THE STORY WEB
By Megan Frazer Blakemore
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
A contemporary story with touches of magic, THE STORY WEB largely follows the story of a young girl, Alice, who struggles to cope when her father goes away for treatment of depression/PTSD. His departure coincides with strange activities in the local community—forest animals come to town and an ice storm begins with no end in sight. It is said, these events are due to the break down of the story-web; a web woven by spiders from the telling of truthful tales. A web so crucial that without it, society will break down and the world will freeze.
This story is told from multiple points of view including the likable Alice, her two friends, and various forest animals. The action rises slowly and is charged with emotional intensity. It includes themes of family, friendship, the importance of truth/honesty, mental illness, and the impact of rumors/gossip/fear-mongering.
A great read for a quiet weekend or to fuel a deep classroom or family discussion.
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By Barbara Dee
HALFWAY NORMAL is a wonderful contemporary story about Norah, a seventh-grader returning to school following a prolonged absence for leukemia treatment.
As well as the standard middle-school parent, friendship and relationship dilemmas, Dee brilliantly weaves in the added pressures of being labeled a cancer-survivor and having an impaired immune system and the impact that has on Norah's reintegration into the school community and her interactions with others.
Norah is a likable character on a journey towards self-acceptance and a new normal. Her story is filled with hope and inspiration making this a must-read for all.