Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First Light by Rebecca Stead

first light So I finally got around to reading First Light, and I really enjoyed it!  It’s funny because I recently read a young adult book called Ice by Sarah Beth Durst that is also set in the Arctic, and the descriptions in Durst’s book were so beautiful that at first I kind of missed that in First Light, but the excitement of the two stories doesn’t compare.  First Light is told in the alternating voices of Peter, a 12-year-old boy growing up in New York who’s about to go with his parents on an expedition to Greenland (his father is a glaciologist); and Thea who lives in a hidden world under the ice in Greenland, her people driven there generations ago by the English, who accused them of being witches.  Of course you know these two are destined to meet.  Peter’s mother has been hiding something from him for years, with her mysterious red notebook that she writes fanatically in whenever she has one of her “headaches,” and the whispered conversations with Peter’s father about searching for something in Greenland.  Both stories are engaging and suspenseful, and the world that Stead creates under the ice is fascinating. Review by Stacy Church

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Cats of Roxville Station by Jean Craighead George

cats If you go for a walk at dusk in our neighboring town of Holliston, and you pass an old depot, you might not notice any animals there.  But if you stop, and become very still, and search carefully, all of a sudden you will see what looks like a pair of ears sticking up.  Then, you will discover a head and a very sleek body attached to them.  As soon as you have spotted one cat, your eyes will reveal to you the shapes of many cats just sitting quietly in the area of the old depot.  When I spotted the large group of feral cats for the first time, I wondered how they all lived together and survived on their own.  Then I read The Cats of Roxville Station, which is the story of a hungry kitten named Rachet who arrives at Roxville and joins the group of wild cats living at the train station.  It is beautifully written and gives us insight into the world of feral cats, which live together in small areas and have to fight for their survival every day.  We are introduced to 14-year-old Mike who lives in a foster home not far from the train station.  He watches the arrival of Rachet, and he sets his heart on befriending her to help her survive the severe winter.  The Cats of Roxville Station is a well-written book about the complex society of cats and a wonderful story of the special bond between a young boy and a young cat.  Review by Trudy Walsh