Here's what I've been reading this month!
Two very different girls sign up for a student exchange program. Ivy June Mosley is from rural Kentucky, while Catherine Combs is from the city of Lexington. These seventh graders fear that they will have nothing in common, but find that they are alike in more ways than they realized. This is a very cute book for any tween girl, and family-friendly as well.
Abilene Tucker is sent off to Manifest, Kansas live with an old friend of her father's. The story takes place alternately between Abilene in 1936 and when her father lived there in 1918. Abilene hopes to learn more about her father and his time there. When she finds an old cigar box full of letters from a spy named The Rattler, and when she meets the local diviner who only tells stories from the past, Abilene's summer gets more interesting.
This is the second book in the Uglies series. I liked Uglies - didn't love it - but was entertained by it. Sometimes you need to read at least one more book in a series to make up your mind one way or another. Uglies was better than Pretties, but Pretties was interesting enough to keep reading. I don't think I'll read more in the series, but it wouldn't be the worst choice if stranded on a deserted island with no other reading material. I read the first one to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone has been talking about this series. In Pretties, Tally Youngblood has had the operation to become pretty. She's as brainless and superficial as everyone else. Memories keep surfacing, though, and when an old friend from The Smoke appears, she knows there's something not quite right. They give her "the cure" - pills she takes that cure her brain from the lesions all pretties have. Suddenly she is more "bubbly" (ie. focused) than ever. Her boyfriend took the cure too, though, and has suffered headaches ever since. They need help from the New Smoke people to cure him for good.
I want to learn to can the produce from my garden. I've been looking through lots of books on the subject, but so far this is my favorite. It's organized nicely by ingredient (want bean recipes? Look under beans!), and has an excellent chapter on technique where there are step-by-step procedures on things like cold-pack canning and hot-pack canning. It also has color pictures throughout.
Elizabeth Lerner was kidnapped at age 15 by Walter Bowman. She was the only victim to survive, but no one is really sure exactly how many girls he kidnapped, raped, and killed. Walter was sentenced to death for the rape and death of his final victim, and has lived on death row for twenty years. His execution is now drawing near, and he wants to talk to Elizabeth (who now goes by Eliza Benedict). She is content with her life, has moved on, and is raising her own family when he comes back into her life, but only she can help him get a stay of execution. Will she help him? How, exactly, does he think she can help him? Will he get a stay or finally be put to death? This book is fast-paced, gritty, and psychological.