Monday's Muse, 24th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): All In by Lifehouse.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Selling Hope by Kristin O' Donnell Tubb.

It’s May 1910, and Halley’s Comet is due to pass thru the Earth’s atmosphere. And thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father are due to pass through their hometown of Chicago with their ragtag vaudeville troupe. Hope wants out of vaudeville, and longs for a “normal” life—or as normal as life can be without her mother, who died five years before. Hope sees an opportunity: She invents “anti-comet” pills to sell to the working-class customers desperate for protection. Soon, she’s joined by a fellow troupe member, young Buster Keaton, and the two of them start to make good money. And just when Hope thinks she has all the answers, she has to decide: What is family? Where is home?

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer.

When it comes to creating strong, independent, and funny teenaged female characters, Bauer is in a class by herself and the 16-year-old waitress in this book is no exception. Hope Yancey and her Aunt Addie, a much-sought-after diner cook, have toured the country, one diner at a time. With each move, the teen leaves her mark, "HOPE WAS HERE," in ballpoint pen somewhere on the premises. Now in Mulhoney, WI, she has no idea that the residents of this small town will make their mark on her. G. T. Stoop, the Quaker owner of the Welcome Stairways, has leukemia, and while the disease can keep him from running the diner he loves, it can't keep him from running for mayor against a corrupt incumbent. Taking part in his campaign allows Hope to get to know Braverman, a fellow worker at the Welcome Stairways and G. T.'s greatest supporter. The mix of dealing with illness, small-town politics, and budding romance for both Hope and Addie is one that will entertain and inspire readers. Bauer tells a fast-paced, multilayered story with humor but does not gloss over the struggle of someone who is unable to trust, someone who has been left before, and who avoids getting close to anyone for fear of being left again. Teens who have come to expect witty, realistic characters and atypical (but very funny) story lines from Bauer's previous books will not be disappointed and new readers will be sure to come back for seconds. --School Library Journal, Tracey Firestone, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Mercury by Hope Larson.

Set in Nova Scotia, this book relates two coming-of-age stories in tandem, showing how the past interweaves with the present. In the present, Tara and her mother have lost their old farmhouse in a fire, and Tara's mother is struggling to support them from far away while Tara lives with relatives. She loved the old house and wants to rebuild it, but her mother is pressured to find a job elsewhere. In 1859, Josey, Tara's ancestor, falls in love with a gold dowser who has convinced her father to open a mine. Her mother, who has supernatural sight, is sure that the dowser means no good. The stories collide as Tara goes searching for the gold said to have been hidden on her property, and Josey's tale reveals how it came to be hidden. Elements of the supernatural echo in both settings as Josey experiences the same visions her mother has and Tara discovers that she has a knack for dowsing. Though the end of the story leaves things hanging for Tara and her mother, the actions that the girl takes to gain control of her destiny suggest that she will find a way to achieve her goals. The storytelling, both in words and pictures, brilliantly offers details from Canadian history and modern life. The dialogue varies from funny to poignant. An excellent graphic novel, particularly for fans of Faith Erin Hicks's The War at Ellsmere (Slave Labor, 2008).—School Library Journal, Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum.

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Asher has spent half of her life living in fear. Her stepfather has been sexually abusing her for years, but her mother doesn't believe her. After his latest assault lands her in the emergency room, Child Protective Services finally removes Ashley from her home, and sends her to live with the father she barely remembers and his new family. Her new life in Patience, Texas, is much better. She's in therapy to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is trying to make her way in a new high school. She's getting used to living with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother, and she's made new friends in the summer course taught by her stepmother, Bev. She even joins the track team at the urging of her new African American friend, Z. Z. But Ashley is so traumatized by her past that she sometimes scratches herself until she bleeds and sleeps in her armoire, even though she knows she's safe now. Worse, when her stepfather is finally put on trial for hurting her, she learns that truth and justice don't always go together. Will Ashley adjust to a better life? Will she trust enough to date Josh, the cute guy on her track team who likes her? YA readers will be caught up in the heart-pounding story of a damaged girl trying to heal herself and get on with the rest of her life.

Something Like Hope by Shawn Goodman.

17-year-old Shavonne has been in juvenile detention since the seventh grade. Mr Delpopolo is the first counselor to treat her as an equal, and he helps her get to the bottom of her self-destructive behavior, her guilt about past actions, and her fears about leaving the Center when she turns 18. Shavonne tells him the truth about her crack-addicted mother, the child she had (and gave up to foster care) at fifteen, and the secret shame she feels about what she did to her younger brother after her mother abandoned them. Meanwhile, Shavonne's mentally unstable roommate Cinda makes a rash move, and Shavonne's quick thinking saves her life—and gives her the opportunity to get out of the Center if she behaves well. But Shavonne's faith is tested when her new roommate, mentally retarded and pregnant Mary, is targeted by a guard as a means to get revenge on Shavonne. As freedom begins to look more and more likely, Shavonne begins to believe that maybe she, like the goslings recently hatched on the Center's property, could have a future somewhere else—and she begins to feel something like hope.

Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith.

With the same lyrical simplicity as in Keeping the Night Watch (2008), Smith writes about an African American child’s grief at the sudden death of her mother. The first poems celebrate Momma’s unconditional love and the intimacy of her embrace in daily life: “I’ve got a momma / who combs and plaits my hair . . . who wraps me in her arms.“ Then suddenly Momma dies, and the child’s “ultimate superhero” is gone. More than half the book is about her shock, sorrow, guilt, anger, and loving memories. Like the poetry, Smith’s simple, torn-paper collages in a folk-art style show the close embraces and vignettes without overwhelming the words. In one unforgettable picture, the child stands tall, her feet in Momma’s shoes. The girl feels bewildered by her friends who hate their mothers. Other adults, including a father and stepfather, get passing mention. Readers will recognize the regret: the last words you remember, “and the words you didn’t say.”--Booklist, Hazel Rochman


Dana Cheryl said...

Heather, I love how you can list books & authors the way most men can list athletes, positions played, and draft ranking. Keep rockin' it out girl!!! :)