Books by Alisa Jaffa

AN ELK DROPPED IN by Andreas Steinhöfel
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

When Mr. Moose, Santa's sled tester, crashes through the roof of the Webster home shortly before Christmas, it guarantees an unusual holiday season. Mr. Moose has a broken ankle and is going to stay with Billy, his sister Kiki and their mother until it has mended. In the meantime, the Websters have their hands full with unusual dinners, meddlesome neighbors, unearthly travels and unexpected visitors. Gradually, the family comes to love Mr. Moose, and when Santa arrives to fetch him, the children's visiting grandmother postpones the inevitable by serving Santa some alcoholic holiday cheer. Finally, though, it's time for Mr. Moose to say goodbye. Billy is particularly reluctant to see him go, but with Mr. Moose's clout, Billy's Christmas wish for his separated parents to reunite just might come true. The attractive overall design and the appealing nature of the sophisticated cartoon-like illustrations perk up this holiday offering. Unfortunately, the ending is rather saccharine, and asides clearly directed at grownups interrupt the flow of the story. A holiday offering most suited for an adult audience. (Fiction. 7-10, adult)Read full book review >
CENTER OF THE WORLD by Andreas Steinhöfel
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 10, 2005

In this hazy, fairytale-like, tome-sized import from Germany, 17-year-old Phil shares a secluded, run-down castle with his outcast mom and estranged twin sister. Longing for male companionship, fatherless Phil stumbles upon dark-eyed, distant star-runner Nicholas, with whom he immediately falls head over heels in love. To his surprise, Nicholas makes the first blunt move in their seduction, and what begins with this meeting leads to further sexual encounters, trysts that are purely physical, leaving Phil emotionally empty and wary of Nicholas's true intentions. Beautifully written and circularly lyrical, Steinhöfel's first US release balances Phil's pained past and burgeoning present with insightfully parallel images that are full of well-drawn, interconnected, non-didactic metaphors that also manage to carry the story. Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly huge page count will no doubt kill most teen appeal. And, given the meandering quality of storytelling—especially when the more titillating parts are cut short and replaced with flashbacks from Phil's troubled history—only the most determined teen reader will make it to the end, but not necessarily without reward. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >