Although we humans all have insecurities and need training in loving ourselves in our own skin, these conditions are perhaps especially pronounced during our adolescent years when we walk school hallways, subjecting ourselves to snickering peers, poisoned looks, and whispered comments.  This is the conflict tackled by Donna Cooner in her novel Fake. Attending Fort Collins High School in Colorado, Maisie Fernandez is a mixed race girl whose father is a Filipino Californian and whose mother is a white Texan.  Branded as one of the Froot Loops, Maisie learns that it isn’t easy being sixteen and fat.  Despite her artistic, humorous, and intelligent characteristics, sheRead More →

A blood-stained note, reading “Who killed Darius Drake,” lures Darius into searching for an answer, since he’s still alive and living at Stonehill Home for Children after losing his parents in a tragic car accident when he was only three.  But the gangly orphan genius with thick glasses and a volcanic eruption of bright red hair needs a partner, whom he finds in Arthur Bash, “a big, fat, scary-looking dude” (2).  Known at school as a thug-for-hire, Bash Man will frighten foes with a menacing look for the price of a candy bar.  After his parents’ divorce, Arthur adopts the bully persona because he’d ratherRead More →

Although aspects of social media possess the ability to provoke intense debate, for seventeen-year-old Sonny (Sonya) Elizabeth Ardmore, an online world serves as a refuge – a place for hope and healing.  Behind the protection of the computer screen, Sonny–who sees herself as the designated poor and less attractive friend–discovers a place to restore her dented dignity and a buffer that allows her to be honest and close rather than using lies as a shield. While IMing her antagonist Ryder Cross, she abandons the lies and lets her guard down to discuss the subjects that trouble her the most: estranged relationships with her negligent mother and convictRead More →