The Rules of Survival

Books, Music, Art, Movies

The Rules of SurvivalI just this very minute finished reading The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. Wow. What wonderfully, fantastically, tragically sad book.

The book is actually a fictional letter written by Matthew to his little sister, Emmy. He writes it because he wants her to know about her mother:

I have decided to write it all down for you, and I will, but that decision doesn’t keep me from having doubts. I wonder if maybe it would be better if you never read this. I wonder if you really need to know exactly what happened to us – me, you, Callie – at the hands our our mother.

How’s that for a good opening? Mother is not very nice, either. She is more than just not nice. She is a horror show. This book chronicles the way the three siblings got away from thier mother. They enlist the help of a man named, Murdoch. Matthew meets Murdoch one day in a grocery story when he comes to the aide of a little boy who is being abused by his mother. When Matthew sees this he knows that Murdoch can save them. So he finds a way to befriend him and, eventually, encourages him to help them get away from their mother.

Like I said, this is a tragic book. Great story, though. I couldn’t put the book down. Highly recommend it.

Hit The Road

Books, Music, Art, Movies

Hit the RoadHit the Road is a road trip story about a girl, her grandmother, and a kidnapping.

Brit is on Summer vacation. She is dropped off at her grandmother’s house when her parents take a trip to Alaska. Much to the grandmother’s (Nannie) dismay. You see, Nannie has other plans. She has never missed a school reunion with her 3 best friends from college and she doesn’t plan to miss it this year. Nannie has stealthily rented a car and she talks Brit into driving her to pick up “the girls” and taking them to the reunion. There are a few minor problems with this plan, however. Brit doesn’t have her driver’s license. And Nannie plans to kidnap one of “the girls” out of a nursing home. This is just the beginning of the adventure. By the end Brit will have a few terrifying run-ins with a very evil son who is trying to steal the fortune of one of Nannie’s friends. She will save her grandmother’s life on a couple of occasions. And she will get the boy of her dreams.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun and fast read.

Cross posted at SPL YS Book Reviews.

Skate by Michael Harmon

Books, Music, Art, Movies

The first novel of local writer, Michael Harmon, Skate takes place in Spokane, WA and is about the troubles of a skater-punk kid name Ian. His mother is a drug addict and is never home, so Ian is left to take care of his little brother, Sammy. As you can imagine, this gets very difficult for Ian to deal with and he eventually gets into some trouble at school. He decides to run away to find his father who left them when they were young. He has an address in Walla Walla and that’s all he knows about him, but it’s his only chance at a normal life. So he and Sammy skate out of town to Walla Walla.

After a long, tiresome, and awful journey they finally make it to Walla Walla to find out that the address they have is from the State Penitentiary.

That’s all I’m going to say about the story. You’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens 🙂 .

I loved this book. All through the book I was hoping and hoping that things would get better for Ian and as the book progressed things just kept getting worse. He kept making the wrong decisions and I wanted to shake him and say, “don’t do that!” But as the book progressed he learned from his mistakes. Ian is basically a good kid who wound up in a bad situation that he had no control over. In the end he learns that he has to face his problems to make his life better. “Skating” away isn’t going to work. He has to face his problems head-on.

Cross posted at Spokane Public Library Youth Services book review blog


Books, Music, Art, Movies

We had the Author Roland Smith speak at the library yesterday. Since I was supposed to be the hostess for the program I thought I should read at leas one of his books before I met him. So I went to the YA shelves and picked Jaguar. I was pleasantly suprised. It was a good read! Very action packed.

It’s about this boy whose father is a research biologist. He goes to visit his father on location in Brazil, and his trip takes a horrible turn when his dad’s boat blows up, killing his dad’s partner and friend.

The author event went very well. Roland Smith’s talk was very interesting. He talked about his writing process and the things that have inspired his books. He is also a research biologist and has been involved in many interesting projects including the reintroduciton of wolves into Yellowstone National Forest.