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Archive for March, 2011

Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s–not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect–can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the police spotlight shining directly on them. And over this family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Emotionally powerful, House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way–and fails those who don’t.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Laugh and love! Novella length, no one’s heard of it and it is my favorite Tolkien. Great adventure, hilarious fairytale/swashbuckler parody, and really, perhaps the best old annoyed-with-the-world dragon ever written, the terrifying and oh so bored, Chrysophylax Dives!

Reviewed by Mrs. Bolden

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This is a deep, spellbinding novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating, controversial, and disturbing periods of American history–the Salem witch trials. Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer researching and preparing for her doctoral dissertation in order to please her faculty mentor, Mr. Chillingworth.  But when her eccentric mother, Grace, asks Connie to help handle the sale of her grandmother’s old house near Salem, Connie can’t refuse.  As she investigates into the mysteries of the abandoned home, she discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible.  The key contains a yellowed fragment of parchment with a name scrawled upon it: Deliverance Dane.  This discovery launches Connie on a quest—to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.    As the pieces of Deliverance’s story fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to understand that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.    Written with conviction and grace, “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” travels seamlessly between the witch trials in the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue and revelation.

Reviewed by Johanna ’12

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Funky, unconventional, sharp and warm, full of great stories of true faith and messy lives. Here’s an example that is all that needs to be said:   “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do. ”

Reviewed by Mrs. Henegar

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By far the best book I have ever read,  this book inspired me to be adventurous and never hold anything back.  It is the well written story of four sisters, their dad, and their unforgettable hound during their summer vacation in Massachusetts.  It describes the funny, memorable, and thrilling adventures they endured that summer.  This book includes many ups and downs while taking your mind on the thrill of a lifetime!

Reviewed by Susanna L ’16

*Note, this book won the National Book Award for Young Adult Literature in 2005.

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If you’ve seen the movie, Julie and Julia, you will love this book!  Written by Julia Child and her nephew, Alex Prud’Homme, My Life in France is the first person account of Julia Child’s experience in France as she developed her love of cooking, particularly French cuisine. This book is more than Julia’s account of her cooking classes.  Her use of French expressions to describe her travels, her new friends, and recipes makes me very jealous of everyone who has some knowledge of French!

Gracieux!  I am calling or texting my son (who had 5 years of French) every other day to explain to me the nuances or humor of the next new French expression I discover as I read.  Besides that, you history buffs out there will be enthralled by the descriptions of life in France after World War II: the politics, the deprivation, the culture!  If you are interested in a career with the Foreign Service office or in international relations this is also the book for you.  Julia’s husband, Paul Child, was stationed in France with the US Information Service, thus, her life there.  He was also a very skilled photographer and artist and many of his photographs enhance the pages of the book.

And, I didn’t even mention Julia’s descriptions of the food!  Mouth watering! The best news is that you will have the most delightful gastronomical experience without a worry about caloric intake.

Cieux!  I’ve read so much about life in France and discovered so many interesting French expressions that I almost feel like I could speak French, if I only knew what I was saying! Tant pis!  Perhaps, one of you Francophiles will read this book and be able to help me enjoy it even more!

Reviewed by Mrs. Milazzo

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By far the best book I have read in a long, long time, this is the true story of Louie Zamperini, a man I had honestly never heard of, but who I now will never forget. Some history buffs may remember Louie as a track star–he set many world records and even ran in the Berlin Olympics as Hitler looked on, but when Louie enlisted in the US Air Force at the start of World World II, his story really began. Think Odysseus meets Survivor… as Louie’s plane goes down in the Pacific, his amazing story will take you places and expose a side of history that you probably never knew existed. This masterfully written book will be one that you absolutely can’t put down. A definite must read for Upper School and adult readers!

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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