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Posts Tagged ‘coming of age’

LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER: A Coming of Age Story ~Catherine Ryan Hyde

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Catherine Ryan Hyde is an award winning, New York Times best selling author. She is probably best know for her novel PAY IT FORWARD, which was made into a movie.  I am always pleased to read her books, which might be categorized as young adult and yet very satisfying read for a wide age range.

TLC Book Tours sent me an advanced copy for review.  It is a very good book.  You can find what others thought by connecting to the TLC link.

Ethan Underwood is a 5 foot 2 inch seventeen year old who lives in NYC.  The story opens with Ethan having just been mugged and is at the police station.  He was born to very competitive parents, his mother is short and his father is tall and an extreme athlete.  Ethan got the short part and none of the athletic/competitive part and he is just wondering who he is and what he will become.  His father’s relentless teasing is no help.  There is a love/hate relationship growing by leaps and bounds.

A convergence of problems descends on Ethan and especially his Mother.  Dad handles it by leaving NYC and heading to a cabin in Blythe River. Ethan’s anxiety blossoms into a major problem and there is just too much on his Mother’s list and so she ships Ethan and his dog Rufus to finish the school year in Blythe River and be safe with his Father.  The father-son relationship festers and grows and Ethan is getting extremely worried about bears in the area.

The writing is vivid and the characters are well detailed and believable.  The inter-generational interaction is once again highlighted and creates a successful team approach to the terrain and the growth of the human spirit.  The dimensions of emotions are well explored and the dialogue is very realistic.  I could identify with the sore muscles of being in the saddle all day.

I have read 2 of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books PAY IT FORWARD and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS and I enjoy following her on Facebook.  I would highly recommend this book to a wide range of ages and think you, the reader, will find it a hearty well-done story.

About Catherine Ryan Hyde (From TLC Book Tours site)

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

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ONCE UPON A LIE: A Novel ~Michael French

Monday, May 16th, 2016

“Michael French is the author of 25 books, which include adult fiction and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptions, and gender studies.” (Cover)

There is tremendous skill in the writing of ONCE UPON A LIE and the hooks captivate the imagination within the first few pages.  The characters are extremely well developed and the reader is able to empathize quickly; they pull at a feeling level as well as moving the story forward. Word usage is intelligent. The suspense is just right and definitely not to thriller level, keeping the reader figuring out what is next.  I liked the mix of voices; first and third person perspectives were finely synced.

The reader is meshed into a huge family drama, well two families with lots of drama and some huge lies to contend with and that makes for a lifetime of attempting to find the truth and a whole realm of situations that do not create relief from the tensions of the stories.

“…the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again.  Justice, Alex learns, can be a betrayal.  Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful –but dangerous- rock on which to build a life of honor and courage.” (Cover)

Alexandra is the daughter of a Los Angeles lawyer and a socialite mother and Jaleel is the only child of a black couple living on the financial edge in Texas.  The police are prepping Jaleel, who is 12, to be the murderer of his father – he is on the run.  The two children meet over a cup of lemonade and the author builds a good coming of age story around these two individuals and their survival.  The secondary characters are strong and agile in assisting the unraveling of the lies.

“Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism.  A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools which are some of the most challenged in the country. They divide their time between Santa Fe and Santa Barbara, CA.”

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me an advanced copy for review.

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LEMONADE REVEALED: A Philosophical Novel ~Will Chluho

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

“A boy is swept ashore on a faraway island into the embrace of three powerful Men: A priest, a Warrior, and a Trader.  Estranged, and tossing about in the undercurrents of abandonment, abuse, and betrayal, He finds sense in life, still.”  Book Jacket

I just knew I was going to like LEMONADE REVEALED from the very first moment of its arrival.  I pulled open the mailer and contained within was this bright yellow small book; 4.5” x 7” x 1.5”.   I knew this was not going to be an ordinary read.  It fit with a perfection into my hand and just summoned me to open and begin reading.   The problem was I had 15 books ahead of it to read and review.  So I put it on the shelf as a prize to come and I contemplated what it might be.

If life gives you lemons make lemonade?

The author studied philosophy in Rome; now studies philosophy in London.  Was this a clue? Would I want to read the whole thing?  Would it hold me in its grasp?  It was about a boy on the shore, would it be a hero’s journey or a coming of age story? Would the females in the story be violent or just beautiful?  Monsters and vampires galore? Would it be another Catholic digression into manhood’s verve and destiny?  Will it be a mystery package left at the door?  I had to wait.

A very interesting read and it did contain so many of the elements of good cerebral play and a good mystery story.  I did read it out in the sunshine after the marine air lifted and removed.  It contained an explorer, caves, tree houses, vampires (bats!) 3 sturdy fellows, a ship wreck, food, clothing, shelter, tattoos, a skinhead (not of the kind I know) and lots of ocean and questions.  ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What happened to me?’ – not the least.  LEMONADE REVEALED was the tart and sweet of this kind of pursuit, and it was clever and creative and “bright”.

I stuck lots of little slips of colored paper into the book so I could go back and read some pages again and again.  There were well placed words which were like small beams of light.  I am sure I will read it several more times before I pass it on or recommend to a book group.  I would definitely want to lead a discussion on this book or give a lecture about philosophical stories in general.

“Paddle with all your heart, but it is the horizon which comes to you.”

The writing in LEMONADE REVEALED was kind of stream of consciousness with an ascribed time line and directional map. I do not think the author’s first language was American English, but am not certain about this; I do know that many folks do not like to read unusual  syntax.

I thought about Dave Eggers several times and also Paulo Coelho’s Warrior of the Light: A Manual.

Will Chluho on Facebook 

tlc logoI am once again indebted to TLC Online Book Tours for sharing a copy of this book for me to review. Please read with a twinkle in your eye and dance steps in your heart – LEMONADE REVEALED.

“LEMONADE REVEALED offers philosophical contemplation on a sunny island.” – Indie Reader

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