Sheltered on a remote island and taught to think that the rest of the world has been destroyed by swelling tides and rising temperatures due to the effects of global warming and selfish, greedy people, Moss lives a nearly idyllic existence with her Pa and their dogs, Jess and Adder. On Flower Island, Pa experiments with magic since the storm-flowers that grow there have healing properties and their petals are capable of engendering a buzz of relaxation, happiness, and queasy-strange feelings—even hallucinations.  When Pa is “flower-struck,” his thinking buzzed, he dances and tells stories.  In this hopeful and happy state, he pushes healing pollen toRead More →

Her brother Nolan is dead, her parents are divorced, her aunt Joan is a “hurricane,” and Mel Hannigan has one of many versions of bipolar disorder, but some things you just don’t tell the world.  In the same spirit with which Terry Spencer Hesser skillfully and credibly illustrates obsessive compulsive disorder in Kissing Doorknobs  and Mark Haddon writes about life for someone coping with autism in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Eric Lindstrom shares his honest and informative novel,  A Tragic Kind of Wonderful.  Books like these, with realistic representations of people who experience mental health issues, can help readers notRead More →

Had Molly Rosenberg known that middle school was going to be the high point in her life, she would have tried harder to enjoy it.  Now, she’s a freshman at Santa Monica High School in Southern California, and she’s friendless and living a life haunted by past mistakes and regrets.  Because she suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks, her service dog Pixel coaxes her to breathe. But life wasn’t always like this.  Before everything changed, the Rosenbergs were a regular family who played Monopoly or snuggled under blankets to watch old movies together.  “After the awful thing that happened last winter” (47), Mom became addictedRead More →

Lucille “Lucy” Peevey dreams of leaving Sunnyside Trailer Park and becoming a famous scientist. She lives with her mother, Margaret, and her younger sister Izzy. Lucy’s biggest supporter, her grandmother, recently passed away. Before Gram passed, Lucy promised her that she would participate and win the annual BotBlock competition. The BotBlock competition requires applicants to create and program their own robots to complete various challenges. Lucy and her best friend Cam have created their step by step plan to succeed in their goal and win the competition with their own robot, PingPing200. Easy enough right? Wrong. First, Lucy is struggling to survive seventh grade. There is aRead More →

Sarah Nelson is not your typical twelve year old. While most kids her age enjoy watching action movies and playing sports, Sarah prefers to read books and write letters to Atticus Finch, a fictional character from her favorite novel. Her best friend happens to be a plant and she has never known her mother. While Sarah wants to know her mom and see her, she is unable to because Sarah’s mom is living in a mental institution. Sarah and her father have moved around Texas so many times, Sarah has never felt as if she has had a home. Once a neighbor, classmate, or co-workerRead More →

When people drive by an accident, or a house fire, or some other horror that routinely befalls our fellow human beings, we’re compelled to look. To stare. To seek out signs of lost normalcy, the life that was, the people as they were “before.”  It’s an uncontrollable urge to peer in, despite the fact that we’re aware of the suffering and pain wrapped up in the debris.  Andrew Smith‘s The Marbury Lens is one of those horrors that you can’t look away from, no matter how much you want to, no matter how gruesome the detail, no matter the pain twisting in your gut asRead More →