My favorite part:
DeKeyser accurately describes the thought process that Victoria goes through as she comes to the realization of what she's done. While at the heart of (Victoria's) choices is her anger over her parents' divorce, the author does not oversimplify the situation. Teens are sure to find this an interesting read.
Being reviewed in SLJ give me that awesome Velveteen Rabbit feeling. You know -- it makes me feel "real."
- Current Mood: pleased
Steph's Stuff says this:
I read Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser in one sitting. It's a YA novel about a girl who accidentally, but on purpose, kidnaps a small child and goes on the run for all the right reasons. You have to read this book!
And from a kidlit librarian's Confessions of a Bibliovore:
I couldn’t put this sucker down... From the temper tantrums to the unpredictability to the nanosecond attention span--oo, shiny!--DeKeyser’s portrayal of an active two-year-old is spot-on. Kudos on that, and on a great first novel.
This one is most gratifying, because if you read the entire review, you can tell she "got" the book.
And I've just realized that some of the best words an author can hear is "I couldn't put this sucker down."
- Current Mood: pleased
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books has published an awesome, wonderful review. Here's a sample:
With a combination of lively adventure and humane treatment of its characters, this is an absorbing and emotionally effective read.
And my favorite line about one of my favorite characters, Miss Theresa:
...a character with such force that she makes her impact felt on the book merely through phone appearances until the very end.
And secondly, Jump the Cracks has been nominated as a Popular Paperback by YALSA and ALA.
- Current Mood: cheerful
A Swift Pure Cry
Shell Talent is 15 and stuck. Stuck in a backwater Irish village; stuck with caring for her younger siblings and avoiding her drunken father now that her mother has died.
She loves her brother and sister too much to escape for real, so instead Shell manages small escapes. She skips school; she wanders the back fields and the strand of beach nearby; she imagines her mother’s ghost sings to her, and that the attentions of the new young priest might be more than they seem. And just as things get unbearable at home, Shell escapes to the barley fields with Declan, a charming schoolmate who promises to make her forget her troubles.
Set in 1984, A Swift Pure Cry is a heartbreaking story, and author Siobhan Dowd has a rich and lyrical voice. You can hear her gentle brogue if you read a paragraph out loud.
I should confess that I’m not a big fan of heartbreaking stories as a rule. (I blame my parents and my boringly happy childhood.) But I rooted for Shell. She has a rough time of it. She becomes the center of a small-town scandal, and learns the hard way that people aren’t always what they seem, for better and for worse.
And I withheld my judgment through most of the book, because who knows if I could have coped any better than Shell, were I in her position and only 15 years old? “There but for the grace of God,” as a character in the book is fond of saying.I was a bit confused by Shell's visions of her dead mother. With all the magical realism in books these days, I've become ready to accept that sort of thing at face value.The book could've veered off in several different predictable directions, in fact, but I was pleased when it didn't, but kept to its own rocky path.
Toward the end, though, I had a hard time understanding why Shell would protect Declan, especially when it meant ruining the reputation of an innocent person. She has her reasons, but they weren’t good enough for me. She comes around in the end though, more or less, and the book ends on a hopeful note. Perhaps a bit overly hopeful, given all the preceding events and Shell’s mostly unchanged circumstance.
The flap copy says the book is “inspired by a true story.” Despite my disinclination toward heartbreaking stories, that fact alone is enough to convince me there’s a vital need for them in young adult literature, and A Swift Pure Cry is an evocative, beautifully written example.Another review of this book is at Librarianne.
- Current Mood: busy