A Room On Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt, 2005). Zoe, 17, has had it with her alcoholic mother and manipulative grandmother. She moves out of the house and rents a room on Lorelei Street in hopes of a new start. But ghosts, living and dead, swirl around Zoe, trying to tug her back, and it's hard making ends meet as a diner waitress. Zoe's new landlady, Opal, has a fresh, hopeful perspective, but ultimately, Zoe's uncertain future rests in her own hands. Ages 12-up. Highly recommended.
A Room On Lorelei Street spoke so powerfully that I could only handle it in small doses. I had to leave it sometimes, to gather strength, before returning again. But I also had to return. I had to know what happened.
I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that caught me so completely. The depiction of lower socio-eco class rang true. Zoe's determination made me respect her and appreciate the depth of her struggle. I believed in the characters--the ones I liked and the ones I didn't. Reading this novel, thinking hard about its themes, will save at least one teen's life and inspire others to make better choices. That's important. But ultimately, the story and hero just swept me away.
Notes: (1) the cover on the ARC is not the final cover for the book; (2) the novel is set in Texas.
Mary's other YA novels are David v. God (Harcourt, 2000) and Scribbler of Dreams (Harcourt, 2001). Read her online journal.
Don't Take A Ride In Darnell Dixon's Rivy Dog of Love: Christopher Paul Curtis Talks About His New Book, Bucking The Sarge by Kay Smith from the fall 2004 ALAN review.
Get Back On That Horse And Write! by Bunny Miner from the Institute of Children's Literature. An article on making through a writing slump.
Julie's Blah Blah Blog from author Julie Anne Peters. Preview her new YA novel, Far From Xanadu (Megan Tingley, 2005)(beautiful cover art; I want that hair). Julie's previous novel, Luna (Megan Tingley, 2004)(read an excerpt), was a National Book Award finalist, and the one before that Keeping You A Secret (Megan Tingley, 2003) is one of my all-time faves.
Twenty Tips For Writing Picture Books by Pat Mora from Lee & Low Books. Read An Interview With Pat Mora from Melus.
Kid Magazine Writers with the caveat that content is kept up only a month. If you see something you like, print it for future reference. Bookmarking won't work long!