Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Clean contemporary YA takes on serious issues

Although the Book Dragon rarely reads contemporary anything, he can whole-heartedly recommend these two well-written books in the Bird Face series by Cynthia T. Toney and gives them 5 claws!
My 5 star review of 8 Notes to a Nobody: This is a stellar debut novel with a captivating voice by a talented writer. The main character, Wendy, is realistic and sympathetically portrayed, so much so that the book drew me in and transported me back in time to the end of eighth grade with all those up-and-down emotions, from joy to angst. The author holds nothing back in dealing with the serious problems affecting today's youth: anorexia, depression, divorce, alcoholism, and suicide, yet all are portrayed in a sensitive, caring manner, and the main character grows in wonderful and sometimes unexpected ways. Highly recommended for ages 13 and up!

My 4.5 star review of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status: Having read 8 Notes to a Nobody, I was eager to continue Wendy's story, and this book does not disappoint. The author has managed to reconnect with her 14 year old emotions. They all ring true! As with the first book, this story goes beyond the problems of being a girlfriend and tackles realistic, serious problems that many young people will face: blended families, effects of divorce, family tragedy, and serious illness. I give this installment 4.5 stars only because there were a few scenes I thought ended too abruptly, but younger readers probably won't mind the shorter scenes and snappy pacing. There are some great discussion questions at the end which keep the reader thinking long after the last satisfying page of the story is read!