Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/24/14

I am excited to be a part of the conversation at #IMWAYR! Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee
for inspiring and hosting this meme.

I am knee deep in Maine Student Book Award short list titles these days, which I'm not reviewing here on my blog since the short list is top secret, but I did have the chance to read a couple of fantastic new (e.g copyright 2014) books this past week.

I am definitely biased on this one, but Saundra Mitchell's latest book, Mistwalker is a treat.  Eons ago Saundra tweeted that she was looking for a teen girl from a Maine lobstering family.  Well, I am lucky enough to work in a community where lobstering is alive and well, so I directed her to a former student… and then forgot about it.  I was astonished and thrilled, then, when Saundra recently sent me a copy of the book.  Creepy and atmospheric, Mistwalker is a ghost story meshed with a coming of age story.  Willa’s brother was shot and killed by a feuding lobsterman on the coast of Maine.  Devastated by guilt and sorrow, Willa is desperate for answers and relief; so much so that she is drawn to the Grey Man, a spirit/ghost that lives in a lighthouse on an island.   Told alternately in Willa and the Grey Man’s voices, Mistwalker is both haunting and oddly romantic.  

My latest favorite read is The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson.  You know the feeling that you get when you are confident that you are in good hands?  I had this feeling after reading just a paragraph of The Mark of the Dragonfly.  This is a totally spellbinding dystopia/mystery/steampunk adventure set in an alternative world (that initially feels a little bit like The Hunger Games).  Piper is a "scrapper" trying to survive on her own in Scrap Town Number Sixteen after her father dies working in a factory in the capital of the Territories.  During a horrific meteor storm, she discovers a mysterious girl named Anna who has the Dragonfly tattoo, a sign that she is protected by the king.  Anna, however, can't remember anything about her past, but she is terrified of the man who comes to Piper's house looking for her.  Together Piper and Anna set off on an old rickety train (the 401) to discover Anna's story.  Along the way they forge an extraordinary bond between themselves and several other special characters on the train.  This is a beautiful story, one that comes to a surprising and satisfying end.  As I got closer to the last page I was groaning a bit inside for fear that I was going to be left with a cliffhanger.  To my delight, though, this book does not appear to be the start of a series (although it certainly could be) and the conclusion provides an all together satisfying end to a special story.  This is one to most definitely add to your "to be read" pile!

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