Saturday, February 25, 2017

Come Back

     Here is a picture of pain, unlike that of any I have read before. Written from a deep place of personal experience, Rudy Wiebe weaves together the narrative of Hal Wiens, a retired professor mourning the passing of his wife. As the story opens, a new facet of grief is revealed: Rudy Wiebe follows Hal on a journey of reopening old wounds, processing buried grief, and coming to terms with anger and pain as a result of the loss of his son by suicide some twenty-five years earlier.


Cover image for Come Back     For there to be great impact and influence, there often seems to be a call for a great amount of pain. This offers the opportunity for rejection of both the pain and the influence altogether, of which denial in grief is a clear indicator. Through writing this novel, Rudy Wiebe has taken hold of the influence through the pain; he has written through his denial, his anger, his stages of grief, to bring an account of these things. Through his initial rejection of the pain and the influence, this book welcomes the possibility of both. Rather than hiding behind the secrets of the experience, Wiebe has taken the time to offer what he may for anyone willing to understand, trying to understand, or needing to understand for their own sake.

     I would not venture to say that this book would help anyone with a similar experience, although it could. I would not even say that it is a healthy outlook, or a helpful one, although it may help somehow. Come Back offers insight into a very dark, twisted and painful place where many people would not allow themselves to go. The poetic illustration of agony is masterful, impactful, and influential to the last page. Each word seems chosen with great care, especially in the dialogue, which flows so roughly, so like actual speech in the day-to-day. Wading through grief is violent, graphic, and in Wiebe's raw and real way, it took my breath away at times. This is not an easy read, but I would say a worthy one.

--Elise--

     For more information on Come Back by Rudy Wiebe, visit our website here.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mice of the Round Table


Camelot is in trouble again, and one little mouse must find a way to save the great city.

   The myths of King Arthur, the Sword in the Stone and Camelot have been retold countless times, in varying formats and styles. In fact there's a new Hollywood take set to come out this year. It's the timelessness of the rise of the ordinary to the extraordinary adventure that carries this story through the centuries to capture imaginations old and young. I know I love it. It's part of what drew me to this juvenile fiction by debut author Julie Leung.

   Young Calib is a mouse of Camelot, training to become a knight. These mice have been tasked by Merlin to protect the castle from smaller intrusions while in turn the castle provides them with protection from the elements and bigger predators. When tragedy strikes, dark forces begin arising around them, and Calib must find a way to unite all the creatures before it's too late.

   Leung has crafted an endearing tale of bravery and working together for children (and adults) to enjoy. The story is great, the characters are engaging and there is a great moral for all to learn. She crafts this neat dynamic between the humans and the mice without trying to make them a large part of each other. Now this isn't Narnia. They don't communicate, but the two stories intermingle in neat ways. Told from two points of view, the story moves between Calib and the page Galahad, the absent Sir Lancelot's son. Both have to struggle to feel acceptance in their world, and to overcome their fears to save the kingdom.

    A new tail of Camelot, this is a great addition to the library of any knight/animal loving child, with just enough magic to spark joy; without the story being held together by it.

  --Lauryssa--

For more info, check out our website here, or come in store.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Glass Arrow



     "Females are scarce. Hunted.
      And Aya's luck is about to run out."

      Dystopian fiction is all the rage now, and personally I don't get it. Then I found this book.Oh boy, did it rock my socks.
     The cover is a bit deceptive, as it looks more like fantasy than dystopian. However, the heart of the book is very much on point. This is a world where females are treated as cattle again. Their numbers are kept at a certain level and those that are allowed to live are bought and sold as "wives" in the hopes that they'll produce a son for their master. Some get lucky and become forever wives, but most end up back in the system until their used up and dumped in the red light district to die. 
      Aya is lucky, her mother escaped the city before she was born and hid in the mountains, building a little family with a few other runaways. But then the hunters begin venturing deeper into the wild, and she is caught for the auction. She's all the family has left to protect them. She needs to get back, somehow.
       This book hits all the marks of the dystopian novel, and then decides to trash most of them. You have the broken world brought about by destructive past events and a girl who is trying to survive under the corrupt system's eye. But the similarities end there. There's no drawn out drama of a battle, there's no annoying love triangle that feels contrived. It's a story of survival and family, and it tells this beautifully in one book. The story is not rushed, the description is enough to leave the imagination room to wonder and the characters are well rounded and intriguing. Kristen Simmons did an excellent job.
        If your teen (or you) are looking for a new read, look no further.

--Lauryssa--

For more info check out our website here or come in store.