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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Bookseller category, dated 4/14/2012 [Help]
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1. Book Spine Poems

I love this idea, I just do. I never write poems but I enjoy this kind of "writing." Thanks to Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes for this idea and his Book Spine Poem Gallery. Happy National Poetry Month!

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2. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

I have added a role to the list of parts I want to play: Luna Jane Dryden.

Before Jane and her brother Marcus were born, their parents loved to travel. Since her mother's sudden death ten years ago, Jane and Marcus have lived all over the world with their father, who uproots them almost annually due to his structural engineering jobs. Now, just in time for Jane's junior year of high school, her family moves to Coney Island, to a house which belonged to a grandfather she never met - the childhood home of a mother she barely remembers.

Jane's lived a lot of places, but none of them were like Coney Island. Her classmates at Coney Island High range from the typical (the interchangeable pretty girls, the quiet kids and the loud ones, et cetera) to the not-so-typical (the bearded girl, the contortionist). The first student who talks to her is Babette, a no-nonsense Goth girl who happens to be a dwarf. She only comes up to Jane's waist, but she's as fierce as a pack of wolves. Altebrando's writing allows readers to picture Babette immediately:

Her ears were pierced more times than it seemed an earlobe could sustain. Her charcoal-lined eyes were a fierce turquoise, the color of an ocean near the equator. [...] The goth's tiny black T-shirt had a white silhouette of a girl's profile, with teardrops falling from her eyes. For a second Jane felt like that girl; she wanted to jump into the shadows of the shirt. - Pages 27-28

While her older brother Marcus seems to have no problem fitting in and finding friends, Jane feels more like an observer at first. While watching the way other kids interact at school and watching the old films she finds in her grandfather's home, she becomes intrigued by the culture and history of Coney Island. Jane never would have imagined that her family's roots were here, where women dress like mermaids and swim in aquariums and where carnival barkers easily part you with your money. Jane learns that her grandfather was a premature baby, and he was presented in an exhibit during his infancy, and that her grandmother dressed up in elaborate bird-like outfits - as in, part human, part bird, see the wonder, watch her perform! - and went by the name Birdie. Right there in the house they've inherited, there's a horse from a merry-go-round chained up to the radiator, bound by seemingly unbreakable chains and a lock. Jane's search for the key to open the lock is paralleled by her search for herself, her yearning to learn more about her mother, to recall more of her childhood memories, and to unravel the mystery of the Dreamland Social Club, an exclusive group with origins surprisingly close to home.

Jane befriends Leo, a tattooed boy. Remember, this is Coney Island, so unlike the rebellious motorcycle-riding soap star you may be picturing, this is a real kid, Jane's classmate, who has lived his whole life on the Island. He loves it there. When asked why and when he got different tattoos, including a seahorse that Jane finds strangely familiar, Leo is very honest and open with her. In that way, he reminded me of Wes in The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

It is through Leo that Jane learns more about the happenings on Coney Island. Developers are attempting to encroach on territories and close down old theme parks and other establishments. Jane realizes that the games her mother used to play with the kids were inspired by real games and rides at the theme parks, including Luna Park, the place that gave Jane her first name. (She has chosen to go by Jane, which is her middle name.) The tension builds when her father has the potential to get involved in projects that may remove these historic places in order to pave the way for new developments.

Tara Altebrando has incorporated the themes of loss and grief into all of her young adult novels to date. In The Pursuit of Happiness, the teenaged protagonist loses her

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