In After Ever After…we get Jeffrey’s side of the story. Jeffrey is through his chemotherapy…
The treatment lasted almost three years, and it was rough. I lost all my hair, which used to be blond and curly and really cool. When it grew back in, it was brown and straight and really dorky….I don’t remember most of the details, but I know that being treated for leukemia was torture.
The funny thing is, the treatment is nothing compared to what happens after you’re “cured.” And that’s the most annoying thing in the world: They tell you how lucky you are to be cured, like you’ve escaped a death sentence. But being a cancer survivor can be a life sentence all its own.
…now he’s “that kid who had cancer.” As his mom asks on the way home from the last hospital trip “What do we do now?” For Jeffrey, that’s a really, really hard question. This is his story about what it’s like to move on after such an experience.
Jeffrey is irreverant, that means he likes to mock things, even cancer. He’s funny, but most of all, he’s brutally honest. I liked him right away and I liked the way he spoke upfront about his feelings and about what it’s like to be “that kid who had cancer.” I liked seeing how Jeffrey’s illness effected everyone in his family and all of his friends. Most of all, I liked Jeffrey attitude that life has stuff happen in it. You have to deal with it and move on. Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Manhattan born Penny finds herself transplanted for the summer to tiny Hog’s Hollow, New York right before her Freshman year. This is the Hog’s Hollow where they actually crown a Hog Queen. Penny figures she’ll just lay low and wait it out. At the end of the summer she’ll return to her friends and her real life in Manhattan.
But Penny’s mom has a different plan. She decides to stay in Hog’s Hollow and open up a bakery, which puts Penny’s Freshman year at Hog’s Hollow High School. It also makes Penny wonder about her family. Her Dad is still in New York. How is this going to work?
…I kept thinking about what my dad had said. Everything was going to be fine. And I realized maybe that’s all we can hope for from life: fine. Not happy, not good, but just fine. And in my case “fine” is an acronym for Freakin’ Irrational Nightmare Existence.
When Penny helps her mom deliver cupcakes to the birthday party of the most popular girl in Hog’s Hollow, she is witness to a mishap involving the refreshment table and the birthday girl, who happens to be standing next to it.
She ends up wearing a dozen or more cupcakes like a hat while half a dozen more slide slowly down the front of her dress.
Miss Popular decides to blame Penny and is determined to make Penny’s life at school living misery. One prank after another leaves Penny felling humiliated, angry and lonely. Enter Tally, an independent free-spirit who cooks up a plan to exact some justice for all the humiliation Penny has endured. “Trust me,” she says. Penny does, and this begins a friendship that just might save Penny from her Freakin’ Irrational Nightmare Existence. And the cute guy on the beach with the dog named Sam, he might help too.
This is a great story about a kid negotiating changes in life that are beyond her control and coming to grips with how she is going to react to those changes. Sometimes grownups make choices, and the kids just have to deal with it. Penny’s friend Tally brings self-confidence and comedy to an otherwise difficult situation. Tally brings the idea of possibilities to Penny. Penny is so focused on the things she has lost, she almost misses some wonderful things that are right in front of her face… like new friends and the cute guy on the beach with the dog named Sam. Author: Heather Hepler
This one gets two thumbs up from blog commenter Foo: If you like stories about romance and friendship and school drama you should totally check out “The Cupcake Queen” or “Forget me not.” They are both very good.
If you like The Cupcake Queen here are some more books about kids like Penny who face the changes that happen in their lives with a little anger, a little anxiety, a little humor and with some good friends…just like in real life.
Tyler lives on a dairy farm in Vermont. When his dad is injured in a tractor accident the family can no longer keep up with the work. Tyler’s dad decides to hire migrant workers to save the farm from foreclosure. (A migrant worker is a worker that travels from place to place getting work on farms harvesting crops that are in season. In the US, migrant workers are often from Mexico.)
The Cruz family moves to the farm and the men begin working on the farm. The kids go to Tyler’s school. One girl, Mari, is in Tyler’s class. The two kids find that they have a lot in common, mostly, worrying about their families.
When Tyler discovers that the Cruz’s are undocumented workers, he’s confused. Would his dad do something illegal? What is so illegal about the Cruz’s working to help out his family? When the authorities raid the farm and take the Cruz men to jail, Tyler is as confused as ever. He and his family have spent a year building a friendship with Mari and her family and the rules don’t make any sense. The Cruz’s definitey don’t belong in jail, but where do they belong? Should they stay, or do they have to go? If they go, what will happen to the farm?
This is a really personal look at the life of migrant families and the choices and dangers they face. I really liked Meeting Mari and her family. She helped me understand what would motivate a family to risk living in the US illegally. Author: Julia Alvarez; Award: Pura Belpre Author Award 2010
Listen to Julia Alvarez Read from Return to Sender
Isabella is Jamie’s BFF. If you’ve read any of the other Dear Dumb Diary books you already know this. You also know that Angeline is NOT Jamie’s BFF.
Now, Jamie’s Aunt has gone and done something that’s really wrecked Jamie’s neatly ordered social life. Jamie’s Aunt Carol married Angeline’s Uncle Dan. Now, they are sort of related. Jamie is not very happy about this new “automoatic” friendship. She still doesn’t like Angeline but they are now thrown together at family events and expected to be friends.
Jamie tries to talk to Isabella about this, you know, get a little BFF sympathy, but Isabella thinks Angeline isn’t that bad and they should all be friends. Jamie is having none of that because…there are only TWO Fs in BFF.
“If you get too many Fs, it doesn’t look like Best Friends Forever anymore. It looks like you’re trying to spell the sound a fart makes. Observe: BFFFFFFFFFF.”
More laugh outloud funny diary entries from the one and only Jamie Kelly. If you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, give these a try. Author: Jim Benton
Dit Sims lives in tiny Moundville, Alabama in 1917. He’s got nine brothers and sisters and his Dad routinely forgets his name. It’s summer, it’s hot and Dit’s best friend is away for the summer. When he finds out that a new postmaster is coming to town, Dit hopes the new postmaster, Mr. Walker, has a son close to his age that will want to go fishing and play baseball.
The postmaster comes, and Dit is disappointed to learn that he doesn’t bring a son, he brings prissy, brainiac Emma who always has her nose in a book and doesn’t know one thing about baseball. Dit’s town is disappointed to learn that the Walkers are African-American.
Dit’s family welcomes the Walkers and the two families slowly build a relationaship sharing chores and helping out when family members are sick. Dit and Emma start building a friendship too. Dit teaches Emma how to throw and hit a baseball. Emma helps Dit with math and introduces him to exciting adventure books like Treasure Island. Slowly, over the summer, the two kids become best friends.
Some people in Dit’s town don’t welcome the Walkers, especially the town sheriff. Some people object to Dit and Emma’s friendship, even object to the Walkers living in Moundville at all. When the two kids witness a racially motivated shooting and realize their friend, the town’s black barber, is unjustly blamed and sentenced to hang, they secretly come up with a daring plan to save him.
This story brings the injustice and horrors of racial bigotry to life. It’s a story about friendship between people and how that friendship is stronger than the forces around it that try to tear it apart. Two thumbs up historical fiction. Author: Kristin Levine