Monday, May 3, 2010

Double books . . .

I was almost finished with Rucker Park Setup before the camping trip, and then I forgot to bring it!  So I started Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen and I have finished both books.  Rucker Park was a very "teen boy" book -- it's about a basketball street tournament.  It is also about murder and betrayal in the inner city.  It's short and absorbing.  I think a lot of teen boys would like this book and, as always, Volponi's book packs a powerful message.  I think some of the emotion is absent -- J.R. get's murdered and all of the sudden it is two weeks later.  Maybe it's that way because of the appeal to boys, but I thought there was a missing emotional progression.  Volponi does flash back and fill in some details, but it made the whole murder kind of superficial to the story.

Jerk, California is about a boy with Tourette Syndrome, but it really is much more than that.  It's a "coming-of-age" novel in the truest sense.  Sam has lived with a dysfunctional step dad (who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder) and after Sam graduates from high school, circumstances allow him to get away and begin a quest to find out about his real dad, and in the process, discover himself.  Touching, heartwarming, and uncomfortable -- all at the same time.  This book is the last one left for me on the Abe Lincoln High School Book Award list for 2011!

I have now chosen The Orange Houses, by Paul Griffin.  I don't remember why it's on my list, but it is also about some struggling teens, one of which is partially deaf.  I guess I'm stuck on a "troubled teen book" kick.

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