Friday, November 18, 2016

Lucky review

by Rachel Vail
May 2008

First line: "Our toaster is moody."

Eighth-grader Phoebe Avery has led a charmed life: good looks, good grades, she's friends with the popular set, and her parents make a "comfortable" living that includes designer clothes, their own maid and trips to Europe. She's in the midst of planning a major bash to celebrate her eighth-grade graduation when everything starts crashing down around her ears. Her mother loses her high-powered job, and suddenly, the whole family must economize.

I found Phoebe bratty and difficult to like. What sort of eighth-grader angrily demands to purchase a Vera Wang dress? The first clue that all is not right occurs when Phoebe dramatically throws away the family's broken toaster. Her mother angrily fishes it out of the trash, very out of character. Phoebe, of course, has only been imitating her mother who had recently thrown away a slightly imperfect tea kettle.

What is strikingly real about the book is Phoebe's excruciating self-consciousness. It's painful to read, because it takes you right back to that feeling of being in middle-school, and terrified of not fitting in. As the youngest of three sisters, Phoebe always feels like she's trying to prove herself. Phoebe feels like she's barely holding onto her spot in her social circle, as her best friend Kirstyn insists on taking their big graduation party to greater and greater excess. Poor Phoebe is so distracted with her family's money worries, she can hardly spare a thought for Lucas, a boy at school that she's been interested in.

There's something very, very intense about going through tight times at this age - Phoebe is old enough to understand very clearly exactly what is going on, but young enough to be completely unable to help out, or support herself at all. She's utterly humiliated at the idea of having to shop at thrift stores and can't bear to tell her friends the truth about her reduced circumstances. Many tween readers may get a vicarious thrill out of reading this, knowing that if their own situation mirrors Phoebe's, at least there's a very good chance that they'll handle it with better grace than she does. This is the first in a trilogy.

Compare to:
Everything I Was - Corinne Demas

The Not-So-Great Depression - Amy Koss

Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles - Sabine Durant
The Daughters - Joanna Philbin

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Read in October 2016

Last month I read the following:

1. The Midnight Queen - Sylvia Izzo Hunter

picture credit:  A Quiet Moment, Fernand Toussaint

Friday, November 4, 2016

Election 2016!

In general, I try to avoid getting political in my blog... but I have to say, our library is serving as an Early Voting site and as a polling place on Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 8, and the lines are the longest that I have seen. I've noticed long lines every day! Voter turnout has been truly stupendous. I do think that's great - when everyone votes, the winner is truly the will of the people.

Political circus aside, I know our patrons have been upset by the loss of our meeting room. A lot of our regularly scheduled programs have had to be moved or cancelled in order to accommodate the election. In truth, it is a bit of a hassle, but I don't mind it! It's only once every 4 years, after all!

I know a lot of our staff are getting frustrated by this election as well. It can be tiring to feel like a broken record, answering the same questions over and over again, about voting dates and times and places, about voter registration status and so on as the phone rings off the hook all day. Personally, this is another one that I am not bothered by at all. I'm always glad to help people, and there's nothing more satisfying than answering the phone and immediately being able to spout out the correct answer! (Because it's the 10th person who asked today!)

I've been asked if I enjoy helping people register to vote and in a kidding-not-kidding tone, been asked if I am more eager to help citizens in the "correct" party. Not at all! I pride myself on staying neutral and truly helping everyone. I might inwardly grimace when a rabid supporter of a party I don't care for successfully registers to vote, but you would never guess it from my professional demeanor!

Just a few days more, and this will all be behind us.


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