Friday, April 4, 2008

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Published in 1997

Recommended Age Group: 14 and Up

Summary: Blood and Chocolate is the story of a sixteen-year-old werewolf named Vivian. After the death of her father, who was also the pack leader, the pack moved to the suburbs of Maryland. They have a difficult time deciding on who should be the new leader and the pack fights and bickers constantly. At her new school she meets a human boy named Aiden who is sweet and hangs out with a group of people who rarely bicker and accept Vivian readily. Vivian welcomes the change and spends more time with them than with the pack.

Eventually Vivian realizes she is in love with Aiden and wonders what this will do to the already struggling pack. She wants to reveal herself to Aiden, who loves things like werewolves in books, but at the same time doesn’t want to put the pack in danger. On the night she reveals herself there is a brutal murder. Vivian wonders if she is the murderer because she has no memories from the time that the murder took place. It becomes clear that the murderer is a werewolf and the pack must catch the murderer without revealing the murderer or the pack. In the end a pack leader is chosen, Vivian finds love and peace, and the murderer is brought to justice.

Personal Notes: I devoured this book starting and finishing on the same day. There were many aspects of it that were interesting to me. It shows Vivian’s struggles with acceptance and relationships both in and out of her family/pack. I was captivated by the story and loved that it was told from a werewolf’s perspective instead of the human’s. Many of the books I’ve ready about supernatural creatures are from the human’s point of view and it was a welcome twist. There were some parts that made me uncomfortable while I was reading them, Klause was a little explicit in some of her descriptions and maybe took it a step too far for the age group. There was nothing serious (like descriptions of sexual encounters) but some groping and nakedness in descriptions that never lasted longer than a sentence. Overall it was a great book, exciting, romantic and suspenseful, all the right elements for a teen reader.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Megan by Jack Weyland

megan.jpgMegan by Jack Weyland

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Published in 2001

Recommended Age Group: 16 and Up

Summary: Megan, seventeen and a senior in high school, was basically a good girl who just wanted to be liked. She went to church and believed in God but did always live the way she thought she should or the way that her parents taught her. One day her best friend Thomas sets her up with a friend named Kurt that graduated from their high school a year before. In an effort to impress Kurt, Megan does things that she’s not comfortable with but wants him to be happy and wants to make sure he has a good time. Eventually with a lot of smooth talking on Kurt’s part and a lot of giving in on Megan’s she gets pregnant. Megan struggles with what to do with the baby. Kurt seemed experienced with this problem and told her about how to get an abortion but Megan decided it wasn’t right for her. Though the support of her family and friends Megan is able to get though the pregnancy and makes the toughest decision ever, who will care for her baby?

Personal Notes: This was a captivating and interesting book and in spite of the difficult subject matter it was enjoyable. Weyland got down to some deep core issues without being preachy. I felt like I could understand and empathize with Megan and her decisions and suffering. It would be a good book for young women to read because of the valuable lessons it teaches about morality and chastity but also how it teaches about forgiveness and the love of God for each one of us.

Other reviews available:

Nicole by Jack Weyland

Brittany by Jack Weyland

Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle

camilla.jpgCamilla by Madeleine L’Engle

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Published in 1965

Recommended Age Group: 14 and Up

Summary: Camilla is about a 15 year-old girl by the same name. She is at the age where she doesn’t get any of the privileges of adulthood and none of those from childhood. Her life, which was relatively easy, suddenly gets harder when she realizes her parents are not only people but imperfect people at that. Her mother Rose is dating another man while still married but she thinks she is fooling everyone and that no one knows, even though he comes to the house. Her father Rafferty tries to ignore the situation or he blames it on himself. Meanwhile Camilla is becoming a woman and although she knows she wants to be an astronomer she doesn’t know about the rest of her life and the problems with her parents make her unsure that she’ll make the right choices.

Luisa, her best friend, helps Camilla on her way to finding out who she is and what she wants from life but she also gets in the way. When Camilla starts seeing Luisa’s brother Frank Luisa tries to tell her he’s a bad guy and not to spend time with him, but Camilla ignores her. Camilla learns from Frank and Luisa about life, love, and God and in the end decides who she is and that it’s not always possible to know and control everything about anything.

Personal Notes: The summary on the back of this book did not do it justice. I bought it because I am a big fan of Madeleine L’Engle.  I wasn’t too excited about reading it but I loved it. Even though it was written over forty years ago it really ties in to life in today’s society where divorce is so common. It was realistic and true to life. I think a lot of people would relate to how Camilla was trying to find out who she was and how to cope with the problems her parents added to the ones she had herself. It was interesting and entertaining with just the right amount of love story mixed in.