Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood - Ibtisam Barakat
A memoir of growing up Palestinian during the late sixties. Ibtisam is 3 when the Six Day War erupts. Her family flees from their home when they hear the Israelis will kill any who remain. Along with dozens of others, they attach themselves to a water tanker and hold on until they reach the border. There they take shelter along with other families until the war is over.
The author does an exemplary job of telling a story of a Palestinian family in an occupied country. She is able to tell us what it was like to grow up dispossessed and marginalized, without allowing her story to be one of blame or embitterment. This is one of the best books I've read all year.
Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
So we know even before we start that this is going to be a multiple narrator issue story, you know, since everything she writes is...This one about a school shooting stars Peter, our disenfranchised perpetually bullied school shooter; Josie, his ex-best friend turned popular girl is another. We also hear from Peter's parents, his lawyer, Josies' judge mom, and the police detective. The time frame jumps around from after the shooting to when they were kids, to right before, to during the shooting. I don't have much to say about this one, other than I thought it was OK, but lacked the intensity of My Sister's Keeper.
Beastly - Alex Flinn
A retold beauty and the beast story. This one set in modern NYC. Kyle, the incredibly gorgeous, self-centered, cruel popular kid is our beast. A shy, poor, abused and mistreated Lindy is our beauty. After Kyle plays a mean joke on a fellow student (who turns out to be a hot witch in disguise) he is cursed with an outside that matches his inside and can only be cured if he is kissed by his true love within two years. What was cute about this telling is that various fairy tale characters meet in an online chat room and discuss what's going on in their lives. Some of the dialog is clunky, but for the most part a cute story. It has a date of publication set for 10/07.
Green Angel - Alice Hoffman
I had to re-read this one for a book club. This is a beautifully written (seriously Ms. Hoffman must have sold her soul to the devil - everything she writes is wonderful) story of Green who stays behind to tend to the garden while her family goes into the city to go to the market. A fiery disaster occurs and everyone in the city dies. Everything is covered in embers and ashes. Green is lost in her grief and copes by tattooing herself with black ink and thorns. She begins to heal when she must take care of others even if she refuses at first to take care of herself.