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The Hired Girl – Laura Amy Schlitz, Newberry medal winner


Ruled by a brutal father and brothers and missing her dead mother, 14-year-old Joan Skraggs runs away from her family’s Pennsylvania farm, makes her way to Baltimore, and is rescued from a park bench by a well-dressed young man. She presents herself as Janet Lovelace, age 18, and becomes “the hired girl,” a servant to the Rosenbachs — a prosperous Jewish family who own a department store. Janet keeps a diary, and the reader quickly gleans that her notions of life come from three books: “Jane Eyre,” “Dombey and Son” and “Ivanhoe.” “I plan to go on as bravely as a heroine in a novel,” she writes. “In my new life I’m not going to be vulgar. Even though I’m going to be a servant I’m going to cultivate my finer feelings. I will better myself and write with truth and refinement.”

Janet, the book implies, may one day be an author. But first, she has to scrub floors, beat carpets, iron sheets and wash dishes while keeping kashrut. She’s a tough and determined protagonist, but also impulsive, a bit of a meddler and an irrepressible romantic hungry for an education.  A very enjoyable read giving an insight into jewish customs and ways

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Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland


This is a roller coaster ride of a book, lots of raw emotion  This is a teen read that is real, there are so many references to some of the latest apps and current trends, and it was really nice to see an author use and embrace these things, rather than attempt to create a whole new world for the characters. Henry and Grace are very emotional characters and even though Grace seems to be broken beyond repair, everyone who has hope can be put back together again.

A romantic, sad book that is well worth reading

 

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Holding up the universe – Jennifer Niven


This is a fantastic read about teens,relationships, friendships and anxiety.

Libby Strout has been hiding all her life, but now she is ready to face the world again .

After a huge trauma in her life she has the strength to face her first year at high school, she will cope with all the stares and drama that will go with that

This book is beautifully written and the

Then she meets Jack and their worlds collide, “because sometimes when you meet someone, the whole universe just comes into focus”

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The Marble collector – By Cecelia Ahern


The Marble Collector is a thought-provoking novel about family and how the most ordinary decisions we make, can have the most extraordinary consequences for how we live our lives. Also how sometimes it’s only by shining a light on someone else, that you can truly understand yourself.

This is a story of a tough Irish family and how the game of marbles is some how central to their lives and the journey to adulthood.

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her fathers belongings, her seemingly uneventful life suddenly alters and shifts.

A box of possessions.

A father with no memory.

A daughter with just one day.

To piece together the past.

 

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The Feathered Bone – By Julie Cantrell


The Feathered Bone is a challenging must read that forces us to face our greatest fears and believe in hope despite them.

It is a dark and sad story about 2 young girls who are on a school trip together in New Orleans, when one of them goes missing.

This is also about Amanda, a mother who was also on  the trip who was in charge of the girls and how this tragedy untangles her and her family.

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The time in between – Nancy Tucker


Through her teenage years, in thrall to eating disorders, Nancy Tucker did almost manage to disappear

From the bleak reality of her body breaking down to the electric mental highs of starvation, “The time in between” is poignant and unforgettable: memoir of a young women, now 22, who against all odds insists on soaring.

 

This is a very real and sad insight into a young women’s battle with her anorexia and bulimia nervosa. a sad and true tale of how it destroys not only her own hopes and dreams but also those of her family around her.

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My name’s not Friday – By Jon Walter


A sad story set in the American Civil War dealing with slavery and a young boy Samuel, who is mistakenly sold when he had started life as a free person.

Samuel finds that he has been brought by a white boy who he says “don’t even look as old as I am”, Gerald now claims to own him body and soul and his worth has been set at six hundred dollars.’

Samuel’s an educated boy who has been raised and taught by a priest. He was never supposed to be a slave this makes him keep the knowledge that he can read and write to himself, until the other slaves on the plantation find out and he starts to spread his knowledge of how to read.  Now they don’t call him Samuel. Not anymore. And the sound of guns is getting ever closer…

An extraordinary tale of endurance and hope, a story about the power of belief and the strength of the human spirit, set against the terrifying backdrop of the American Civil War. 7