We are back in the groove. School, homework, reading
assignments, soccer practice, gymnastics, piano lessons, go to bed
early, get up early-we've only been in school one month and it
feels like summer was a million years ago. And I'm the mom; I'm not
even the one going to school.
Give yourself a break; find some time to mellow out and pick up
one of these great books. HIT THE ROAD, by Caroline B. Cooney,
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 11-14.
I can't stop thinking about this book. On the surface, it's a
simple story of a teenager and her grandmother on a terrific
Brittney, who has had her driver's license for only 11 days,
gets roped into driving her 86-year-old grandmother and two of her
grandmother's friends to their 65th class reunion. As if driving on
the highway with old-lady-back-seat-drivers isn't adventurous
enough, the escapades are just beginning. Brittney is on the
cross-country drive of her life and so are her three companions.
First they pick up Florence, then they kidnap Aurelia from her
nursing home, then they fight Aurelia's evil son. And all the
while, Brittney keeps getting calls on her cell phone from Coop,
the boy she has had a crush on for ages. Why does he decide to call
now? And what would her parents say if they knew where she was and
who she was with?
This story is not really about driving three old ladies to their
class reunion; the story is about being old and saying goodbye. The
story is about being a teenager and figuring out your grandmother
wasn't always an old lady and that she has feelings, hopes and
dreams-just like you do. This story is about me and what I can
learn from my 90-year-old Grandma GiGi; it is about you and what
you can learn from your grandmother. PEACHES, by Jodi Lynn
Anderson, HarperCollins, $16.99; ages 13-15.
Murphy, Leeda and Birdie are three totally different
16-year-olds. They have different backgrounds and different kinds
of families. Then summer comes and they find themselves all working
on the same Georgia peach farm.
Birdie is shy but determined to help her dad save the peach
farm. Leeda is Birdie's gorgeous, wealthy cousin who volunteers to
spend the summer at the farm on a whim. And Murphy is the rebel who
has to work on the farm to serve out her community service. At
first, the girls avoid each other, but after a few adventures they
learn to share their differences and they discover their
In the end, the girls learn that friendship can help them
through anything. WHAT IF … EVERYONE KNEW YOUR NAME, by Liz
Ruckdeschel and Sara James, Delacorte Books for Young Readers,
$8.95; age 12-15.
Fifteen-year-old Hayley and her family are moving and Hayley
will be making a fresh start at a new school. Who will her friends
be? What classes will she take? Will she hook up with that cute boy
next door? The choices are all yours.
You determine what happens to Hayley from the moment she walks
out her front door on the first day of school. You get to decide.
At the end of every chapter you have choices. Should Hayley take
the bus? Walk? Get a ride from her dad? Turn the page to your
choice and your choice becomes hers.
This book is so much fun. First, I read the book following the
pages of my choices. Then I read the book following the pages of
different choices. My favorite part was when the end of the chapter
tells you that you didn't make a very good choice and you should go
back to the beginning and start over.
MAXIMUM RIDE: SCHOOL'S OUT FOREVER, by James Patterson, Little,
Brown and Co., $16.99; ages 12 and up.
Fourteen-year-old Max and her friends-turned-family-Fang, Iggy,
Nudge, Gazzy and Angel-are back, and this adventure is bigger and
better than the first book, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.
The Erasers are now smarter, stronger and faster; Max and her
flock must learn to adapt to all the new tricks the Erasers throw
at them. Fang is injured so badly they have to take him to a
hospital. Of course, the doctors figure out he is no ordinary kid
and sure enough, the FBI shows up. Agent Anne talks the kids into
going to her house and she even enrolls them in school. The flock
finds itself happy, comfortable and learning how nice it is to be
normal. But things aren't always as they seem; soon trouble,
betrayal and danger are back.
Max finds love, Iggy finds his parents and Angel's pet dog
learns to speak-really. This book is a page-turning thriller and
the ending is left wide open for more.
Sandi Pedersen is the mom of four and the Web mistress for
See more of Sandi's stories here.
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