New Books Highlight: Seeking Justice
Today I’ve got three very different, and yet not so different, books. Two are realistic, but feature main characters you couldn’t imagine interacting, and the other is a fantasy. What makes all three of them somewhat similar is that all three main characters are on a mission to find answers and set the world right however they can. Along the way, all three characters find that the definition of right and wrong is not all that clear, and their ideas of who is to blame for what went bad in their lives might be a little off, too.
This one is in the running for my favorite book on 2013. If you love John Green, you need this book in your life. James Whitman loves 19th century American poet Walt Whitman, writes poems himself, is suffering from anxiety and depression, and talks to an imaginary pigeon therapist he calls Dr. Bird. His sister, Jorie, recently got kicked out by their abusive parents, whom James calls the Banshee (mom) and the Brute (dad). James is on a mission – in his own depressed, anxious way – to find out what injustice caused Jorie to get expelled from school and kicked out. It’s not that simple, of course, and James has a lot of wrongs in himself that he needs to work out along the way while helping Jorie.
Sneak Peek! “I yawp most mornings to irritate my father, the Brute.”(Text copyright © 2013 by Evan Roskos)
(FYI: “yawp” is a word that Whitman used in his most famous poem, “Song of Myself,” and means, basically, uttering a sound, a release of energy from within himself – http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/whitman/section2.rhtml)
Think of Celia Door as Emily the Strange, but a character in a novel. Something happened to Celia to make her Celia the Dark, and she stomps into her freshman year wearing knee high black combat boots on a mission to right the wrong that was done. She seeks justice like it’s her job. But when she meets Drake, who has secrets and injustices of his own, Celia’s mission is compromised. Drake helps her understand the motives behind what she’s doing, and Celia is forced to choose between following through on what she thought was right and fighting for something bigger, friendship.
Sneak Peek! “At fourteen I turned Dark. Now I’m Celia the Dark. The first day of ninth grade, I walked twenty blocks from my house to Hershey High School in boots so thick, it looked like I grew three inches over the summer.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Karen Finneyfrock)
This is fantasy meets the kind of butt-kicking, justice-serving, right-doing strength you see in characters like Tris Prior (Divergent, Insurgent). Renee de Winter is a cadet training at the elite Academy of Tildor. She must fight hard to retain her spot in the Academy so she can become a soldier and serve her country. Tildor is rife with crime: two warring crime families seek to steal power from the young and inexperienced King, and when one crime boss goes too far, Renee and her friend Alec are thrust into a mission to fight for what’s right. Right and the law, however, are not necessarily one and the same in their corrupt country so their struggle is deep.
Sneak Peek! “Lady Renee de Winter turned her back to the parlor, where her father’s clerk counted gold crowns in to the visitor’s waiting palm. The coins’ melodic ring turned her stomach.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Alex Liddell)