“In case you missed it” Sarah Darer Littman

Rated 1 stars * ARC. Published October 11, 2016. Scholastic Press. 305 p.

incaseyoumisseditSammy’s junior year is ruined when protestors at her father’s bank hack its server. Along with personal texts and emails, her online journal (where she’d written her deepest thoughts and crushes) is revealed to her entire high school world. Besides having to deal with the fallout of having her personal thoughts shared on social media, she’s lost her best friends, and has to deal with the stress of upcoming AP exams, as well as the loss of her crush. She is officially persona non grata, and it looks like there will never be any relief. Just when she thinks life can’t get any worse, it does.

I wasn’t a fan of this book. Sammy sounded much more immature than a junior in high school, as her issues and constant whining sounded middle schoolish to me. Her brother RJ also presented as immature. Though he was supposed to be 14 years old, his dialogue and behavior was more like a 6 or 8 year old.

Overall I felt the storyline wasn’t interesting, and Sammy’s petulance didn’t help. However I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not.

“The Same Sky” Amanda Eyre Ward

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Ebook. Published January 20, 2015. Ballantine Books (Random House).

TheSameSkyIn five-year-old Carla’s poor and crime riddled village of Tegucigalpa Honduras the only income comes from trying to sell trash from the town dump, so her mother made the dangerous trip to the United States to search for work. Her job enables her grandmother to provide food and clothing for Carla and her two baby brothers.

After a few years her mother saved enough to pay passage for one child to join her but, when her grandmother died a few years later, ten-year-old Carla and her six-year-old brother Junior were left alone. As they slowly began to starve, Carla was desperate to get to her mother in Texas. With nothing but water and a few dollars, she and Junior set out on an almost two thousand mile journey on foot to, hopefully, survive marauding gang members, murderers, rapists and robbers.

Cancer has rendered Alice infertile, and she is desperate to be a mother. She and her husband Jake have tried to adopt for 10 years, but have faced numerous disappointments. Nothing fills the hole of sadness she feels inside and, with bitterness slowly poisoning her marriage, Alice will have to look within to find the true answers to her sorrow.

In alternate voices Carla and Alice tell their stories of sorrow, pain, heartbreak and hope amidst despair. However, despite coming from two different worlds, they manage to leave a stamp on each other’s lives that will never be forgotten.

“The Same Sky” is a touching story of survival and love, shedding light on why so many undocumented workers and unaccompanied minors make the harrowing and incredibly dangerous journey to the United States. Their plight, and the circumstances they go through to get to America, broke my heart and had me reaching for tissues many different times. It will do the same for you.

Mature themes. Recommended for ages 16 and older.

“The Life of Glass” Jillian Cantor

HarperTeen, 2010. Hardcover. 340 pp.

Did you know glass won’t dissolve for a million years? Such are the types of facts collected by Melissa during the times she and her dad spent pondering the mysteries of the world. When he dies of cancer, Melissa is left with the bit of glass she’d found one day with her best friend Ryan, and Dad’s last words about the fate of glass. Starting high school without her dad is hard enough without her beautiful and popular sister Ashley reminding her everyday of how ugly and lonely she feels.

Two years later, even though Ashley seems to have moved on without a problem, and her mother begins to date a horse rancher, Melissa still feels like something is missing from her life. Daily she looks through her dad’s old journal trying to find some interesting fact or memory, especially when Ryan starts going out with the new girl at school, Courtney, and leaves her behind.

Melissa misses her friendship with Ryan and her dad and wishes she could talk with her mother about her feelings, especially when she finds a note from her father about a woman who’s not her mother. Melissa, now obsessed with finding out what this woman meant to her dad, is soon caught up in events that are more unsettling than she’d thought. It seems like her own life, and others, is being reduced to glass, slowly cracking and breaking away bit by bit.

This was a pretty good read, and I’m sure students in grades 7-10 would enjoy it.