professornana (professornana) wrote,

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between the coasts

Before I head off to Washington for a couple of days of YA workshops, I thought I would take a few sleepy moments to talk about the books I read between NY and Houston Monday. Forgive any ramblings and errors as I stayed up to watch the Astros win their first ever trip to the World Series. Go 'Stros!

In any event, I managed to read a couple of nifty books while traveling. CODE ORANGE by Caroline Cooney is a terrific mystery and coming of age novel all in one. Mitty finds some dried up scabs in an envelope tucked inside an old medical text. They are labeled "smallpox," a topic Mitty is supposed to be researching for class. Mitty is a reluctant researcher, certain that all of his information can come more easily from the internet than from musty old books. He crumples one of the scabs in his hands and, later, is convinced that he will contract the disease, one that can kill hundreds of thousands of people. Mitty goes online to ask questions of the CDC and others about the viability of the scabs and, of course, puts himself at risk. WHile in captivity, Mitty learns what he is capable of doing and being. Cooney's newest offering should appeal to readers on a variety of levels not the least of which is that it is an absorbing and quick read. I might pair this one with PEEPS, too.

THE PERFECT SHOT by Elaine Marie Alphin is the story of a murder in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Amanda, her mother, and toddler brother are found shot to death in the family garage. The chief suspect is the head of the family, a decorated policeman. Brian was out shooting hoops at the time of the murder, in his driveway just down the street from his girlfriend Amanda's home. Since her death, Brian has taken refuge in the game; it prevents him from having to deal with his grief and his guilt. An assignment by the history teacher leads Brian to consider whether or not justice is truly blind. Alphin tackles the judicial system, prejudice, and many other issues deftly in this story told in flashback.

Off now to the airport armed with a handful of books just in case. Stay tuned.

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