Tuesday, October 20, 2009

teens who read (and get it)

Yesterday's visits to Ayala High School and Chino Hills High School were the best school visits I've ever done. Totally awesome schools, libraries, and kids. And I promise to kick down the details (and post some photographs, too -- a rarity for me) on tomorrow's blog.

But today.

The finish line.

In sight.

Then I can sleep.

I just have one more school visit to Marshall High School in Los Angeles this afternoon, and then the totally cool Teen Reads Week event at the LA Public Library Branch in Los Feliz (see yesterday'spost for the info and address).

But... yesterday, in the path of falling objects got another kickass review, this one from School Library Journal, that will run in December. Here it is... and remember, I have LOTS to say about the fantastic schools I was privileged enough to hang out at yesterday, and that will come tomorrow, after some sleep (if I have time):

SMITH, Andrew. In the Path of Falling Objects. 336p. CIP. Feiwel & Friends. 2009. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-312-37558-4. LC 2008034755.
Gr 9 Up–Falling Objects is a mystical, lyrical, sometimes violent, and ultimately hopeful story of what it means to be a brother. The novel begins with a look back at a murder and quickly moves forward to northern New Mexico and brothers Jonah, 16, and Simon, 14, a dead horse at their feet, a gun in Jonah’s backpack, parents nowhere to be found. From the first squashed scorpion, readers feel the heat and hopelessness of the boys’ situation. Jonah’s most precious possessions are letters from their older brother, who is slowly succumbing to despair in Vietnam. The boys hitch a ride with Mitch, an unstable killer; Lilly, who likes to make Mitch jealous; and a literal tin man who rides in the backseat. Parts of the book are spare and poetic; parts are gritty and grim. Several characters are dead by the last chapter. Despite it all, there is a feeling of closure, as it seems that the brothers could make a new start with a young man they meet, Dalton, and his nontraditional family. For teens looking for something to sink their teeth into, Smith offers a challenging read. Powerful imagery and symbolism are threaded throughout the narrative along with Bible references, a map that Jonah is drawing, a meteorite that Simon takes along as a talisman, and references to gravity and its relentless pull. The intensity will suit serious readers who don’t mind a little blood and gore.– Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX

Maggie and SLJ, what can I say? You rock, and thanks.