Tag: Realistic FIction

How to Make Friends with the Dark

Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Published: April 9, 2019
421 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  5 stars

Book Description:

Here is what happens when your mother dies.

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

Kim’s Review:

Another ugly cry book for Kim! The cover fascinated me, the title sounded interesting, and after reading the description, I became obsessed with wanting to read it. It started out pretty regularly, a teen who doesn’t get along with her mom, who just wants independence, etc. Thankfully, there’s not much to give away that you don’t already learn in the description. Tiger’s mom dies unexpectedly and the rest of the book is Tiger trying to deal with her grief and new life without her mother. There were times when the typical teen idea of “adults just don’t understand” came out and that got a little annoying, but the emotions were so raw and real that it didn’t bother me. There are a lot of good lessons throughout the story that I think teens would benefit from, but I would not recommend this book to younger kids. By the time I finished it, I was sobbing. I haven’t cried that hard since Jagged Mind! It didn’t help that I’m PMS’ing but that’s neither here nor there!

I liked how Glasgow documented the whole journey from death, to funeral, to foster care, to guardianship, to coroners report, to obituary, to dealing with permanent loss. I think this would be a great book to give to teachers to read. To be honest, while reading this, that opening quote from The Breakfast Club kept coming to mind. “…and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…” – David Bowie.

Fortunately, there isn’t any real adult vs. teen conflict in the story, but it is sometimes easy to forget that teens’ feelings can be complicated and hard to deal with. We think that they have the resilience of childhood, but they’re far closer to adulthood and they often need more attention than the younger ones. Overall, this is an emotional and educational read that gives a detailed look into everything surrounding death, specifically how it affects teens under 18. I absolutely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Neal Shusterman

Jarrod Shusterman
Published: October 2, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 10-17, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

Jessica’s Review:

Between reading Hanna Jameson’s The Last and now Dry and watching ‘Walking Dead’ type shows/movies I now want to stock up on everything and be ready for the end of civilization! Especially water: You cannot live without water after a few days.  Dry has totally freaked me out and I want to be prepared!  Everything about Dry felt real to me. It takes place in southern California (OMG, this happened in the USA!) and the water has run completely out.  The desperation of everyone is captured brilliantly and we see how people become in impossible situations. 

Our protagonists are young adults, so they will come with immaturity, but I was completely drawn into the story! You don’t know what is going to happen and who will die or live.  For a while I thought we were going to have a ‘Mist movie type ending’ and OMG, that would be jaw dropping as it is so realistic and not a happy ending. 

Shusterman does such a wonderful job making you think about things long after you have finished his books.  He continues this with Dry.  Dry has you thinking about what you will do and who will you become when the Tap-Out eventually happens.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Published: March 12, 2019
432 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

Kim’s Review:

Whoa. Mindy McGinnis does it yet again! No one captures inner darkness like Mindy. And did she do it in Heroine. I can’t say I like it better than This Darkness Mine, but this one is definitely the most realistic of all her books. Now y’all know that I’m very tough on characters, especially the teens. I expected to go after Mickey. I am an incredibly addictive person and let’s be honest, narcotics are amazing. I absolutely love opiates. The morphine I got after my appendectomy made me fly 5 feet off my bed and I enjoyed every second. I got this huge bottle of oxycodone to take home with me. I barely made a dent in the bottle and it now sits in our medicine cabinet, still full. The only time I’m allowed to take a pill is when I have to have my mouth numbed at the dentist’s office. About a year ago, I had a root canal and I was numbed up big time, so I took one pill. The thought entered my mind that once Ivan went to work, I could totally take another pill, even though the numb had worn off. I wasn’t even scared by that thought. When Ivan went to work, I didn’t take another pill.

Ever since then, I have been heavily critical of addicts. I’m not talking about people who get hooked on their legal prescriptions that their doctor went crazy with. I mean the addicts who get the illegal stuff. Mickey is that kind of addict, so I was all set. Gonna be tough on her, gonna criticize, gonna shake my head. I didn’t do all that to the degree that I was expecting. Of course I shook my head, cuz this girl decided to risk her future, her life, her everything to chase the dragon. Teens are stupid, we already knew that. But McGinnis broke down the process so well, that I felt far more sympathy than I did judgement. I did judge her parents though. Who the hell leaves prescription drugs on their kid’s nightstand???? Unsupervised??? In this day and age?????? Morons.

But I really did like this book. A lot. I absolutely recommend this book to older teens. McGinnis gives a true to life look at addiction and the drugs themselves. She didn’t shy away from talking about how great the drugs feel. She also didn’t shy away from the overall effects and the consequences. Obviously, I wouldn’t give this book to younger kids. But the older teens could definitely benefit from it. An excellent book; high five, Mindy McGinnis!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK