Reviewed by: Elizabeth Anderson, Communications Assistant
Suggested Age: Tweens, Teens
What is the book about?: When Annie starts attending a new school, one of her classmates, an outcast named Elsie, claims her as her very best friend. Elsie is unusual, dishonest, and unpleasant. Annie is quick to extract herself from the relationship in order to fit in with the other girls in the class. When Elsie dies of the flu, her vengeful spirit possesses Annie, forces her to do her bidding, and does her best to claim Annie as her friend for always.
My Review: This story contains elements of Hahn’s flare for historical fiction as well as ghost stories. Set at the end of World War I, the book contains well integrated facts and details about the time period and the influenza epidemic. Hahn’s novels typically craft characters that are imperfect, but lovable. This novel was no exception when it came to the flawed aspects of the characters, but it struck me as one of her more extreme works in terms of the mean spiritedness and sometimes downright hateful and disrespectful behavior of the core group of characters. While I typically wince at a character’s mistake and continue to root for them, I found myself a bit detached from the characters in this book because none of them had many endearing qualities, nor did the events of the story seem to cultivate positive traits in a genuine way. This novel exchanges characterization for a fairly solid and eventful plot, however, so if a reader is more interested in the story itself than the characters, this book will not disappoint. While it is not a “scary” ghost story, it is a troubling narrative in terms of the cruelty and malice of the characters, as well as the frustrating and upsetting ramifications of Annie’s possession by Elsie’s ghost.
Three Words That Describe This Book: Hatefulness, insanity, illness
Give This a Try if You Like… The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, and The Ghost of Ernie P. by Betty Ren Wright
About FDL Reads
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!
Last week was a big week. We had Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday, and Ash Wednesday. The ALA (American Library Association) also announced their Youth Media Awards recipients, a pretty big deal in library land, and also a big deal for you who are interested in children’s and YA books. This is also a big deal for authors as new editions of their books are now released with one of the sweet medals showing they won on the cover. So, here are 2018’s Youth Media Awards, with links to library holdings. I have listed the major award winners only for the sake of brevity – to see all of the winners and honor books as well, click here.
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly – Four kids’ lives intertwine after a prank involving a guinea pig and a well. Will friendship triumph in this middle grade story of the perils of middle school life?
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
Wolf in the Snow, illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell – A little girl and a wolf cub are both lost in the snaow. Can they help each other find their way home in this picture book?
Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults:
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, is the King Author Award winner – Jade needs to get out of her neighborhood if she’s going to succeed. She takes every opportunity she can, but some of those opportunities try to pigeonhole her into roles that don’t fit her at all.
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the King Illustrator Award winner – This is an anthology of poems celebrating great poets.
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, is the 2018 Printz Award winner – Marin ran away from her old life. But now, 3000 miles away, she’s alone in her dorm during winter break and her best friend is coming to visit.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children:
The 2018 winner is Jacqueline Woodson, whose award-winning works include Brown Girl Dreaming, After Tupac & D Foster, Locomotion and Show Way.
Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
The Hate U Give, (link to audiobook) is the 2018 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by Angie Thomas and narrated by Bahni Turpin – Star Carter is the only witness to her friend Khalil’s murder at the hands of a police officer. She now has to navigate life with pressure on all sides, trying to maintain peace in her community and her own safety and well being.
Stonewall Book Award–Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert – Suzette comes home from boarding school and doesn’t think she ever wants to go back. Her friends and family are here, including her brother,who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. But to complicate things, Suzette ends up falling for this amazing girl… the girl her brother loves.
The 57 Bus, written by Dashka Slater – Two teenagers from vastly different backgrounds spend 8 minutes together on the same bus. Their lives will never be the same.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers is:
Charlie & Mouse, written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes – Two brothers spend the day together, doing awesome brother things.
William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:
The Hate U Give by by Angie Thomas (link to printed book) (see description above)
Post by Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist
Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.
You love Rick Riordan’s books and have read them all. Now what do you read? Here are three series you can try:
Jack McKinley and his three friends have one goal. They must retrieve the lost magical orbs from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. One hitch, they’re not the only ones looking for them.
Check out the website: http://www.sevenwondersbooks.com/
Travel with Nic to Ancient Rome where he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor. Along the way he finds an amulet filled with magic that belonged to the great Caesar. Magic some Romans would kill for.
Check out the website: http://markofthethief.scholastic.com/books
In the town of Blackwell, South Dakota, all of the citizens are direct descendants of the Norse gods, Thor and Loki. Matt Thorsen and his friends Fen and Laurie Brekke have been chosen to stand in for Thor and Loki when it is revealed that Ragnarok is coming. Will they be able to save the world?
Check out the website: http://www.blackwellpages.com/books.php
1KB4K: 1,000 BOOKS BEFORE KINDERGARTEN
1KB4K is a library initiative that promotes reading 1,000 books to preschoolers before they begin Kindergarten. It’s easy to do, and the child gets a free book every time they read and report 100 books. For additional information or to register, visit the Youth Services Department.
Even when there’s not a program scheduled, there’s always something fun to do at the library! Stop by the desk in the Youth Services Department to learn more about the library’s current Anytime Activity, a craft, game, or project kids can do whenever they visit the library.
Toys & Games
Numerous toys and games are available for your child to play with in the library’s Youth Services Department. The library offers a wide selection of board and card games, as well as a train table, Lego table, puzzles, and a puppet theater. Stop by and enjoy a delightful and entertaining morning or afternoon at the library!
Help Your Preschooler Succeed In School
According to United Way’s Success By Six Program, parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, and future academic success begins at home. Click here for monthly activities from United Way.
We’re just a click away!