Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
If at seventeen years old you've already experienced love, pot, and rock and roll on a hippy commune, what is left to be discovered? Life off the beaten path, buttressed by a liberal upbringing, have prepared our heroine, Hope, for a close encounter in a coming-of-age story that explores emotional territory in seldom charted waters. Hope is bundled off to New York City for the summer to live with her older sister, Joy. Their parents are off to Thailand to build a school based on their organic farm-based tenets where both girls were educated in a home-school environment. Joy has turned out to be less than joyful. Motivated to find a less combative environment, Hope leaves her sister's apartment in Brooklyn to live and work several blocks away as a nanny for a lesbian couple whom she has befriended. Blended into her new life is a new girlfriend. The girlfriend and Hope fall in love, and Hope must decide whether or not to take a chance on this new relationship. This book is the second installment in the "Orca Soundings" series and it handles a difficult subject with humor and credibility, providing an insightful and thoughtful look at same-sex female relationships, an important resource for an audience whose options are often limited. This book would be a good addition to a high school class on human relationships or on teenage sociology, sexuality, and/or psychology.
Hope explores New York City with her older sister while their parents spend two months in Thailand. Hope really misses her loving, hippie parents, and living with her mean sister makes her miss them even more. On the plane to New York, Hope befriends a woman with infant twins. She learns her new friend is a lesbian and lives with her partner in a swanky brownstone townhouse. While working for the couple as a nanny, Hope meets a young lesbian named Nat and confusion sets in. Why does she want to kiss Nat? Is she a lesbian because she wants to hang out with Nat? Why does her world feel upside down? This super-fast read covers Hope's journey through a new chapter in her life. Anyone who has ever felt derailed will relate to Hope's confusion and resultant desire to get back on track. Mac has taken a delicate and controversial topic and put it into a story that many teens will relate to. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Orca, Soundings, 106p., $7.95.. Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
Seventeen-year-old Hope, left with her sister in New York, takes a job as nanny for a lesbian couple. When she discovers that she also is attracted to a nineteen-year-old lesbian, Hope struggles with and finally accepts her feelings in Crush. The small, large-print paperback books in the Orca Soundings series use simple vocabulary and short sentences combined with lots of authentic dialogue and engrossing subject matter, making them ideal for high-interest, low-reading-level collections. The authors are not afraid of controversial language or material, which is in large part the secret of the series' appeal. Open endings lend to discussion and further exploration. These little novels with their colorful covers are sure to be a hit.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In Exit Point, 16-year-old Logan died in a car wreck. As he begins to explore the afterlife, he meets up with a guide and his grandmother, who explains that he has choices now just as he did when he was alive. This includes the opportunity to help his younger sister, who is being molested by a family friend. There are consequences for him, but he realizes that saving Amy matters more than anything else. In Crush, 17-year-old Hope stays with her older sister in New York City while her parents spend the summer building a school in Thailand. She soon discovers that Joy dabbles in drugs and alcohol and has a live-in boyfriend. Hope meets up with Nat, who is a lesbian, and she is offered a position as a nanny by a lesbian couple with twins. To her surprise, she discovers that she is attracted to Nat in more than a platonic way, although whether this is just a "crush" or something more serious is not certain as the story ends. In both novels, the plot relies on everything neatly falling into place. The character development lacks subtlety although the teens do have some real issues that they are trying to solve with some reflection and honesty. With their "Dr. Phil" talk-show themes, angst-driven protagonists, and short texts, these slick novels will appeal to reluctant readers who want fast-paced escapist reads.-Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Absolutely charming...Mac infuses so much passion and heart into...this witty, entertaining glimpse into one kid's summer of discovering that 'life is really hard if you're a person who's alive.'
"This book achieves the goal of providing a provocative storyline with high teen appeal...Recommended."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"An emotionally complex story. Communal living, drug addiction, and, of course, the lesbian content will all be sure-fire discussion points, and these same elements, especially the hot romance, make this an intriguing book for fluent and struggling readers alike."
“I was impressed by this book and how it handled a sensitive and potentially awkward situation.”
"A bright, lovely novel...well thought out."
Quill & Quire
"[A] strong story of love and sexual identity, rooted in well-drawn characters and well-imagined situations."
Canadian Book Review Annual
Gerogia Straight - John Burns
"Absolutely charming...Mac infuses so much passion and heart into...this witty, entertaining glimpse into one kid’s summer of discovering that 'life is really hard if you’re a person who's alive.'"
Read an Excerpt
Isn’t she fazed by any of this? Does she do this all the time? Make unsuspecting, seemingly straight girls squirm? Or am I making it all up? But making up what? The butterflies are real. The fact that I want to kiss her is real.
Would kissing a girl be different from kissing boys? If all I did was kiss her would that make me queer? Are you queer just for thinking it? Or does doing it make you queer? And what if I don’t want to be queer? Do I get a say in this at all?