The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Maggie Mayfield’s only purpose in life is to become President of the United States. That means no law breaking (liking watching R-rated movies), no crushes on boys, and only a perfect 4.0 GPA in school. On her 11th birthday, she asked for a stock in Coca-Cola. Her plea was accepted, and she proudly claimed herself, “Maggie Mayfield, member of a carbonated dynasty!” Impressive, huh? But suddenly, birthday’s are thrown pitilessly to the back of Maggie’s information-stuffed brain, for her dad’s medical condition is growing worse. He quit his job, and his legs are falling asleep. Permanently. Maggie’s long-standing belief that all of her answers are in books is impossibly twisted, because she now realizes there may be more to life than school and laws and being President. There is no known cure for her dad’s illness. Her mom has overworked herself into a “puddle of clothes on the floor,” and Maggie herself gets a B on her science project. Life is a disaster! Her “metaphorical bravery tank” is running dangerously low. But as she watches her family struggle with the “new chapter” in their lives, Maggie finally understands that there is nothing else more important than her family, because they are a team. An argumentative, occasionally dishonest, Neil Young loving team.

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Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

51wtw+mW0gL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Feisty, spunky Turtle is sent off to live with her Aunt Minnie, in the Key West of Florida. It’s steamy, sticky, and scorpions love to lurk in dark places, especially shoes. Turtle struggles with three rowdy cousins, all boys, and all trouble. It is with them that she ventures, on a stolen boat, to a nearby island in search of a famous pirate’s treasure. Turtle and the boys soon find themselves hopelessly stranded, hungry, and viciously being attacked by famished mosquitoes. Even Turtle’s quick wit and confidence can’t help them, but nearby sponging boats might be able to. This book is an excellent portrayal of the old Key West. The Great Depression, heat, and pirate loot, make one engrossing novel for all ages. That Turtle is one tough cookie, and her smart comebacks will surely give you a laugh!

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

IMG_0491 A Schneider Family Book Award winner, The Running Dream is a beautifully woven book, which tells the story and struggles of right leg amputee, Jessica Carlisle. She was a runner, a champion, until an accident strikes that changes her running dreams forever, or so she believes. As Jessica attempts to rebuild her life with a prosthetic limb, she is slowly fading into a fog of self-pity. Stairs are the new enemy, and taking a shower has now become more challenging than running a marathon. And then, suddenly, Jessica is reflecting on her behavior when she meets Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy who still excels academically, and doesn’t let her condition weaken her. Inspired by her new friend and math tutor, Jessica’s dream to run again seems much closer than before, especially with the help of modern prosthetic limb technology, and deep determination.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

life-of-pi-book-coverSuspense is an eight letter word. It’s definition is a feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. Throughout this book, suspense danced along each word, creating a dramatic and beautiful story. Pi is a sixteen-year-old boy whose father owns an exotic zoo in India, home to a certain Royal Bengal tiger titled (somewhat fittingly), Richard Parker. Alas, it is all about to change for Pi and Richard Parker. On their move to America across the great blue Pacific, their cargo ship carrying hundreds of animals, a crew, and Pi’s family, capsizes traumatically. Clinging for life on a 26 foot lifeboat, Pi manages to survive the tragic sinking of the boat, but loses his family in less than 20 minutes. Heart-thumping and simultaneously antagonizing, endeavor to survive with Pi as he drifts across sea in hope of rescue, in company with a giant carnivorous tiger. Yann Martel is viciously descriptive, his imagery will feed and energize the readers as they travel with Pi.