In honor of April being National Poetry Month, I’ve chosen to highlight the William C. Morris Debut Finalist, Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard.
Set in 1982, Alex is a High School Junior at an exclusive boarding school in North Carolina. One drunken night, Alex and his friends make some terrible choices that lead to the accidental drowning of schoolmate Thomas. In an attempt to conceal the nature of the accident, more terrible choices are made. Alex narrates the repercussions of those past events, as his guilt and grief linger in the present.
Miss Dovecott, the object of every students’ fantasies, may be aware that there is more to the story than the boys are letting on. Faced with coming clean and facing the truth, Alex and his friends perpetuate their lies with dire consequences.
Paper Covers Rock is more that a little reminiscent of John Knowles’ classic boarding school/accidental death tale, A Separate Peace. Hubbard cleverly weaves literary references to Moby Dick, the metaphor of all metaphors.
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How to Lead a Life of Crime
After running away from military school, Flick is living in the streets of New York City surviving as a pickpocket. One day a mysterious man approached Flick and offers him an opportunity to get revenge on his father. Flick is offered a spot at the prestigious Mandel Academy, where his father went. Mandel Academy is not your ordinary high school, its students are all varyind degrees of criminals, from pickpockets and prostitutes to serial killers. Flick quickly rises to the top of his class until Mandel throws a curveball at him; his ex-girlfriend Joi enters the Academy and only one of them will survive to graduation.
When I first saw this I was intrigued. The plot sounded interesting and amusing. For some reason I got it into my head that this was going to be more lighthearted than it was and I was surprised how dark and violent it got. Flick was a very interesting character, he is super smart and while he is a thief he has a heart. He wants to avenge his brother’s death by destroying his father, who murdered Jude, and he is also in love with Joi. At Mandel Academy Flick has a hard time accepting that he has two choices: do what Mandel wants and hurt people or fail and be “expelled,” not likeing either choice Flick tries to find a third “spectacular” choice. Joi was another great character, I liked her from the beginning when she is taking care of street children that she finds. She is smart and kind and when she enters Mandel Academy we see a completly different side of her that makes her awesome! Who knew Joi had so many great secrets!
Even though this book was not what I was expecting I was pleasantly surprised. There was tons of action, great characters, and the plot kept me guessing what was going to happen next. There was a lot of violence so this is definintly meant for an older teen audienc. The overall situation of powerful corrupt leaders in out country seemed very plausible and while there may not be a real Mandel Academy, there is probably a very similar school out there. Just to add some more plausibility to this book, when the book was published it was compromised according to the author Kirsten Miller. You can read about it here on her blog or check out the book’s website for more info. I’m not sure how true it is but you can decide for yourself!
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Do you long for the crazy adventures of Georgia Nicolson as much as I do? Well, lament no further. Tallulah Casey is the remedy. Tallulah is Georgia’s younger cousin, and let me tell you all that wackiness runs in the family.
Tallulah is off to the moors of Yorkshire, yes the land of Heathcliff (that’s a Wuthering Heights reference people!!) She’s attending Dother Hall, a performing arts school, for the summer. Kooky locals, cute boys, fabbity fab friends, and an owl named Connie keep our heroine occupied in the country. And don’t fret, cousin Georgia’s comedy mustache is in good hands.
Louise Rennison again earns her title as the reigning Queen of Teen. Tallulah is just as funny as Georgia, but with a bit more compassion and room to mature. Withering Tights is a light-hearted romp you’re sure to enjoy. I’m already looking forward to the second installment in the series, A Midsummer Tights Dream.
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