The Girl In Between broke my heart

32739853There are a lot of things in life that are sad, things that can break your heart.  The Girl In Between by Sarah Carroll is a book that is sad in so many different ways and broke my heart.  The story depicts life on the street and on the move for a young girl and her mother from the eyes of the young girl.

Life is good when the girl and her Ma live with grandma, but Ma doesn’t want to stay there, so they move out.  They don’t have any money and nowhere to go.  Ma is a drug addict and promises the girl she will stop the drugs and drinking and take care of her.  But Ma doesn’t keep her promise.  She forgets to feed the girl, she takes her daughter to scary places where drug dealers live and she doesn’t take her to school.

They end up on the streets until moving into an abandoned old mill they call The Castle.  The castle that Ma has promised the girl they would live in some day.  The girl explores the Castle, drawing on the walls, and from the roof, spies on the people walking by.  The girl must be vigilant to remain invisible from the outside world.  She can’t leave the Castle but can only let the Caretaker see her.

The girl thinks the mill is haunted and tries to lure the ghost out into the open.  She learns about the ghost from the Caretaker, who is struggling against his past and grief to leave the mill after forty-seven years.

The girl doesn’t want the Authorities to see her because they could take her away from Ma.  Now, the Authorities have come to the Castle, but not for her. They have come to take her Castle away leaving Ma and her with nowhere to live.  There are flashbacks intermixed in the story that slowly brings everything together ending with a shocking revelation.

The Girl In Between shines a spotlight on addiction, parenting on the streets, the relationship between a mother and a daughter and how drugs can make someone selfish.  No child should live on the streets and this book shows what it’s like for some of the children living on the street.  This is a very sad story.

Book Description:
I know the mill has a story cos there’s something strange going on. I heard something. I’ve decided that I’m going to find out what it is later today when Ma leaves. Cos even if it is scary, we live here and we’re never leaving. So if there’s something going on, I need to know. 

In an old, abandoned mill, a girl and her ma take shelter from their memories of life on the streets. To the girl it’s home, her safe place, the Castle. But as her ma spins out of control and the Authorities move ever closer, the girl finds herself trapped – stuck in the crumbling mill with only the ghosts of the past for company.

Can she move on before it’s too late?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Flora Banks’ motto is Be Brave in the new Emily Barr book

33287077The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr tells the story of Flora, a seventeen year old who suffers with anterograde amnesia. Flora has memories of her childhood but now her brain resets every few hours and she forgets everything after the age of 10. Flora has a book with notes to remind herself who she is and what has happened over the years. It reminds her of who is in her life and what they mean to her.

One night Flora kisses her best friend Paige’s boyfriend, Drake, and the next day she remembers the kiss. This is the first memory her brain has kept since the amnesia took hold.  Drake heads off to Norway to study and Flora is certain the key to “fixing” her is tied to seeing and kissing Drake again. She also thinks she loves him. Flora secretly follows Drake to the very small town in Norway and meets many different characters who help her along the way and shows how a community comes together to help a stranger.

While Flora is traveling to Norway, she has enough notes to remind herself to lie to her parents about where she is as they have gone to Paris to take care of her very ill brother Jacob.  Jacob is a very supportive brother who is very patient and protective of her.  A lot happens to her brother that I will not mention but his story is an interesting addition to Flora’s.  We also find out why Flora has a tattoo on her arm that says “Be brave,” which is her personal motto and keeps her going through the dangerous travel to Norway.

I have read mixed reviews on this book. It seemed like either you liked it or you hated it.  I think the narrative through Flora can put some people off as she repeats herself a lot but that is what her amnesia is all about. As a mother, this book made me think of my daughter. How would I feel if she couldn’t keep a memory for very long? Would she try to go somewhere on her own? Would she be able to cope? What would I do to keep her safe? How far would I go?

I found Flora brave and adventurous. I can understand why she would follow Drake.  Who doesn’t want to be normal and it’s probably frustrating forgetting things and people, even who you are. I didn’t care for Paige who was a selfish, spoiled little brat. Her reactions really showed their age and shows no matter how mature you think you are, there is always room to grow.

