Well I got two of my books off my challenge list this week, though being that most of my choices are juvenile or young adult selections, that isn't very difficult. Still, 2 is good! One of the books was great, the other, not-so-great in my opinion.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson was really a great book. It is labeled a YA book, as it should be, and I really enjoyed the story. The plot line was unique and the characters refreshing. Definitely a good "light" book.
Ginny's favorite aunt, who happened to be the most eccentric women Ginny knew, passes away and shortly after, a package arrives for Ginny containing 13 blue envelopes. In the first envelope, Ginny is instructed to purchase a plane ticket to London and then open her second envelope. The reader proceeds to follow Ginny on a spontaneous journey around Europe that interlopes her with people in her aunt's life, resulting in a love interest, the meeting of a new family member, scary hostels, and loads of interesting adventures.
Ginny shows the reader that even when we are frightened, it's still ok to take risks, simply because you never can tell what you'll find out when you're finished. Ginny was not only able to tour Europe and meet interesting people, she also overcame a lot of her fears and learned a lot about her aunt in the process. A really great book for teens or even mature middle schoolers.
Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse is the selection I really didn't quite as much enjoy, which is surprising because I love Karen Hesse. Basically, this short juvenile fiction novel tells the story of a family from the Aleutian Islands, that is forced to relocate to a camp after the Japanese attack. Hesse writes of the manner in which the family adapts to their new surroundings and the new hardships they are forced to live with. The book is written in unrhymed, very short vignettes, about 3 lines to a page, which I think is the part I disliked the most. I felt that it was ineffective and didn't allow the reader to get as close to the main character as possible, leaving a distance that turned me off. I didn't think the historical basis was very strong either and that a lot more could have been told within the story pertaining to this event in history.
The concept of this book was very good and I still think middle schoolers could benefit from the writing, even if I personally didn't care for it very much. Not to mention, the appeal to kids could go up simply because of the short pages. :-) Kids love that!
Hopefully I can get two more done for next week!