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    Friday, May 19, 2006

    So one of the things I did while I was away in Brazil was read summer reading books -- two of the titles below are from the Framingham Middle Schools list. The other was my own pleasure reading. See if you can guess which is which....

    California Blue by David Klass
    John has always felt out of place in his family of stubborn and tough football players, auto mechanics, and loggers -- he's a runner and a student, excelling particularly in science. When John discovers a new butterfly while running in the forest, he finds that his interest for science threatens not only the community in which he lives, but also the tenuous relationship he has with his family -- particularly his father, who has just been diagnosed with leukemia.
    A different kind of sports story, a different kind of family story, a different kind of science story. Klass is able to blend all three aspects of this book into an interesting plot that hashes friends, family, and community members against themselves, each other, and other communities. It's a short book, but well done -- it made me want to study butterflies again and look into environmental protection groups!
    YPB K

    Heaven by Angela Johnson
    Marley's mom says they were destined to live in Heaven, a small town in Ohio. They've lived there for years, ever since her mom found the postcard on a bench and the family decided to move. It's home and the neighbours are family. But when her mother and father tell Marley that they're not her real parents, that the uncle she writes to weekly is her father, Marley's whole world turns inside out. She doesn't know who she is anymore, she doesn't have faith in her family, and she doesn't know who to turn to. She has good friends, though, and a caring family, and eventually she is able to come to terms with the lies she's believed for so many years.
    A simple book, but an important story. It was a quick read with real feeling. I liked it.
    YPB J

    Rachel & Leah by Orson Scott Card
    This book takes a highly different tack than what we're used to seeing by Card -- no heavy science fiction or symbolic fantasy. Instead, this traces the lives of 4 women in the book of Genesis: Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, and how they may have felt in their respected roles and how they may have interacted with each other and other members of Laban's camp -- and especially Jacob, the relative from afar who wins their hearts.
    It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting from this, I guess. It was well thought out and interesting, but the writing wasn't always smooth. That may in part come from the time-period and setting, however. If you're interested in the lives of people in the Bible, it's a worthwhile read.
    PB C

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