Posts Tagged 'michael l printz award winner'

The White Darkness Review

 

 

The White Darkness cover art

The White Darkness cover art

Mccaughrean, Geraldine.  The White Darkness.  New York: HarperTempest.  2005.

384 pages

Q3 – P3 – J – S

Grade 7-12

Symone is a fourteen year old outcast with nearly no friends.  She’s painfully shy and feels trapped inside herself partly because she is hearing impaired and partly her peers are cruel and lack empathy.  When she comes to school and says her dad died Maxine tells Smy’s friend Nats “Don’t worry.  I expect she just imagined it.”  Thats the final straw for Symone.  She, “sealed myself inside.  Laced up the tent so to speak.  Filled the locks with water so that they would freeze.  Thats when Titus and I looked at each other and decided we could do without them, so long as we had each other.” Readers will benefit from reading the postscript first, as mentioned in the authors introduction.  Titled, “Scott of the Antarctic”, Mccaughrean tells the story of Captain Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole in 1910.  It sets a tone of ominous isolation for this tale of adventure driven by madness.  It also helps with an understanding of Sym’s obsession with the Antarctic and her inner love affair with Captain Titus Oates, whom she makes into an imaginary friend of sorts or an inner voice.  He guides her and gives her strength though out her trials is the Antarctic.  Other than Oates (a member of Scott’s expedition) Sym has no one aside from her mother and her eccentric creepo “uncle” Victor.  Sym trusts him and thinks he’s smart.  Perhaps she likes him only for the fact that her supports and encourages her interest in the Arctic and she finds this validating.  Whatever the reason Sym seems blind to the fact that her Uncle has in fact, kidnapped her and taken her on a suicide mission.  Together they travel to seek out Uncle Victor’s obsession and great hypothesis, Symmes Hole, on an Antarctic expedition with the Pengwings tour group.  There they meet the Norwegian film director, Manfred Bruch, and his son Sigurd, who expresses interest in Symone but the whole situation is weird and everyone’s intentions seem hidden.

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Monster Review

Monster cover art

Monster cover art

Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. New York: Harper Teen. 1999.

281 Pages

Q4 – P4 – J – S

 Grades 7-12

 

Monster thrusts the reader into the high stakes action of the story in the first pages: Steve Harmon is black, in prison while he awaits his murder trail, and to cope with the surreal horrific scenes that have become his life he has decided to write down everything that happens in the form of a screen play. The result is a fast pace but introspective courtroom drama that reads like an episode of Law & Order. If convicted Steve could spend the rest of his life prison, a place of extreme violence, or even receive the death penalty. These stakes are particularly high as Steve is only sixteen.
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The First Part Last Review

 

The First Part Last cover art

The First Part Last cover art

 

Johnson, Angela.  The First Part Last.   New York: Simon & Schuster.  2003.

Grades 8-12

144 Pages

Q4 – P3 – J – S

If Spike Lee ever made a movie of Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last it would be called Do the Right Thing 2.  The book documents 16 year old Bobby’s life before and after his girlfriend Nia becomes pregnant and gives birth to their daughter Feather.  They struggle with everything from telling their parents and their friends to parental pressure to give the baby up for adoption.  What’s the right thing to do?
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