A WASTE OF GOOD PAPER

Through the journal he keeps, Jason Dooley offers readers a window into his life at Heronford, a British school for kids with behavioral and emotional difficulties.

When Jason loses his temper, he kicks teachers, hits fellow students, throws chairs and fire extinguishers, and has to be forcibly restrained by Pete, his teacher. Pete seems to see something in Jason and offers him a notebook that becomes JASON’S JOURNAL. At first, Jason says it’s just a waste of good paper and only writes rude jokes and “a load of crap and squiggles.” Gradually, though, Jason takes to writing, and his journal becomes his voice, offering readers the gift of his life and humanity. No longer is he just that misbehaving boy in a school apart from “normal” kids; he reveals himself and the experiences that helped make him. He describes the home he is sent to when his mother is hooked on heroin and his yearning to regain normalcy instead of getting into fights and watching children’s television “because it was how to forget about the place you were.” If it’s not quite believable that Jason could write such a sustained and focused journal, it is, nevertheless, a powerful testament to the power of words and the influence of strong teachers. A moving story about hurt children, brave teachers and the poetry within. (author’s note) (Fiction. 11-16)  

 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84780-268-2

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging and draining debut.

OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS

Two teenagers suffer through their first heartbreak.

Henry Page has spent his high school years with his nose to the grindstone, avoiding romantic relationships and focusing on becoming the editor of the school paper. At the start of his senior year Henry is offered the job, but there’s a catch: transfer student Grace Town is offered the gig as well, making the two white teens co-editors. Sparks fly as Henry works with the aloof, unkempt new girl, who walks with a cane. As Henry and Grace grow closer, Henry falls deeper for her even as he learns just how broken she is. In her debut, Sutherland mixes her love story with equal parts hope and ominous dread. There is never any doubt that this couple is marching toward romantic oblivion, but it’s an effectively drawn journey. The characters speak with a John Green–esque voice, but they are never overbearingly precocious. Narrator Henry’s a smartly rendered character, a decent kid who has goals and works hard to achieve them. His new goal is Grace’s affection, and the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object that is Grace’s emotional unavailability provides the novel some of its sharpest moments. When the walls tumble down, the connection between the two is clearly an unhealthy one, and the author pulls no punches, devastating Henry, Grace, and readers in equal measure.

An emotionally engaging and draining debut. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54656-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more