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Island Parent Magazine

C

onfession time: I am a 41-year-old woman who loves to read YA books (I Googled this phenomenon and found out 51 per cent of YA readers are adults, so apparently I’m not alone). So as you’d expect, I jumped at the opportunity to read Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer. The book’s title grabbed my attention immediately, as did the chapter titles, each one named after one of the band’s famous songs—a nice touch, one of many that invoke Kurt Cobain, Nirvana and all the songs. That said, you don’t need to be a huge Nirvana fan to read this novel even though it is filled with references. Personally, I didn’t grow up obsessed with this particular band, but I certainly understand that level of obsession (Did anyone else decorate the walls of their bedroom with photos of movie stars ripped out of Teen Beat magazine?). My very real warning to you is this: don’t read this book when your to-do list is already a mile-long because you won’t get anything done. This book is unputdownable—I devoured it page by page. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is “just” a YA novel. Even with its quirky narrative, it’s a beautifully written book with a truly sad undertone that goes far beyond a simple story. – Jennifer Roberts-Hall

ocal Victoria author Sara Cassidy has written six books for young readers. Her novel Double Play was selected for the Junior Library Guild. She also won a National Magazine Award (Gold) for a feature about new urbanism in Today’s Parent. In her latest novel, A Boy Named Queen, Evelyn is intrigued by the new boy in her grade 5 class named Queen. She is the only student who is kind to Queen, telling him to ignore the mean kids in their class and becomes his friend. Queen has a unique way of dealing with mean kids. He puts up a force field around himself so that the things that kids say or even think will bounce off it. When Evelyn attends Queen’s birthday party, she gets to know the real Queen including the history of his peculiar name. She also learns what makes his family unique. I love how Cassidy gives the reader insight into the characters’ personalities through their rituals and mannerisms. Evelyn’s yearly routine of buying shoes with her mom for back to school is “as sure as Christmas.” Cassidy’s use of similes aids the reader’s ability to visualize the characters. The soles of the running shoes Evelyn chooses “are like licorice instead of breadboards.” Another one of my favourite similes is when Evelyn’s father breaks up crackers to put in his tomato soup, so they “float like icebergs on a red sea.” My five-year-old daughter enjoyed the book just as much as I did and was excited to add this book to our collection. Even though there were no pictures, she was easily able to imagine the characters and their families. We enjoyed getting to be part of Evelyn’s and Queen’s world. – Serena Beck

Island Parent December 2016  

Gift & Book Recommendations

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