This book took me into the mind of someone with amnesia and to get a small glimpse of what that might be like. It made me appreciate my healthy life and my family. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad I read it.

Book Description:
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Miles Arthur is a character young adults will love

MilesArthurcoverMiles Arthur and the Quest for the King’s Scabbard is C.E. Zyburo’s first book.  Mr. Z to his middle school students, believes “education has become so tunnel visioned that children are no longer allowed to explore their creativity.”  According to his Kickstarter campaign, Zyburo will use the book and subsequent series as a platform to promote creativity and literacy for children.

Nothing speaks more to me than a teacher, or any adult who believes in encouraging the creativity and imagination in children.  Books were an important part of my childhood and continue to be a major component in my life.  So anyone who encourages children to read and develop a love of books receives 100% of my support.

Miles Arthur and the Quest for the King’s Scabbard is a very enjoyable story that pulls the reader right next to Miles and his friends as they go on their quest.  Miles is not the strongest kid at his school but his foster Dad, who is a secret service agent/former Navy SEAL is trying to change that.  Miles is required to work out every day and “fight” with his foster brother Kay, who is way stronger than him and is the quarterback of the football team. They live in a fortress of a house called Bedgrayne, which is made of stone and has top-of-the-line security.

Author C.E. Zyburo

Author C.E. Zyburo

Miles likes Gwen and wants to ask her to the State Fair.  But when he trips at school and accidentally kisses Leanie, who likes him, he accepts her invitation instead.  At the State Fair, Leanie goes off with her friends and Miles spots Gwen, who is sitting alone.  They go into the Fun House to get away from Kay and his football friends who are following them.  While hurrying through the maze, Miles and Gwen come out the back end of the Fun House to meet a strange man with a silver beard.  He has an old game called Sword in the Stone.

Just when Miles goes to swing the sledgehammer to the game, Kay grabs it out of his hands and tries the game himself to show Miles how it’s done.  Nothing happens.  The sword doesn’t move.  Miles tries and rings the bell.  Miles hits it over and over and the same thing happens, the sword hits the bell.  This produces the Excalibur that is handed to Miles.  The old man, Merlin, informs Miles that he is King Arthur reincarnated after 1,000 years.  Once Miles has the sword, everything changes in his life.  He has two weeks to find the Scabbard, give it to his foster father to save his father’s life.

Miles isn’t sure he believes Merlin until his father checks out his story going to the fair and there is nothing behind the Fun House where there are only two passages instead of three and none exit to the back of the building.  Miles decides he must find the Scabbard and save his father and Gwen decides to go with him since she knows how to drive.  The night before Miles and Gwen are to head out, all hell breaks loose and there is no turning back or denying who Miles really is.

This is a modern-day fantasy story that will take you on a fun-filled ride.  It reminds me of the Percy Jackson stories where a teenager finds out he/she really isn’t who they think they are and pretty much right away believes they are from another time.  Zyburo does a great job of bringing the reader into the story, making them cheer for Miles to win.  There are plenty of funny parts as Miles is a little clumsy and Baldwin, who also goes on the quest, is a goofy sidekick.  There are exciting parts when the trio are fighting those trying to stop them along the way.  There are also touching moments with Gwen or Guinevere, as they get to know each other better.

If you like Young Adult books and like a little fantasy and adventure, you won’t be disappointed with this one.  It will entertain you and make you lose track of time.  If you have a young adult in your life give this as a gift.  When I wasn’t reading about Miles and his friends, I was itching to get back to joining the story.

Book Description:

Miles Arthur considers himself a lucky kid – he gets three square meals a day, goes to a nice high school, and lives in a mansion. Problem is, no matter what he eats he remains undersized, he has no friends and is picked on at school, and his foster father runs the huge estate where he lives like a boot camp. His foster brother, Kay, is older, stronger, and gets treated like a prince while Miles suffers silently. But soon, the hand of fate seems to start favoring Miles and when one unexpected victory is followed by another, he quickly finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime! Join Miles Arthur on his quest as he encounters dark knights, dragons, and other surprises while also discovering himself.

“There is more magic in this world than you or even I dare to imagine.” – Merlin

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat