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The Long Secret

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This Harriet the Spy book is all about Beth Ellen's coming into herself.Sometimes hard to follow, but Beth Ellen's journey to self knowledge is interesting.
Then Again, Maybe I Won't

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A classic Judy Blume coming-of-age story. The many changes in Tony Miglione's life from his twelfth year to his thirteenth are lovingly written by Ms. Blume.Puberty, dad's new job, moving the family to a richer neighborhood, new friends, new niece, new thoughts about girls. Well told story.
Legend 2 - Schwelender Sturm

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Continuing the story of Juna d Day after they have left Los Angeles as fugitives. Nonstop action. Well written suspense. Intriguing political aspects to this story. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel. Had me crying by the end, but loved the whole journey.
Little Bee: A Novel

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The story of two women who meet under life-threatening circumstances. Sarah, a young mother of four-year-old Charlie, is the editor of a British women's magazine. Little Bee is a sixteen-year-old Nigerian refugee who has lived more life than her years deserve. Told from tag-team points of view with each women getting alternate chapters, their story is better left to the reader to live through than to read about beforehand. Cleave's writing is at times straightforward and at times meanderingly poetic. Sarah tells us that she comes to the realization that everyone will view her "as a foreigner in this country of my heart that I should never have come to." (p 95)On page 123, Sarah explains "We didn't have extramarital affairs in my family." In the same paragraph, she then wonders if a typical parental team "loved each other very much, or else they had hired failed actors to play the role of lovebirds in our family home, for twenty-five years, and then kept those actors on retainer so that they could be summoned back at the drop of a hat whenever one of their client's offspring threatened a weekend visit . . ."Heartbreaking line on page 181 - "The gasoline flowing through the pump made a high-pitched sound, as if the screaming of my family was still dissolved in it."My wish for every reader is to linger on and reread the beauty of the description of the sun coming into the kitchen on page 185.My review loses half a star just because I felt the ending hung a little bit. I desired just a little more before realizing it was the end.
Ladrona de libros, La

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Wow . . . I knew it would make me cry at some points, but I in no way expected the joy of the literary ride. Mr. Zusak puts words together in the most imaginative groupings. I had to stop a number of times because I could not see through my tears.Tears of sadness, tears of grief, tears of joy.I fell in love with Leisel. I fell in love with Rudy. I fell in love with Hans. I fell in love with Max. After a while, I fell in love with Rosa. With Ilsa. With Leisel all over again.Interesting choice to have Death narrate the story of the nine-year-old girl who steals her first book from the cemetery at her brother's funeral. Because I grew up with Anne Frank's diary, I cannot quite put a book of fiction into the same realm as that iconic book. However, I know that these fictional characters have basis in real people. The facts surrounding the Holocaust and World War II surround these fictional characters. The art is in the story telling and Mr. Zusak proves himself a master at that.
Legend 1 - Fallender Himmel

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Another great young adult dystopian future novel. Ms. Lu creates two extremely intelligent young characters who grow up on opposite ends of society. Both have lost loved ones. Both have agility and endurance in their bones.A tragedy brings them together but keeps them on opposite sides as one believes the other to be the cause of their most recent loss.But the reports by the ruling military government - are they true or are they covering up a more sinister practice?
The Sultan of Monte Cristo: First Sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo

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The idea is good - continuation of a classic piece of literature. What happened to this character and that one? Many have done it; many have written sequels to classics; many have written twists on classics.This one is weird. The Count of Monte Cristo is definitely a classic. Like the Three Musketeers and King Arthur and his Knights, the Count is beloved by children of all ages. This first of a planned ten sequels provides a parental warning in the introduction, explaining that some more adult situations occur in this book than in the original. These adult situations do not add much to the story, so I found them distracting.The vignettes reminded me of Gullivers Travels, but the writing caused me to stop and start. Whether the errors were editing or writing, I cannot tell, but they were distracting. Also, the narrative seemed to jump between the flowery language of the original novel and a more contemporary voice of the twenty-first century.I have liked the majority of the Early Reviewer books I have received. But, this one doesn't fall into that majority.
Lessons in French: A Novel

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A quaint debut novel with a coming of age theme for Kate, a 22 year old graduate of Yale who takes a job in Paris working for a famed photographer. As Lydia's assistant, Kate is asked to run errands as well as help Lydia organize her work. Kate is drawn into the family dramas throughout the year she lives in Paris. Lydia and Clarence have marital issues but the suspicion is that it's nothing new in that family. Their daughter, Portia, appears to Kate to be a spoiled rich kid. But that opinion is formed before they even meet. Portia's boyfriend, Olivier, is the only person at the house when Kate arrives, and she falls hard for him. The experiences that Kate has while living in France teach her about herself and about the differences in people.I did like the story, but I did not love it.
The Third Son

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 The Third Son is a wonderful debut novel. Ms. Lu tells the story of Saburo, a Taiwanese native growing up in the tumultuous times during WWII and the changes in political leadership of his country.When we meet Saburo, he is an 8 year old dreamer who is supposed to run straight home when the air raid sirens blare. But he feels more protected nearer the buildings. He does begin to run and meets up with two girls, Yoshiko and her cousin. He runs with them until the cousin veers off toward her home. He and Yoshiko save each other from the planes that rain down bullets from the sky.He marvels at the love that Yoshiko's older brother shows her when she finally reaches a spot near home. Saburo is unfamiliar with such familial love. He gets beaten regularly with a bamboo stick for being late. He doesn't get much food, his mother serving more to his oldest brother and his other siblings. Saburo feels that this is his punishment for having kept his younger brother outside too much, causing him to get sick and die. That is what his mother believes.Over the years, Saburo cannot stop thinking of Yoshiko. He sees her in passing at a parade after the Chinese Nationalists have liberated them from the Japanese. Later, when he becomes a track star at his school, h thinks he sees her working at the pharmacy his friends make him go to.Alas, his oldest brother, Kazuo, has asked her out. But it is her! What can he do.Saburo's cousin, Toru, is a doctor who saves his life twice. Once from a snake bite and again from malnutrition. Toru helps him immensely. He begins to believe in himself. He begins to dream of getting to America. He begins to believe that he can have Yoshiko.Ms. Lu takes us on this journey with Saburo as he studies on his own, passes the American entrance exam and goes to America. We meet the people who help and hurt him in America. He has always dreamed of the sky and he finds himself helpful to the rocket scientists at Ann Arbor who are involved in the space race to get a satellite into orbit. He excels at his studies and his work. We fall in love with Saburo as we witness his growth. The culture change from Taiwan to America is a shock. The politics of Taiwan that follow him to America distress us as much as him. A wonderful coming of age (and beyond) story of this wonderful little boy who grows into an admirable young man.Wonderfully written.
Everlost

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An extremely inventive story! Everlost is the world between life and death and only children populate it. Allie and Nick die in a car crash and bump each other out of their tunnel to the light. They meet Leif and learn about Everlost. This is a story of friendship above all else and it is a wonderfully written story.
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