Books by Beth Cooley

SHELTER by Beth Cooley
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 14, 2006

Sixteen-year-old Lucy's family has been in a downward economic and emotional spiral since the death of her father several months earlier. They were forced to leave their home in an expensive suburb, first moving to a small apartment. Now they are residents of a homeless shelter. Her mom has never been employed and does not seem able to cope with the changes. Lucy gains strength from her art and from the small group of friends she makes at the shelter and at school. Cooley creates an impressive, finely defined cast of characters and treats her subject with compassion. But therein lies both the strength and weakness of the work. The shelter and its staff are models of cleanliness, kindness and leadership; the inhabitants are almost all helpful, ambitious and well-functioning. By the conclusion, Lucy's family and most of her friends have graduated from the shelter and are independent and successful. Readers will find a moving glimpse into a different kind of life, with the more frightening aspects downplayed. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
OSTRICH EYE by Beth Cooley
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 13, 2004

Noting that an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain, Cooley winningly offers a girl whose observations outpace her reason. Ginger, a high-school freshman, is so eager to believe that the eccentric man (who seems to be everywhere) must be the father she last saw when she was three years old, that she overlooks the real object of his affection: her younger stepsister, Vivian. Gracefully developing characters while building towards climax, Cooley pulls the reader in much as Ginger is lulled into trusting the stranger. When the little girl is abducted while in Ginger's care, the situation forces Ginger and her mother to recognize their inability to communicate and the role that plays in the situation. Although readers will see disaster approaching long before it happens, they will stay tuned to Cooley's tension-building and the realism portrayed through the mother-daughter conflict, as well as the charm of Ginger's first love. Unlike ostriches, this story soars. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >