Inspirational

100 Days of Sunlight

Tessa needs to learns how to punch Life in the face.*

Tessa Dickinson has lost her sight for 100 days. A car accident took her whole life and flipped it upside-down, leaving the 16-year-old poet feeling like she may never have a reason to be happy again. Her grandparents, refusing to let her wallow in darkness for the summer, place an ad in a local newspaper for a typist to help Tessa write again. What they don’t expect to knock on their door is a boy with too much optimism, determination, and no legs.

She needs to learn how to hear. And taste. And smell. And feel. She needs to realize that there is more than one way to see the world.*

Weston is set on helping Tessa realize that she doesn’t need her sight to be happy. And since she can’t see his disability, she treats him like a person, screaming at him, fighting his help, and eventually letting him type poetry for her. Together, the two learn to navigate through the darkness for 100 days, growing closer than they thought was possible. But Weston is terrified of what Tessa will think of him when her sight returns. Will he stay and tell her the truth, or will he vanish from sight again?

Sure, a lot has been taken away from Tessa—but not everything. She still has four other senses, four other ways to find the beauty in the world.*

I would recommend 100 Days of Sunlight for ages 17+. There is some mature language and teen romance to be aware of, as well as some elements of mental and physical health that could be triggering. This novel would fall under the contemporary and romance genres and was written and published by Abbie Emmons in 2019. A beautifully written book with raw emotions, real characters, and a strong aesthetic. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I’ll teach her.

I’ll teach her how to see the world without actually seeing the world.

I’ll show her.*

She isn’t going to see me.

Ever.*

*All excerpts taken from 100 Days of Sunlight written and published by Abbie Emmons, 2019

A Thousand Perfect Notes

“Music is nothing unless it fills your soul with colour and passion and dreams.”*

Beck Keverich is a pianist who hates music. Every day he is forced to practice for hours in order to match his mother’s standards. She was once a famous pianist, popular and talented; but after her hands started to shake, she could no longer play; so she focused all her energy onto making her son the continuation of her legacy. Beck is barely balancing piano, taking care of his younger sister, and appeasing his mother’s rages without losing his own sanity; then to make matters worse, he gets paired up with a girl for a class assignment. August is bubbly, talkative, and determined to make friends with this angry boy who shows up to class with a hand-shaped bruise on his cheek and rusted piano strings barely holding together the broken pieces of his heart. Beck is a broken boy, but there’s hope just around the corner, if only he can make it there.   

“His skin will part like old paper and the world will see how his skeleton is made of dark wishes and macabre dreams.”**

I would highly recommend this book, A Thousand Perfect notes written by C.G. Drews, for mature readers ages 16+. This novel was published in 2018 and would fall under the contemporary romance genre. It is an emotional story about obsession, abuse, music, and love; and could affect sensitive readers. There is some minor mature language and a few violent abuse scenes to watch out for; but overall, A Thousand Perfect Notes is a beautifully written novel that is sure to tug at your emotions and leave you wanting more. 4 out of 5 stars.

“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.”***

*All excerpts taken from A Thousand Perfect Notes, written by C.G. Drews and published by Orchard Books

The Boy Who Steals Houses

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Featuring broken boys, waffles, stolen keys, bruised knuckles, family, lockpicks, loneliness, and caramel-The Boy Who Steals Houses, written by C.G. Drews and published in Great Britain in 2019 by The Watts Publishing Group, is a truly inspiring, deeply moving story of a lonely boy named Sammy Lou, his brother Avery, and a girl named Moxie who’s made of sharp corners and a lemonade smile. This is a story of brokenness and belonging, of bruised knuckles and pure love, of stolen houses and families who steal your heart.

If lost, please return to the De Laineys.*

I would recommend The Boy Who Steals Houses for ages 17+-there is some mature language and a few thematic elements to be wary of, including child abuse and other violence. This book is one of the most well-written books I’ve ever read, and remains among the few that have made me cry while reading. The Boy Who Steals Houses falls under the contemporary\inspirational genre and has excellent family themes, beautiful but unusual descriptions, and memorable characters. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*Excerpt taken from The Boy Who Steals Houses, written by C.G. Drews and published in Great Britain in 2019 by The Watts Publishing Group.

The Book Thief

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*** The Book Thief-LAST LINE***
I have hated the words and
I have loved them,
and I hope I have made them right.*

Liesel Meminger is a thief. A book thief. She steals the words and devours them, then spills them out to others. But it is a dangerous time for words. The Führer is orchestrating war, and it is sweeping across the world. Nazi Germany is not friendly to words. Or Jews. So when Liesel’s family hides both words and a Jew in their house, they must be careful. Death is busy, but not too busy to make a stop at Himmel Street.

I saw the book thief three times.*

I highly recommend The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak and published in 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf, for ages 17+. This was a phenomenal read; featuring books, colors, swastikas, fire, love, teddy bears, stolen apples, and Death himself. The Book Thief brought out the horrors of war and hatred, but also the joys of love, kindness, and words. Moving and impactful-but with a few mature themes and some language to watch out for, as well as violence. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Yes, often, I am reminded of her, and in one of my vast array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt-an immense leap of an attempt-to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.
Here it is. One of a handful.
The Book Thief.
If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story.
I’ll show you something.*

I am haunted by humans.*

 

*All excerpts taken from The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak and published in 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Beautifully simple in its storyline, yet complexly moving in its subject matter-The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, written by John Boyne and published in 2006 by David Fickling Books, is a book well worth the read. It features a lonely boy named Bruno who has to leave his old house in Berlin (which has five floors) and move to a new house at a place he calls “Out-With” (which only has three floors). His father is a high-ranking soldier who must fulfill his duty to his country-although Bruno doesn’t understand why it has to be at this lonely place where the only other people (besides soldiers) are wearing striped pajamas on the other side of a tall wire fence. But after he discovers a friend, life becomes more bearable at Out-With-even though this friend is always hungry, wearing striped pajamas, and on the other side of the fence. This unusual friendship blossoms despite the fence, the soldiers, and the foul weather-but friendships of this sort often result in consequences. And these consequences may be of an unexpected-and devastating-sort.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 13+. It falls under the historical fiction genre and is also labelled as a fable. There are some mature themes to watch out for-this book deals with the effects of war and hatred upon children, and how we’re truly all the same, despite our heritage and looks. One of the most heart wrenching books I’ve ever read. 4 out of 5 stars.

A Monster Calls

The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
Conor was awake when it came. *

13-year-old Conor O’Malley is a hurting boy. His mother is sick, really sick. At school, he’s either invisible or a bully target. He doesn’t speak to his best friend anymore. And he’s having nightmares. Terrible nightmares. Nightmares that he will never, ever tell anyone else about.
And then there’s the monster.

I have come to get you, Conor O’Malley, the monster said…
A monster, Conor thought. A real, honest-to-goodness monster. In real, waking life. Not in a dream, but here, at his window.
Come to get him.
But Conor didn’t run. *

This monster is not like the others. It’s ancient. It’s fierce. And it will learn the truth from Conor. Even if the lost boy is determined that no one ever will learn the secret.
The monster will keep on calling.

In fact, he found he wasn’t even frightened.
All he could feel, all he had felt since the monster revealed itself, was a growing disappointment.
Because this wasn’t the monster he was expected. *

I would recommend this book for ages 16+. There are some mature thematic elements, as well as some mild language and dark themes. A Monster Calls-written by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay, and published in America, 2006 by Hilary Mantel-is a phenomenal, deeply moving tale of loss and healing. This compelling novel would fall under the dark fantasy, inspiring, and contemporary genres. 4 out of 5 stars.

“So come and get me then,” he said. *

*All excerpts taken from A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness and published in America, 2006 by Hilary Mantel.