Tag Archives: toxic parent

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank (Crank, #1)

Bibliographic information: Crank. Ellen Hopkins. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004. $11.99. 537p. ISBN-13:  9780689865190.
Summary: Katrina is a normal kid who never does anything. She is practically the model child. Her parents didn’t stay together very long and she doesn’t know her father at all, other than what her mom has told her: that he is a ne’er-do-well father. Katrina is finally able to convince her mom that she is old enough to visit her father and get to know him. So during spring break she goes, and that is when she is introduced to the Monster.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 8 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: This shockingly realistic book is uniquely written in verse the entire way through. If you didn’t like poetry before reading this book, you just might be hooked on it after reading this book. Hopkins writes real-life situations and doesn’t hold back, using all the nitty-gritty details and none of the fluff. She tells it like it is. Her characters are real and easy to relate to. They speak to young readers who are struggling with the same situations. Highly recommended to all. Parents and teachers should be reading her books as well as teens.
Readers’ annotation: Her life was fine, if a bit boring, until she met the Monster. The Monster changed her life.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: The drug use and struggle that Katrina goes through will speak to teens who are going through the same situation or has a friend who is going through the same situation. This book will show these teens that they are not the only ones going through a difficult situation and there are ways to get past it and move on with life. Reading this book might encourage others to seek help with their problems.
Issues present: They book lays heavy emphasis on drug use and some people might be against the impressions this could potentially make on teens. Although, generally when a teens goes to read a book like this, they are not trying to get ideas on how to live their lives, they are trying to get idea’s on how to cope with the issues in their lives. This book could potentially save a teens life.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Katrina’s character.
P. 1 – defines the plot, simply.
Talk about drug addictions.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: drug addiction
Readalikes:  Other Hopkins books, Go Ask Alice, Cut, Smack
Author’s website:  http://ellenhopkins.com/
Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award (2009)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Crank-Ellen-Hopkins/pid=232295; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-20174758442494.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-689-86519-0; Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ellen-hopkins/crank/
Why I chose it: I have always been a bit curious about Hopkins work and find her writing style intriguing so thought I would give it a try.


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Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)

