Posts filed under ‘Tracy's reviews’
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a lighthouse keeper–or his wife–on an island far off the mainland coast? Well, I have often thought of this because my grandfather and grandmother lived and cared for the Boon Island Lighthouse in the very early 1900’s off the coast of York, Maine. This fact, along with several patron recommendations, led me to read one of the most compelling and thought provoking books of 2012. The book, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, is a page-turner filled with dilemmas, twists and turns until the very end.
Tom Sherbourne has returned from WWI a changed man. Taking a position as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, off the western coast of Australia, seems like the perfect job for this strong and detail driven man. But while in Port Partaguese, waiting for his eventual delivery to the island, he meets Isabel, a carefree and adventurous young girl who eventually wins his heart and becomes the lighthouse keeper’s wife. Their love is strong and fulfilling; however, repeated miscarriages dash their dreams of parenthood and diminish the hopes they once had of building a happy family. Until one day…
Shortly after Isabel’s third and most difficult loss of a baby boy, a small boat comes ashore at the island’s edge, carrying a dead man and a living newborn baby. Isabel sees this as nothing less than a miracle and a sign that God has chosen them to raise this little girl as their own. Struggling with his own very ingrained sense of morality, Tom tries to convince his wife that they must make this news known on the mainland, should the mother still be alive. Isabel convinces her husband that no mother would have let her husband and child go off alone on a boat, and that she must have been lost at sea. Then the real story begins as 2 years pass with Tom and Isabel raising Lucy as their own.
Of course, we know that the story must take a turn, and eventually the family returns to the mainland. There, the truth is discovered and everyone’s life is shattered. The question remains whether this little girl can be happy again. Can Tom and Isabel survive the consequences of their actions? For anyone who has lost a child, nevertheless 3, there is compassion for Isabel and the decision she made. However, her grief does not necessarily substantiate her actions. This story is an emotional one which will cause the reader to wonder what he or she would have done in the same situation.
M.L. Stedman somehow finds a way to wrap up this story with an ending that should satisfy most readers. I will not say more, and hope that I have not said too much.
For today we have another new voice for the blog — Tracy, who is a woman-of-all-trades here at the Library. You may have seen her at the Reference desk, in the Children’s Department or behind the Circulation desk, always enthusiastically offering her reading suggestions. Below are three bite-sized YA reviews.
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani / Pub Date: Sept. 2009 / 288 pgs.
This is popular author Trigiani’s first Young Adult offering. Viola’s parents are off to Afghanistan to film a documentary, and that means Viola must do something she has never wanted to do before. She is sent to Prefect Academy, an all-girls boarding school in South Bend, Indiana. Being an only child from Brooklyn, New York, the challenge of sharing a room with 3 other girls is just the first obstacle she must overcome. Fortunately, she has inherited a creative flair and making her own short film will help her to discover her unique talents. Over the course of a year, Viola will develop relationships in love and friendship. This fun and witty book is the first in a four volume series.
The Young Inferno by John Agard, Illustrated by Satoshi Katamura / Pub. Date : April 2009 / 80 pgs.
In this poetic and contemporary version of Dante’s Inferno, the narrator is a teenager in a hoodie interpreting his travels through the 9 circles of Hell. He follows his guide Aesop to a mythological world described by the boy with 21st century insight. Agard’s brilliant interpretation is enhanced by the bold black and white illustrations by Kitamura which provide a visual storyboard. When the boy finally finishes his journey below, and rises to the Upper World, his life is immediately changed forever in an unexpected encounter in a library, of all places. This unique novel is dark and lovely, all in one.
City of Fire by Laurence Yep / Pub Date: Sept. 2009 / 320 pgs.
In this first book of a new trilogy, the reader experiences an alternate world in the year 1941. In this world there are magical creatures, many of them in disguise. Our main character is 12-year-old Scirye who is out to avenge her sister’s death and to find the people’s treasure that her sister was trying to protect. Helping her along the way are Bayang, a dragon in disguise, Leech, a boy with unknown powers and his companion Koko. They each have their own reasons for wanting to find the thieves who stole the treasure. The adventurers travel to Houlani, a new Hawaiian island created by magic, and make new friends along the way. Will they be able to stop the mysterious Mr. Roland and the evil dragon Badik before it is too late? This magical first book in Yep’s new series will keep you wishing for books 2 and 3 to hurry their way onto the shelves.