The Wall and The Wing

Ruby, Laura. The Wall and the Wing. 2006. 327p. Harper Collins.

Genre: Fantasy

For ages: 10 –14 years old; Good bedtime or classroom read aloud

Rating: 3 stars 

Everyone can fly in Gurl’s world, except the leadfoot orphans at Hope House for the Hopeless.  Gurl’s lonely life starts to change when she slips out of the orphanage at night. There, out in the alleys, Gurl discovers she can blend into the world and be invisible. She also makes her first friend, a cat—a rare animal in Gurl’s world. Her new happiness is jeopardized when the orphanage director, Mrs. Terwileger, kidnaps the cat and blackmails Gurl to use her invisibility skills to fulfill the director’s addiction for fashion and plastic surgery.

 

Bug desperately wants to fly.  He knows he used to be able to but he can’t really remember when.  Ever since he came to Hope House for the Hopeless his mind is a blur.  He only has one talent, picking locks. Then he notices that Gurl can do things no one else can.  Maybe she’s the answer to helping Bug fly.

 

This book is not your usual fantasy.  It starts off slow, but once it gets going, the reader is introduced to a wild world of another New York City: full of flyers, mobsters, sewer punks, rat people, rare cats, and flaky professors with grass for hair.  My daughter usually hates fantasy but loved this book.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

****Brashares, Ann. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 2001. 294p. Delacorte Press.

Ages: 12 to adult

News: The fourth in the series comes out January 9, 2007.

Fourteen year old Carmen, Lena, Bee, and Tibby are about to spend their first summer apart from each other.   They’ve been friends since before birth when their moms were all in the same prenatal aerobics class.

A pair of jeans that “magically” seems to fit all of them, despite their different body types, helps each one have their own adventure and keep in touch at the same time. As the jeans are sent between the girls on their first summer apart, new adventures, challenges, disappointments, loss, and romance happen. 

Each story judged alone is enjoyable and compelling, inter-cut together it’s one pleasure-filled read. Join beautiful reserved Lena in Greece, impulsive athletic Bee at soccer camp, fiery good-hearted Carmen at her dad’s in South Carolina, and funky artistic Tibby stuck at home in Bethesda, Maryland working retail, you’ll be glad you did.

Parental Notes: a non-graphic sex scene with consequences presented in first book.

****Brashares, Ann. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. 2003. 373p. Delacorte Press.

****Brashares, Ann. Girls in Pants. The Third Summer of the Sisterhood. 2005. 338p. Delacorte   Press.

If you like the first book, you’ll enjoy the sequels.   Both are equally good in quality and continue the adventures of the denim clad four.  

Parental Notes: Make out scenes of increasing intensity as the girls’ age.

PS: Yes, my Bethesda, kind of.   Brashares throws in a few familiar street names, but really this Bethesda seems more like any suburb USA than my specific town. Probably best for the story.

PPS: The movie comes close to the fun of the book.   Bee, Carmen, and Tibby are well cast by Blake Lively, America Ferrera, and Amber Tamblyn and their stories are played out almost exactly as the book.   Lena, played by Alexis Bledel (of Gilmore Girls) is slightly miscast, in my opinion, and while her story comes to the same conclusion, it’s different from the book.   Also fans of her Lena’s sister will notice Effie’s absence.

TV a La Carte

NBC has all the episodes of Heroes and Friday Night Lights available on their website from now until January.   These are two of my favorite shows; so if you’re in need of some good TV this month, check them out:

Friday Night Lights: Kyle Chandler plays Eric Taylor, the new coach of a small Texan town where high school football is the main entertainment.   I love this show.   It’s realistic, moody, sweet, and has me cheering for the football team while at the same time thinking, “This town really needs to get a life.”  

Heroes: Ordinary people from all over the world discover they can do cool new things.   Claire–a cheerleader in Texas– is invincible and Hiro–an adorable Japanese office worker– can bend time and space.   I didn’t watch this show at first because the previews seemed pretentious to me.   After a few friends liked it, I gave Heroes a try.   I’m glad I did.   It’s one compelling show and Hiro just cracks me up too.

November 2006: InBrief

Quote of the Month:

“Never judge a book by its movie.” J.W. Eagan

 

Hightlights:

Evidently there was an election.   Who won?  😉

 

I took a vacation from writing this month. The kids had an insane number of full or half days off and it’s too hard to write when I feel like I’m hosting an Internet café for tweens and teens every other day.  Good plan, the Internet café stuff was fun and now I’m all excited about writing again.

 

Spent our 1st Thanksgiving at home with just the four of us.  Ah! Quite relaxing.

 

Books Finished:

***       Lion Boy: The Truth, by Zizou Corder

***       The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II, by Wolfgang W.E. Samuel

 

Movies Seen:

***        Farewell My Concubine (on DVD)

*** ½    Sideways (on DVD)

 

Music I Listened To:

***      Plans, by Death Cab for Cutie

***      Reprieve, by Ani Di Franco

***      Straight Outta Lynwood, by “Weird Al” Yankovic

 

Favorite TV:

****     Veronica Mars– Tense, moody episodes punctuated by crack-me-up moments? Check.  Satisfying conclusion to the rape mystery? Check. Appearances by Mac and Weevil?  Finally.  Logan being Logan again?  Hell yeah.  Whew!  My show is back.

 

****     Heroes– Thanks to ZQ’s tivoing help I watched all 9 episodes during Thanksgiving weekend.  Wow. That’s a good show. 

 

*** ½   The OC– Sweet Samson in a Sundress!  They should have killed off Marissa long ago. I gave up this show after suffering through it last season. Then I decided to check out the post-Marissa season premiere just in case. What a change.  Here’s hoping they keep up the level of fun and angst all season.

 

Sub Jobs:

1 day- substitute sampler (2nd grade, 1st grade, and Kindergarten for 2 hours each)

 

November must be the official cancellation month:

-I was supposed to sub for a 2nd grade class but the teacher’s training was cancelled. (The county had some computerized report card crisis and had to cancel all their teacher tech-training classes. Sounds like a Veronica Mars episode.)

-Then I was asked to sub 5 days in a kindergarten class while the teacher had surgery but her doctor cancelled the surgery at the last minute.