Bibliographic information: Ship Breaker. Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010. $17.99. 326p. ISBN-13:  9780316056212.
Summary: Nailer works as a scavenger for copper wiring on beached oil tankers. He spends his days climbing through poisonous dangerous crawl spaces to make a little money to survive because his violent drug addicted father is not use. One day he ends up falling into an oil well in the tanker he was stripping and gets stuck. When his work buddy finds him, she leaves him there to die in hopes that she can claim the oil for herself and get rich. Nailer apparently has a lucky side and finds a way out by breaking through the oil well door and landing in the ocean, oddly enough, in one piece. This means he doesn’t get to claim the oil, his boss does, but at least he is still alive and the work buddy who left him behind is shunned away. Not long after that there is a huge storm that lands a lot of beached ships on their shore. Nailer finds a beached clipper ship with a sole survivor, a girl about his age. Now Nailer has to decide whether he is going to kill the girl and strip the ship or save the girl and potentially gain a new life. It all depends on whether he can trust the girl or not.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 7 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: Winner of the Printz Book Award for 2011 as well as Notable Children’s Books, Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Children’s Books of the Year. This young adult dystopian novel is a little different from what you may be used to. The characters of this story are complex, but incredibly realistic and loyalty is one of their main attributes. Nailer is struggling to survive in a dystopian society based solely on harvesting goods from beached oil tankers. He puts himself at risk each day so that he can make a little money to live from. When he is faced with a difficult decision, his conscience wins out and he can only hope it was the right choice, but it does bring him on a life changing journey that will only add to his character. Morals seem to be fickle things in this story and Nailer seems to have the brunt of them. This trilling adventure will captivate the minds of teen readers and pull them into a vivid world of brutality and hardship that will keep their attention all the way through.
Readers’ annotation: After a huge storm blows through, Nailer is left with a choice of life or death. And it all hinges on a girl he found.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book shows teens that there are other young adults in the world that are struggling through life and that they are not alone in their struggles. Also, of all the characters Nailer sets some great morals for children to follow.
Issues present: This book kind of reminds me of Lord of the Flies where everybody is just brutal savages and everybody is out save themselves and nobody else. Parents and even teacher might object to the blatant violence and savagery in this book. However, the real world is brutal and savage, maybe not as much as in this book, but it will prepare kids for the real world and make them less afraid.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Nailer’s character.
If you had to choose between money or saving a girl’s life who could potentially kill you, what would you do?
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian, toxic parent
Readalikes:  Ashfall, Tankborn, Uglies, The House of the Scorpion, The Hunger Games
Author’s website:
Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature (2010), Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book (2011), Romantic Times (RT) Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Novel (2010), Cybils Award Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2010), Printz Award (2011) YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2011), Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of the Year for Fiction (2010), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2013), Andre Norton Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2010)
Reviews:  Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Ship-Breaker-Paolo-Bacigalupi/pid=4069799; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-98870566942063.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-05621-2; Kirkus Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paolo-bacigalupi/ship-breaker/
Why I chose it: This book was recommended to me by a friend and the concept sounded intriguing so I gave it a go.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Bibliographic information: Divergent. Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011. $17.99. 487p. ISBN-13:  9780062024022.
Summary: Beatrice lives in Chicago, but a Chicago that is divided into 5 factions. The factions were chosen because people could not agree on how to live their lives and much fighting took place, so each factions chose a certain aspect of the human personality to follow: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). She was born into the Abnegnation, however when each child reaches the age of 16 they get to choose which faction they wish to be a part of. Choosing another faction than the one you are born into means giving up everything in your current life, your family, your friends, and even your name. Beatrice is now 16 and she must choose her future.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: grade 7 and up
Review: In a futuristic world where Chicago is split into 5 distinct factions, Beatrice is at the age where she must choose which faction to be a part of. Written in the first person viewpoint, Beatrice, finds her life filled with action, excitement and danger. Leaving her old life behind she begins her journey to find out who she really is. Roth has no regard for her characters and is ruthless enough that readers should not get attached to any one character. This dystopian novel will attract attention of The Hunger Games fans.
Readers’ annotation: She gave up her name, her family, her friends to be somebody else. Does she know who she is? Who is she really?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book can be used by teens to fight their fears. It covers several aspects that will give them perspective and understanding into their fears that are taking place in their lives. Having a character that is able to persevere even in hard times will encourage teens to continue to persevere in their lives. Also, Tris had to decide for herself what she was going to do with her life and when young adults read this book they will be able to understand that they are reaching the age where they are going to have to choose for themselves as well. Going off to college, picking a career, etc.
Issues present:There is a good amount of violence and the casual use of guns that people might object to. But people have to understand that there is violence and the casual use of guns in the real world. This book is giving them exposure so that they are not as surprised or frightened.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Beatrice’s “Tris” character.
Five factions, one choice.
Pg. 47 starting with “Marcus offers me my knife…” until the end of the page. – her choice is made.
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian
Readalikes:  The Hunger Game, The Maze Runner, The Line, The Giver, Delirium, Ship Breaker, Matched, Possession, Bumped
Author’s website: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/
Awards: Goodreads Choice Award for Favorite Book of 2011 and for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011), ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee (2012), Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hella Authors) for Best Young Adult Romance (2012)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Divergent-Veronica-Roth/pid=4560042; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-51633693345175.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-202402-2; Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/veronica-roth/divergent/
Why I chose it: Everybody told me to read this, so I did. They said that is was a great dystopian book and I am inclined to believe them.

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What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles

What Happened to Cass McBride?

