Letters from Cuba

Esther is determined to join her father in Cuba and work to get the rest of her family out of Poland. She is the oldest child, after all, even if she is a girl. Papa agrees, and Esther travels alone across Europe and the Atlantic to join him in Cuba. Her new home enchants Esther,... Continue Reading →

Speak

Note: I wrote this review about six years ago, before the #MeToo movement, and am just publishing it now. This is one of those books I wish we didn’t need. But since we do, I am glad that Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak. Melinda Sordino is entering high school as an outcast. Everyone hates her... Continue Reading →

One Time

Gina Filomena has a new neighbor whose wide, welcoming smile catches her off-guard. She like his smile. She likes his imagination, which makes her look at her neighborhood differently. When Antonio shows up at her class, and offers his generous smile to everyone, Gina feels a bit put out. But the tenor of the whole... Continue Reading →

Salt to the Sea

Joana has been walking for days. She’s gathered around her others fleeing the Russian troops advancing through the eastern lands of the Third Reich. There’s Eva, a giantess of a woman, Poet, who is a shoemaker and waxes poetical about shoes, boots and feet, and Ingrid, a blind girl Joana found lost at a train... Continue Reading →

Between Shades of Gray

Lina regrets missing the signs. She was not prepared, so Stalin’s men grabbed her from her apartment in her nightgown. Lina was one of millions of Lithuanians falsely charged with crimes and resettled to Sibera. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys tells her story, that of her family and that of those with whom... Continue Reading →

Out of the Easy

Josie Moraine lives a - well - unusual life. She adores books, and works, and lives, in a local bookstore. She also cleans the house where her mother lives - notorious Madame Willie Woodley's house. Yes, this means Josie's mother is a prostitute. Josie definitely does not want to follow in her mother's footsteps, but... Continue Reading →

The Fountains of Silence

Eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson is looking forward to exploring Spain, the lad of his mother’s birth. He and his parents are in Madrid - his mother to reconnect with her country; his father to sign an oil deal with General Francisco Franco. Daniel befriends other Americans - Ben, a newspaper reporter, and Nick, the son of... Continue Reading →

Listen, Slowly

Note: I wrote this review about five years ago, and am just publishing it now. I picked up Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai because the story intrigued me. It’s about 12-year-old Mai, the daughter of immigrants from Viet Nam. Her parents have just co-oped her summer plans. Instead of spending it on the beach with... Continue Reading →

Ms. Rapscott’s Girls

Ms. Rapscott runs a boarding school for daughters of the world’s busiest parents. They are so busy, they barely have time to box their girls up and send them to Ms. Rapscott. In fact, one set of parents forgot to close their box - which meant Dahlia never made it to school. If you think... Continue Reading →

Under the Egg

When Theodora’s grandfather dies suddenly, she’s left to fend for herself and her mother in the family’s duplex. Her grandfather’s last words to her lead her on an odyssey, looking for a treasure that would keep her and her mother afloat. Along the way, Theodora learns she can trust her instincts, and other people. Mostly.... Continue Reading →

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