Even though we know intellectually that life is temporary and that death can come at any time to us or to those around us, we tend to have certain expectations about how our lives should play out. Parents and siblings, for example, are supposed to be there to watch us grow up, get married, and bounce our kids on their knees, not be ripped away from us tragically, leaving us alone in the world.
This was 17-year-old Mia’s mindset, too, until a traffic accident claimed her parents and her brother and left her battered body in a coma. Gayle Forman's “If I Stay” tells the story of how Mia's life is suddenly torn from her, leaving her hovering between worlds. Read More >
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, first published in 1960. It is the only novel written by Alabaman Nelle Harper Lee, and achieved such success that it was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 and led to Lee’s receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” begins innocuously enough as a coming-of-age story told by a little girl named Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout. It is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the early 1930s. The book revolves around the lives of Scout, her older brother Jem, and their lawyer father Atticus. The title is drawn from Atticus’s instruction upon giving his children air rifles: “Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” As he explains that mockingbirds hurt no one and bring only joy to those around them, the concepts of prejudice, justice, and innocence emerge as the principal themes.
One of the most popular and enduring plots in the history of romantic comedy goes something like this: Boy meets girl via letter; boy and girl don't know each other's real identities; hilarity (and, eventually, romance) ensues. The best-known modern version is the 1998 film "You've Got Mail," which traces its pedigree back through Broadway's "She Loves Me" (1963) and Hollywood's "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949) and "The Shop around the Corner" (1940), to a 1937 Hungarian play called "Parfumerie."
On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.
So begins the story of Sophie, the plucky, clever, brave, vulnerable heroine of “Rooftoppers”by Katherine Rundell. Sophie is found by Charles Maxim, a survivor of the same shipwreck, and he names her, takes her in, and raises her in his own eccentric way. Their love for each other is true and fierce and beautiful, even if their life is delightfully messy.
Sophie adamantly believes her mother also survived the shipwreck despite all of the adults in her life, even Charles, telling her it is almost impossible. Sophie clings to the almost and insists that if her mother’s survival is only almost impossible, than it is still possible. When she reaches the age of 12 and the British government decides it is no longer appropriate for Charles to raise her on his own, the two flee to Paris to look for Sophie’s mother with the help of a single clue: the address of the shop Sophie’s cello case came from. Read More >
Navigating the teenage years is hard. It’s especially hard for 15-year-old Josie Sheridan, who consistently finds herself caught between worlds that clash: high school and college, boyfriends and break-ups, and family and friends. How does Josie handle the war between worlds? She attempts to assimilate into whatever group she finds herself in at the time. “Love and Other Foreign Words” by Erin McCahan chronicles Josie’s discovery of the worlds around her, and finally, her discovery of a world of her own.
Josie has an impressive IQ—so impressive that she is dual-enrolling in college and high school classes by the time she is a freshman in high school. Josie’s intellect doesn’t simply manifest itself in her grades; it fuels a wry sense of humor that often gets a stern look from her parents, and a laugh from the reader. Most importantly, Josie uses her intellect to help her translate the various languages she encounters in each of the groups. Read More >
As you may recall, we were going to cover E. K. Johnston's "The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim" for our Summer Reading Challenge, but then changed our minds over content issues. However, we went ahead and did a podcast on it anyway! (Call it an auxiliary podcast.) Click here to hear our discussion about some ways that families can handle YA books like "Owen" that present particular spiritual and moral challenges.
“Grandmaster” is the latest of David Klass’s entries in the youth fiction genre. Leaving behind the usual environmental theme and breakneck pacing of his young adult fantasies, Klass here uses a father-son bonding story to explore more personal issues—in particular, the capacity we have to make choices for balance and relational health, despite internal and external pressures that fight to derail such choices.
The book’s narrator, Daniel Pratzer, is a likeable character. A freshman in high school, he is honest, self-aware, mature, and actively desirous of further maturity. He is academically and athletically average, mildly witty, and self-effacing, has no looming identity crises, and is respectful of both peers and adults. In short, Daniel is refreshingly normal for a fictional narrator. Read More >
"In Newworld," says Maggie, the narrator of Robin McKinley's "Shadows," "where we're all about science and you stop reading fairy tales about the time you learn to read . . . being afraid of shadows was silly and pathetic."
But she can't help being afraid of them. The first time she met Val, her stepfather-to-be, Maggie instantly noticed that he was surrounded by shadows -- shadows that weren't cast by anything, shadows that moved on their own. Now his presence fills her with dread and hatred.
But Maggie's world -- her science-oriented, anti-magic world -- is about to be turned upside down. And she's going to need Val, and his shadows, just to survive. Read More >
Note: A link on this page does not constitute an endorsement from BreakPoint. It simply means that we thought that the linked news item or opinion piece would be of interest to Christian parents of teens and preteens.