Thursday, October 25, 2012

“Andy Squared” by Jennifer Lavoie

Age: Young Adult
Genre: Fiction, Gay and Lesbian

Teens Andy and his twin sister, Andrea, live with their parents in a rural town where not much happens. They fill their time going to school and playing soccer. As college application time approaches, the twins are trying to decide where to go to school because, at least in Andrea’s mind, they will stay together no matter what. But Andy is feeling unfulfilled in life: no girl keeps his interest for long and he’s not sure he wants to play soccer after high school. However, life suddenly changes when a new boy, Ryder, moves into town. Andy starts to have unrecognizable feelings for Ryder and before he knows it, Andy is in over his head. Though he is happy to be with Ryder, he lives in constant fear of others finding out their secret. He can’t even tell his twin, but everyone is bound to find out at some point.

The love story in Andy Squared seems plausible enough and the characters feel realistic, but the story itself moves pretty slowly. It wasn’t exactly a page-turner as there was nothing pushing the story forward other than Andy’s self-discovery. The author needed to add some sort of external conflict to keep the plot interesting. I found I wasn’t all that interested in what was going to happen to the characters, and the only reason I kept reading the book was because I rarely stop reading a book I’ve started. So Andy Squared wasn’t terrible, just sort of boring. However, it may appeal to young gay readers looking to find someone like themselves portrayed in literature.

Bibliographic Information:
Lavoie, Jennifer. Andy Squared.  Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books, 2012.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

“Into the Pumpkin” by Linda Franklin

Age: Picture Book (3 years and up)
Genre: Fiction, Halloween

The whirl of the witch,
With whimsical flight,
Is mailing out invites
Of spooky delights.

Linda Franklin’s picture book, “Into the Pumpkin,” invites the reader to a Halloween he or she has never seen before. The reader will see ghosts, witches, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and other typical Halloween characters as they gather together for a party. The author uses rhyme to describe each ghoul and ghost and provides spooky illustrations. The pictures may, in fact, be too spooky for some young readers. I can imagine a very different book, one that would be less scary for younger readers, if it had more cartoonish illustrations. I’m not sure why the author chose to use the style of artwork that she did as it is quite creepy, with bony, reaching fingers and a mist hanging over most of the pictures. However, the book reads well and children may enjoy the rhyming style.

Bibliographic Information:
Franklin, Linda. Into the Pumpkin.  Atlgen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2012.