18 year-old Elwood runs away when he overhears his father talking about sacrificing him for the church he resides over in the Garden of Adam Community, located in the Upper Peninsula. He’s been told throughout his entire life that he’s a burden. He’s been punished and unloved by his parents. 18 year-old Wil is sure that her mother was sacrificed by the church and Elwood’s father. Wil and Elwood help each other hide from danger, investigate the community’s weird happenings, and try to find out what happened to Wil’s mother. Their lives will be thrown into chaos before it’s over.
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the creepy aspect of Elwood’s family and his father’s effect on the community. The prose represents beauty and pain, hurt and happiness, perfectly. The story was too quick to achieve well developed characters. Mature content: PG-13 for Underage drinking and smoking, passionate undescribed kissing (PG) Language: R for 79 swears and 6 f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for Bloody sacrificing of a rabbit, sacrificing son by bleeding him to death, father plunges knife into son’s chest. Ethnicity: falls to white.
Mystery and folklore! Luce’s cousin goes missing from her room one evening and it’s devastating her family. Luce, 15, had seen yellow eyes in the woods behind her house in Picnic, Illinois for a few nights before her cousin Madison went missing and she thinks the eyes might be a clue to finding her. Luce’s and Anders’ teacher assigns a historical research paper and Luce chooses to research the local history of missing girls. A girl has gone missing every nineteen years and she returns a few days later but the mother always claims that the returning girl is not her daughter. When Madison returns, her mother and Luce know that it’s not really her and she’s determined to find the real Madison despite the dangers it puts Luce in.
Likes/dislikes: The story started out simplistically but grew with more depth. I like the paranormal mystery behind the missing girls. Andres is an endearing character. I appreciate the message of independence and the message that you also need others in your life. Mature content: PG for a gentle kiss and a brief kiss. Language: R for 17 swears and 1 f-bomb. Violence: PG-13 for child abduction. Ethnicity: Predominantly white.
Melody is caught by a police officer smoking her first joint with her friend Sophie. They both managed one cough-inducing puff. The officer takes them both home, giving them a warning to not do it again. The next day she discovers that her parents have decided that they all need to be together so she’s moving with her mom to Korea and away from New York City. The two of them have lived in a tiny New York City apartment for most of Melody’s life while her father has worked in Korea and traveled back and forth to visit them. Melody and her mom have a close relationship but everything in Melody’s life changes once they’re in Korea. Her father is strict and gruff, her grandparents seem cold, distant and uncaring. She does make some friends and her Dad encourages socializing, which helps ease the family tensions and the homework stress. Her relationship with Sophie is strained too and Melody wants to figure out how to pursue her dream of becoming an interior designer while mending relationships with the people she cares about and navigating two countries as her home. A well-written and descriptive realistic fiction story that makes me want to visit Korea! 4 stars!
Language: 24 swears, including 1 f-bomb Mature content: PG-13-kissing; underage smoking of marijuana Violence: PG-arguing Ethnicity: Korean, Ethiopian, American and many languages, such as French, spoken and ethnicities represented in Korea when Melody goes to a nightclub. Likes/dislikes: I love the descriptions of each setting the main character is in. I also like the relevance of family contention and teen angst that takes place as Melody’s father tries to completely control her and she discovers her mother keeping secrets. She sees her grandfather treat her father the same way her father treats her and she wonders why he does that to her when he seems to dislike being treated like that. Great insight into Korean culture through Melody’s experiences as she visits places and tries new foods.