Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly feature put on by La La in the Library. It is where we discuss what we are reading and why. Check out her blog and tell her; she really wants to know!
I am reading Freak the Mighty with a 6th grader at the school I work at. The Amateurs is an advanced ebook thanks to NetGalley.
What I just finished Reading
On Saturday, I drove a little over three hours to go to Minnesota’s Twin Cities Book Festival. This was my first year at the festival and I loved the coziness and smallness of it. Sometimes, book festivals can be a bit overwhelming. I knew I had to go when I saw that Kathleen Glasgow, Lara Avery, A.S. King, and Katharine McGee where going to be there.
Ms. Glasgow is the author of my favorite book I have read this year, Girl in Pieces. Lara Avery is the author of the heartbreaking, The Memory Book and A.S. King is the author of many books but her latest is Still Life with Tornado. I have read and reviewed these books previously on my blog. Ms. McGee is the author of The Thousandth Floor. I purchased her book this weekend and can’t wait to start it. I have heard amazing things.
I had such an amazing time! I got there a little early which paid off because I started up a conversation with Kathleen Glasgow and Lara Avery. They were both so lovely! I had been tweeting with Kathleen and Katharine about my three hour road trip and they were so amazed at how far I had come to see them, that Katharine offered me a t-shirt and Kathleen gave me the last Girl in Pieces bracelet she had off of her wrist!
Here is the author panel. Kathleen Glasgow talked about how the age of girls self-harming themselves is shockingly getting younger and younger. She had talked to a school nurse at an elementary school and there were third grade girls that showed evidence of harming themselves. I asked her why she thought this was happening and she said cell phones and social media. Girls are looking at pictures that make them feel not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough. There were also some great discussions about diversity in book characters and authors.
The authors wrote lovely things in my books too!
I will definitely be going back next year. I also met a new blogger friend. To visit her blog, click here.
Here are my reviews of Girl in Pieces & The Memory Book
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! This book was hauntingly beautiful from page 1 to page 400. In fact, this book was so good that I am afraid this review will not do it justice.
Charlotte who goes by Charlie is a seventeen year old girl who has had a rough start. She has seen and experienced a lot of bad stuff in her short life and the only way she feels she can escape from that pain is to create a different sort of pain through cutting herself. Charlie ends up in a group psychiatric hospital ward where she finally feels safe from the people she was hiding from. There are some interesting nurses, doctors and patients she interacts with that help her realize that she is worth saving. When she is discharged, Charlie moves from Minnesota to Arizona to start a new life but when she gets there it is not as easy as she thought to stay away from old habits. Charlie meets Riley West, a musician , fighting his own demons. They hit it off right away because of their shared painful pasts. However, Charlie realizes that maybe becoming Riley’s friend isn’t the best thing for her recovery.
The author weaves Charlie’s story together beautifully through out the book. We get bits and pieces of her past to help us understand her hurt and anxiety. The descriptions of Charlie’s struggles are sometimes so heartbreaking it is hard to read. For example, “When the door closes, I turn off all the lights and curl up in the bathtub in a very tight ball. I imagine myself inside an egg, a metal egg, impenetrable, locked on the outside, ANYTHING to keep myself from crawling to my kit…” (Charlie’s kit contains glass to cut herself with). Though it may seem Charlie is weak, she is actually a very strong character. She is only 17 throughout most of the book and has to survive on her own in a strange city. Charlie works hard to transform herself and to put the pieces of her life back together.
Working with teens everyday, I know cutting is a problem. It is called NSSI (Non-Suicidal Self-Injury). It can be triggered by a variety of reasons, stress, anxiety, bullying, abuse, feelings of worthlessness. Girl in Pieces does an amazing job showing us how sad and lonely self-harming can be. The author writes from her own experience which she talks about at the end of the book. Ms. Glasgow says, “Self-harm is not a grab for attention. It doesn’t mean you are suicidal. It means you are struggling to get out of a very dangerous mess in your mind and heart and this is your coping mechanism. It means that you occupy a small space in the very real and very large canyon of people who suffer from depression and mental illness.”
THE CONCEPT OF THIS BOOK REALLY INTRIGUED ME. THE MAIN CHARACTER, SAMMIE, HAS A DISEASE, NEIMANN PICK TYPE C, THAT AFFECTS HER MIND AND BODY. SHE IS SLOWLY STARTING TO FORGET THINGS AND IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO FIGHT IT BECAUSE SHE PLANS TO GO TO COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL IN NEW YORK. TO HELP HERSELF REMEMBER THINGS THAT SHE MAY FORGET IN THE FUTURE, WHICH INCLUDES HERSELF, HER FAMILY, AND HER FRIENDS, SHE STARTS A JOURNAL TO HER FUTURE SELF. SHE WRITES IN A JOURNAL, HER MEMORY BOOK, ABOUT HER FAMILY, FRIENDS, SCHOOL, BOYFRIEND, AND THE STRUGGLES THAT GO ALONG WITH THOSE RELATIONSHIPS. I LOOKED UP THIS DISEASE TO SEE IF IT WAS A REAL THING AND UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS. IN FACT, I THINK NEIMANN PICK DISEASE IS WORSE IN REAL LIFE THAN DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK WHICH MAKES SENSE SINCE THE STORY IS FICTIONAL AND NEEDED TO BE COMPRESSED FOR BOOK PURPOSES. HOWEVER, MS. AVERY DOES A PHENOMENAL JOB OF SHOWING US THROUGH THE STORY (SAMMIE’S JOURNAL) HOW SAMMIE BEGINS TO DETERIORATE. HER FUTURE IS SO PROMISING AND SHE STARTS TO REALIZE IT PROBABLY WON’T HAPPEN. IT IS HEARTBREAKING TO READ AND SHARE IN SAMMIE’S REALIZATION OF THIS. THE MEMORY BOOK BOOK PULLS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS AND DEFINITELY MADE ME WANT TO HUG MY KIDS MORE.
This post is linked up with The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.