Book Review: Mockingbird

I have been catching up on a FEW of my Twelve by 2012 list (but I am woefully behind on others... sigh). I have been doing some reading. When I'm in the middle of a book, I'm always so glad that I am -- it's when I don't have one going and don't know what to read next that I get stuck in a Facebook/ blogs/ Pinterest vortex and forget that people actually write books.

So. I want to share with you some of the books I've been reading.

First, a word of warning. I LOVE -- crazy love -- young adult fiction. It's my genre. It's usually an easy read, with a great message, and the well-written ones have loveable characters. Think "Because of Winn Dixie," "The Hunger Games," and "Once Upon A Marigold." (I know you don't know that last one -- you should!)

I found a list (that if I could find again I would share with you) of the best YA (young adult) books to read. This first book was on it:

*Cover art from Amazon
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Before I give you the synopsis, let me just say: I flat out loved this book.

Told from the point of view of an 11 year old with Asberger's, Caitlyn. The book opens the day of Caitlyn's brother's funeral -- we later find out he was the victim of a school shooting. The whole book is Caitlyn, her dad (her mom passed away earlier), and the entire community trying to struggle through the grief and aftermath of a school shooting through the eyes of a girl who only sees things in black and white, no color. Parts of it are hilarious because of her point of view, parts of it are heartbreaking because of what she can't understand.

Without giving too much away, I think I will say that the ending is a little too far-fetched with sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops and wraps up grief into something that will end and be over. But perhaps Caitlyn would have needed it that way. Also, the prologue says that the author wrote it in response to the shootings in Virginia Tech, as a way for people to understand others that are different from them. Perhaps the author was hoping that grief could be wrapped up and put away.

I still think it is an excellent book for anyone with children trying to deal with loss and/ or trying to understand autism or Asberger's Syndrome. (It would be EXCELLENT reading for any teacher or parent of children with Asberger's -- the descriptions of the way Caitlyn sees the world are amazing).

All in all, it is definitely worth your time. I read it in a day. It would be a great read-aloud for 3rd grade and up, and the reading level on it says 4th-6th grade, but I have told my 10th and 8th grade kids I thought they would like it.

So... Read any good books lately? Let me hear about it!

1 comment:

Roxanne Langley said...

Do not EVEN get me started on YA lit. LOVE IT!!!!! It has been my genre of choice for a long time. . .same reasons you have AND I have a boat load of great books to share with my students.

Some of these are oldies but goodies--others are newer. . .

Maniac Magee
Hope was Here
Running Out of Time
Among the Hidden
The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney
The Penderwicks
Taking Sides

It's been a long, tiring day or I'd think of more. I will look for this book!!!

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