Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The One That I Want (Allison Winn Scotch)

Allison Winn Scotch is quickly rising the ladder to rival Picoult and Scottoline status. It is no surprise that she writes from the female perspective, with a female protagonist searching for meaning in her life. Her books are heartwarming and, even with the hint of the supernatural as in The One That I Want, very true to life.

This is the story of Tilly, a thirtysomething woman living in the same town she grew up in, having the same friends she grew up with, and married to her high school sweetheart. Her life is happy...a gorgeous husband, a job she loves as a high school counselor, and a wonderful best friend. The only thing missing is a desperately wanted baby and her mother, who died awhile back. She lives her life the only way she knows how...helping others with their problems, including her alcoholic father. When Tilly meets an old high school friend at the town fair, things begin to go awry. Suddenly Tilly can "see" things that will happen in the future, and when those events really begin to happen, the story evolves.

Scotch does it again with a real winner. You will not be disappointed.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Christmas Gift (R. William Bennett)

To 1776 Readers:

Harper was sent The Christmas Gift to review, so that is why a holiday book is on my blog in August!

The Christmas Gift is an easy read which can be devoured in one night. It's funny how a book can turn your mood around. I wasn't having the best of days, so I decided to just zone out with a good story. Mind you, I read this on August 31. How can a book called The Christmas Gift be a good read in the dog days of August? It is when the "gift" has nothing to do with a package wrapped in pretty paper.

Bennett's story is short, but does not lack in warmth. Two boys in the sixth grade, Scott and Ben, play the bully and the victim. Ben is a burly boy who has no real friends. He spends his days picking on other kids. When Scott dares to stand up for another, he becomes the new target. Things progress until one day Scott cannot stand another minute, screaming that he hates Ben and others do too. Rather than feel good about standing up for himself, Scott begins to think that he should apologize. What transpires is the beginning of a remarkable friendship, where the reader is made to see that things are not always what they seem.

We never really know, unless they tell us, what is going on with other people...why they act the way they do. In a world of lawsuits over spilled drinks and other frivolous things, The Christmas Gift reminds us to take a step back and see the humanity in others.

As an aside, I would highly recommend this book to middle school teachers as a wonderful December read-aloud. Some wonderful discussions can be had from Bennett's "gift" to us all.


This review can also be found at