It may not be what you expect. Ethan was kidnapped four years ago on a bike ride. But then his kidnapper wanted another child. This kidnapping goes wrong and Ethan and the little boy are found. Coming home is not the relief Ethan thought. Instead, it is rocky and full of unexpected challenges for both boys. The little boy has a sister, just Ethan’s age, named Caroline. Caroline is determined to help her brother (who has special needs and can’t communicate) by finding out what is triggering his heartbreaking outbursts. She knows Ethan from school and through music the two find each other, the truth about what really happened to her brother, and strength to keep on going. Afterward is a beautiful, gripping story of the trauma of real life and the power of human connection to heal. Jennifer Mathieu graciously answered some questions about this gripping novel for me: Continue reading “If you get to come home…”
“This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.” -The Square Root of Summer
What if there was a way to go back to that summer, that moment, that person? The one who you thought was gone forever? Gottie H. Oppenheimer is heartbroken. Her beloved grandfather has passed away, the boy she loves has moved on, and her best friend now lives across an ocean. The summer is not looking good. Until she begins to lose time, static appears and she falls back into the past. She gets what so many dream of, a chance to relive the moments that make us feel most alive.
But when those trips start making her lose time in the real world, and when her best friend comes back, the past and the present start to collide. A novel of time travel, wormholes, wonderfully esoteric math mixed with romance, first love, and all the summer feels. This young adult book will be loved by teens and adults alike.
Take a journey into the hidden life of teenage girls. Peggy Orenstein asks the questions that you may not want the answers to, but desperately need to listen to anyway. Interviewing scores of girls across the country, socioeconomic status, race, and sexuality, Orenstein listens to girls who are unafraid to tell their stories, but unsure how to live their sexual lives. Prepare to be shocked, not by the sexual activity, but by the lack of fun that girls are having engaging in activities of great consequence.
As a parent, this book has pushed me to have difficult discussions with my own partner. If we can’t talk within our own adult relationships about desire and regret and pleasure and choices, how can we have these important discussions with our girls? Is discomfort with talking to young girls and teens about sexuality about protecting them, or avoiding our own past experiences? In order to create a better environment for girls and boys, we have to be honest with ourselves. Admitting to a child that the person who is their father is not the person with whom one might have had their first sexual experience is powerful information. What choices might teens make differently if they knew the facts, not just about anatomy, desire, and protection, but also about the choices of the people they love and look up to the most, even if it seems they don’t. Continue reading “The Scariest Conversations”