out.

I’d never been on a flight by myself before, much less one where you got to choose what you wanted to eat from a menu. I ordered everything that came with cream sauce and a crème brûlée for dessert. Then I settled in to read my volume of J. D. Salinger stories. I brought ten books with me, all fiction. The Swiss camp promised that I’d be exceedingly busy: three hours of French class in the morning, sports and activities in the afternoon (I chose horseback riding, water skiing, cooking and ceramics), with nightly activities on top of that. I packed a flashlight in case my only time to read was under the bedcovers. In third grade, I got glasses from reading in the dark. Every time my mother looked at me with my thick tortoiseshell glasses, she’d sigh, as if I’d been permanently disfigured.

García uses simple and frank language in this book, which appeals to younger readers. The story deals with three girls: Sharin, Ingrid and Vivien. All three are sent to a private summer camp in Switzerland where they become acquainted. The story is broken apart by giving each of the three a chance to narrate the story, giving a unique perspective to a situation through each of the girl’s eyes.

Page 12-13 Ingrid Baum

We couldn’t wait to get out of Canada – away from our town, away from our smothering German mother, and frankly, away from my bad reputation. Our town was like a fish bowl. When you weren’t swimming around inside it, fins ablaze and blowing bubbles, you were on the outside looking in, watching everyone else and making snide remarks. so when my little sister, Kathe, and I finally got on the plane in Toronto, I whooped and hollered so loud, the stewardess cam over and read me the riot act. I got lots of dirty looks from the other passengers too. Apparently, airplanes were a lot more like small towns than we knew.

The first thing I did after the plane hit top altitude was whip out my fake ID and order a double scotch. I looked a lot older than fifteen. When I was dressed up and wearing makeup, grown men hit on me all the time. My sister was thirteen but looked about ten. She’d deny it, of course, but there was no way she could’ve ordered a double scotch and gotten away with it. So I pours some of mine into her Coke when nobody was looking ans we both settled in to watch the movie.

García also has the characters deal with issues that many of today’s teens have difficulties dealing with. Desires, heritage, mental health, parental irresponsibility, and so forth and covered by each of the girls in detail. Showing each of the girls with their problems gives insight to any reader what a young person has to deal with in modern society and the possible solutions.

Page 110 Shirin Firouz

Not that Jan-Peter was conventionally handsome. He was tall and bony and his front teeth overlapped in a funny way. But his eyes, a soft gray, anchored everything into place. I was surprised by the sudden ferocity of my feelings for him. I had assumed that I was immune to the vicissitudes of romantic love, especially after with that degenerate last year. When my cousins in Tehran spoke of their exuberant admiration for this boy or that, I thought them fools.

That summer, I became the fool.

Ingrid was irritable for days, accusing Vivien and me of abandoning our friendship in the “tawdry pursuit of the opposite sex.” While she freely advised everyone else on how to handle boys, Ingrid was mum on the subject when it came to us. She would light a cigarette, blow smoke out the window, and haughtily pronounce: “You’ll just have to find out for yourselves, won’t you?”

Her attitude, in my opinion, was unwarranted. Vivien and I discussed it at length but we could not decide whether Ingrid was jealous (unlikely, since she could have had her pick of boys), concerned (also possible, given our inexperience), or hormonally imbalanced (this was Viven’s theory but I found it sexist and refused to subscribe to it).

One thing we could both agree on: It was decidedly unpleasant.

Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina García is a interesting read that should appeal to younger readers. It deals with modern issues in a frank and open manner through it’s narrative that makes it an enlightening read.

Link to Cristina García’s website

Link to Simon & Schuster’s page for Dreams of Significant Girls