Written as letters from a sixteen-year-old girl to an inmate, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher tells the story of Zoe.  This British girl, who dreams someday of becoming an author of children’s books, has killed someone she was supposed to love.  With the guilt weighing heavily on her, Zoe locates a man on death row in Texas, guilty of his own crime of passion, and adopts him as her pen pal—a kindred spirit who might understand “the pain and the fear and the sadness and the guilt and the hundred other feelings that don’t even have a name in all of the English language” (7). Read More →

Book One in the Three Doors Trilogy by Emily Rodda, The Golden Door, tells the story of three brothers: Dirk, Sholto, and Rye who are residents of Southwall, a community in the city of Weld governed and over-regulated by a suspicious Warden. Eighteen-year-old Dirk is brave and determined if not a bit of a conspiracy theorist who thinks the Warden is up to no good.  Sholto is equally determined but dark and cynical, although the thirst for knowledge glows in him.  As an apprentice Healer, he tends to seek out peace. Rye, the youngest, is cautious, perceptive, and pragmatic. Their home, previously a place of peaceRead More →

Many of us dream of making a difference in the world, of leaving a legacy or inspiring important change.  Mark Peter Hughes demonstrates the reality of such a possibility in his new book, Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up, a sequel to Lemonade Mouth. Set in Opequonsett, Rhode Island, Hughes’ story features an eclectic quintet of teens that have could be called philosophers, social activists, and visionaries: Stella Penn on ukulele, Wendel Gifford on trumpet, Mohini Banerjee on double bass, Charlie Hirsh on drums, and Olivia Whitehead as soulful vocalist.  Inspiring devotion and revolution, the fabulous five play music that is wild and quirky.  On their journey toRead More →