Saturday, February 26, 2011

Books Read Recently

I have presences on Library Thing and Good Reads, but maybe I'll include a few book reviews on this blog this year too. Maybe it'll make me read more! Right now, I read about one book per month and also listen to about one audio book per month.

So far this year, I've read:

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

This children's book won the Newbury Award in 1979. It's a great mystery with some good plot twists and an interesting premise. Themes include identity and loyalty. I thoroughly enjoyed this little book, but I wonder if today's kids would. I'll be honest - I had to re-read many passages because the language is somewhat old-fashioned and filled with double-entendres and subtleties that you can easily miss. The book is about a millionaire who brings together a group of people (called his "heirs") who must figure out how he died in order to claim their inheritance. The story is great, but this is a challenging read for kids. I'd recommend it for very good upper-elementary readers and middle-schoolers, as well as adults.

Willow by Julia Hoban

This is a very intense book. I picked up this audio from a teen section in a library. It's about a 17-year-old girl whose parents died in a car accident - while she was driving. She thinks she killed them, and deals with her guilt by cutting. The physical pain she feels when she cuts her flesh numbs her emotional pain. She meets a boy who discovers her secret and tries to help her. Willow lives with her older brother, his wife, and his baby. She has a lot to deal with, and her brother won't open up to her. I would recommend this book to older teens and young adults.

Next up:

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. I've started reading this, and am really enjoying it so far!

(Next audio book not yet chosen!)


  1. My sons and I read The Westing Game together when they were in 5th and 6th grades. We loved it. I don't remember encountering any problems with the language, but since they're now in 11th and 12th grades, perhaps I'm forgetting something. They both read at college level in 6th grade, though.

  2. I read The Westing Game in my sixth grade class in 1996 and I don't recall any trouble with it. I had read it on my own the year before also. It was a huge hit in the 6th grade. I'm a Children's Librarian now and the book is still popular. They just re-released some of Raskin's other books with new covers and I hope those catch on too!

  3. Ha ha! I'm sure I was "over-reading" it. I love word play. You can skip over most of them in this book without missing much of the plot, but every time I caught one I laughed out loud. Totally worth reading carefully.