Advice books abound, some more readable than others. This work should be numbered among the “others.” Starting with a...

ON YOUR OWN

A COLLEGE READINESS GUIDE FOR TEENS WITH ADHD/LD

This slender volume provides advice for teens with ADHD and learning disabilities on successfully making the transition to college.

Advice books abound, some more readable than others. This work should be numbered among the “others.” Starting with a discouraging caveat—only about 50% of teens with ADHD/LD will either still be enrolled in college or have graduated after five to six years—this effort has readers complete a self-assessment test. It includes topics such as Organizational Skills, Self-Knowledge, Daily Living Skills and Time Management Skills. Based on the results, readers are given advice on learning ways to manage in college. Teens should analyze their results, write goal statements and action plans, track their progress and evaluate and modify their plans. Each topic from the test has a chapter of advice, followed by a list of pertinent websites. In the Daily Living Skills section, the advice on laundry begins, “First concentrate on washing. No matter how you choose to instruct yourself, you need to learn about washing first.” While all the advice is probably worthwhile, the format is dry, sometimes condescending and often monotonously repetitive. It’s difficult to imagine busy, college-bound teens having the time to attempt the development of so many action plans and so much list-making.

Pub Date: July 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-0955-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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One of the most searing books on illegal immigration since Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey (2006).

THE FAR AWAY BROTHERS

TWO YOUNG MIGRANTS AND THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LIFE

Markham relies on her roles as a journalist and a worker in the realm of refugee resettlement and immigrant education to craft a powerful narrative about an experience that plays out every day in the United States.

Focusing primarily on one family’s struggle to survive in violence-riddled El Salvador by sending some of its members illegally to the U.S., the author never loses sight of the big-picture issues regarding immigration. Throughout, she inserts brief chapters about those concerns in a compellingly intimate narrative about the Flores family. Markham keenly examines the plights of juveniles sent to America without adult supervision, a large, constantly growing contingent that includes twins Ernesto and Raúl Flores, who sought to escape their hometown because they feared for their lives among the rampant gang violence plaguing their country. Knowing almost nothing about the U.S., the Flores twins lacked both money for their journey and any marketable job skills, and they spoke no English. Their journey was harrowing, to say the least (spoilers omitted), and their transition to life in the U.S., mostly in Oakland, continues, raising new difficulties each day. As they have tried to balance their minimum-wage restaurant jobs with education, the schooling has suffered. Meanwhile, their parents and most of their siblings continue to live in highly dangerous circumstances in El Salvador. Markham met the twins in her job as a counselor at a public high school with a heavy influx of juvenile refugees without documentation, and her experience in that role informs the eye-opening narrative. Most of the book takes place before the election of Donald Trump, but it’s clear that the policies of the new administration will make the lives of the Flores twins and countless others even more terrifying.

One of the most searing books on illegal immigration since Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey (2006).

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-90618-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A compellingly investigated, relentlessly gloomy report on the drug distribution industry.

DREAMLAND

Discouraging, unflinching dispatches from America’s enduring opiate-abuse epidemic.

Veteran freelance journalist Quinones (Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration, 2007, etc.) cogently captures the essence of the festering war on drugs throughout the 1990s. He focuses on the market for black tar heroin, a cheap, potent, semiprocessed drug smuggled into the United States from Nayarit, a state on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The author charts its dissemination throughout American heartland cities like Columbus and Portsmouth, Ohio, home to a huge, family-friendly swimming pool named Dreamland, which closed in 1993, after which opiates “made easy work of a landscape stripped of any communal girding.” Assembling history through varying locales and personal portraits, Quinones follows a palpable trail of heartbreak, misery and the eventual demise of seemingly harmless people “shape-shifted into lying, thieving slaves to an unseen molecule.” The author provides an insider’s glimpse into the drug trade machine, examining the evolution of medical narcotic destigmatization, the OxyContin-heroin correlation and the machinations of manipulative pharmaceutical companies. His profiles include a West Virginia father burying his overdosed son, a diabolically resourceful drug dealer dubbed “the Man,” and “Enrique,” a Mexican citizen who entered the drug trade as a dealer for his uncle at 14. Perhaps most intriguing is the author’s vivid dissection of the “cross-cultural heroin deal,” consisting of an interconnected, hive-minded “retail system” of telephone operators, dealers (popularly known as the “Xalisco Boys”) and customers; everything is efficiently and covertly marketed “like a pizza delivery service” and franchised nationwide with precision. The author’s text, the result of a five-year endeavor of remote research and in-person interviews, offers a sweeping vantage point of the nation’s ever expanding drug problem. Though initially disjointed, these frustrating and undeniably disheartening scenarios eventually dovetail into a disturbing tapestry of abuse, addiction and death. Thankfully, for a fortunate few, rebirth is possible.

A compellingly investigated, relentlessly gloomy report on the drug distribution industry.

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1620402504

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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