Bibliographic information: What Happened to Cass McBride. Gail Giles. Little, Brown and Company, 2006. $16.99. 211p. ISBN-13:  9780316166386.
Summary: Cass McBride went to bed in her pristine bedroom, but when she woke up she found herself in a small earthy box, seemingly underground. Now Cass has never been a claustrophobic person, but she is slowly discovering that being buried alive is a whole other story. Now she just has to find out why somebody would do this to her. Kyle, however, is trying to take revenge for his deceased brother by taking actions that nobody expected from him, being the popular attractive guy that he is.
Reading level and interest level: RL: Grade 9 and up IL: grade 9 and up
Review: If you’ve never felt claustrophobic then you will after reading this book. Cass McBride has been buried alive! Giles has artfully crafted a most disturbing novel that will reach the minds of its readers and make them feel what Cass is feeling. She writes with experience and it comes through in her prose. Written through the viewpoint of three separate characters: Cass, Kyle and Detective Ben, we slowly start to understand how Cass ended up buried alive. Giles characters are genuine and easy to familiarize with. This harrowing tale will wrench reader’s hearts and make them think twice about their actions. Not for the faint of heart.
Readers’ annotation: Kyle is seeking revenge for his brother and now the ever loved Cass McBride has been buried alive. Are you claustrophobic? You may be soon…
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book screams with claustrophobia, suicide, and child abuse. If any teen has to deal with these issues or similar issues in their daily lives, this book would be a great tool for them to face their problems and come to terms with the fact there they are not alone in the world and others are out experiencing the same issues.
Issues present: People may be against the suicide and the obvious discomfort of Cass being buried alive. Some may even feel strongly against the child abuse mentioned in the novel and the general violence. However, these are all issues that teens go through in their real lives and having a base tool to help them express their feelings will be helpful in getting them through their issues.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Kyle and Cass’ characters.
Use passages from pages 12-15 to describe Cass discovering being buried alive.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: torture, suicide, bullying
Readalikes:  Thirteen Reason Why, Shattering Glass, Wish You Were Dead
Author’s website: http://www.gailgiles.com/Welcome.html
Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009)
Reviews:  Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/What-Happened-to-Cass-McBride-Gail-Giles/pid=1846914; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-4677064.xml. Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/gail-giles/what-happened-to-cass-mcbride/
Why I chose it: I have always been a fan of mysteries and I was curious about what it would be like to read about someone who was buried alive and lived through it. I just think that would be a horrible thing to live through.

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Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

Bibliographic information: Hope in Patience. Beth Fehlbaum. West Side Books, 2010. $16.95. 312p. ISBN-13:  978-1934813416.
Summary:  Ashley used to live with her mother and her stepfather. For years now, since she was nine years old, her stepfather has been sexually abusing Ashley to the point were she is frighten to go home or go to bed at night. Things have gone too far one day when Charlie raped Ashley and a teacher from school found out. Child Protective Services stepped in and now she is living with her father and trying to start a new life. Except that is a very hard thing to do. Especially when her mother and stepfather show up and try to get her to come back home with them, resulting in Charlie breaking Ashley’s arm. But she starts to make new friends at school who are nice and understanding of her situation. She is going to a therapist who is helping her understand that it’s not her fault for the way her stepfather acted. And she is starting to understand what it is like to have a real family that loves her. Things are starting to turn around, but there is still the kids at school who know what happened to her and look at her funny in the halls.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 14 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: This is beautifully written novel about the psychological stress and trauma of being sexually abused. This is the follow-up sequel to the compelling Courage in Patience. Fehlbaum writes with experience and heart that makes the reader feel for the character. This is a tough topic to discuss let alone write a whole trilogy about, but Fehlbaum did a fabulous job of making the reader understand the magnitude of sexual abuse and the amount of psychological damage it could wreck on someone. It is important to have friends and family there to support you during recovery from such an event. She also touches on gay relationships a little, putting a positive light on the subject. It could be met with hostility, but as long as you have a friend who supports you, life will be a bit better.
Readers’ annotation: What do you do when you are trapped in a mental cage of terror so frightening it leaves you paralyzed? Ashley is trying will all of her might to find a way out of that cage.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Child abuse is a heavy topic, but Beth does a great job writing about Ashley’s struggles to forget what happened to her and get past her pain. This book has some great methods for children who have to live with being an abuse child so that if there are children out there struggling they can read this book and be able to gain some relief from their pain and seek help from supportive friends.
Issues present: This book covers some heavy issue with child abuse and sexual abuse. It has curse words and briefly covers GLBTQ material in a positive light. However, this book shows that with the right kind of people in your life you can get past your pain and move on in life.
Booktalk ideas: Pg 1. when Ashley is dreaming – shows her struggle to forget.
Introduce Ashley’s character
Talk about psychological abuse of being molested
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: child abuse
Readalikes:  Living Dead Girl, Boy Toy, Teach Me, Courage in Patience, Truth in Patience, Speak
Author’s website: http://www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com/
Awards: YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (2011)
Reviews:  School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-79859266369316.xml ; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Hope-in-Patience-Beth-Fehlbaum/pid=4457792
Why I chose it: I liked how Beth took truths from her life and put them into a fictional story. She writes with heart and experience.

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