“The Things a Brother Knows” by Dana Reinhardt is a YA must read for adults for two reasons. It gives us a peek into the language, the activities and the mentality of today’s teens, and it lets us experience the “residuals” of our military conflicts in the Mid-East.  The older brother in the story has recently returned from that horrible fiasco (not to hint at my political opinions or anything!) and we watch him and his family deal with Life after it. A good read for adults as well as an absorbing story for young adults.

Reinhardt protects the reader from the grisly details of war wounds while showing the depths to which returning soldiers reach to attempt to heal. She does it very well with a fresh, resonant voice.  Put this book on your list!



Sometimes you read a book and you don’t want the story to end. You are so involved with the protagonist and other characters that, like your good friends, you want them to continue to be a part of your life. That’s the case with the book I just finished: “Picture Perfect” by Jodi Picoult.

I thought I had read all of her books, but I checked her row of books at my library and found this one. Picoult is an excellent writer. With a Princeton and Harvard education, she puts words, ideas and characters together in such exquisite perfection that you don’t have to read the jacket to see if you’ll like reading one of her books. If it’s Picoult, you’ll devour every page. The main theme of each of her books is usually a subject of public concern or human frailty. “Picture Perfect”, one of her earlier books, is about… nope, I’m not going to spoil any of the story by telling you!

Just trust me. It’s good!


Some interesting reading has meandered through my house and home lately. I’ll begin with the YA book I read:  A Long Walk to Water. This is adult material, in the sense of our historical and ethical responsibilities, but was written for a young adult audience.  Linda Sue Park, the author and my friend, wrote in her inimitable style so that adults as well as children are spellbound by the story. She befriended one of the Lost Boys of Africa and wrote of his amazing escape from savage killers in his home village to, years later, his new home and family in Rochester, NY. It’s a must-read for many reasons.

There were a couple books I either didn’t finish reading or, upon perusal, decided not to read at all. But, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly was a real pleasure to hunker down with. (I know, I should have said ‘with which to hunker down’, but although that’s correct, it’s sort of pompous sounding, don’t you think?)

Anyway, this novel takes us, very cleverly, on the  path of a boy who suffers the loss of his mother and is forced to adjust to a whole new life and home. Connolly leads us through the boy’s fantasy world with a remarkable understanding of and solution to the grief curve. I am not a reader of fantasy novels usually (except for Vivian Vande Velde’s YA novels), but Lost Things is a spell binder. And Connolly gives it the right punch with his skillful writing.