Voting’s coming fast! Have you read at least three of the 2018-2019 Soaring Eagle Nominees?
No?! Fantasy just isn’t your thing? None of the last three caught your eye? Never fear! This week we’ll show you three realistic fiction and one mystery from this year’s list. Realistic fiction is great for readers who want to be taken out of their lives but not taken out of the real world!
By Julie Murphy
Willowdean is fat. She’s always been fat. Her mom – a former beauty queen who hasn’t quite left that part of her life behind – affectionately calls Willowdean “Dumplin.” But Willowdean doesn’t mind being fat; she actually likes her body, and she doesn’t care what other people think. Usually.
In Willowdean’s hometown, Clover City, the Miss Teen Bluebonnet beauty pageant is THE measure of a girl’s worth, and nobody even considers someone like Willowdean entering the pageant. Especially not her mom; she diets every year so that she can fit into the dress she wore when she was named Miss Teen Bluebonnet years ago. Her overweight daughter as a candidate in her precious pageant? Unheard of!
Why should being a certain size determine beauty, Willowdean wonders? And with that – and with her customary sass – Willowdean sets out to shock the town of Clover City out of its prejudices. In Willowdean’s words, “I get called a freak everyday. I might as well make a show of it.” But in the process, it turns out that the person Willowdean is most likely to shock… is herself.
Words in Deep Blue
By Cath Crowley
Rachel’s world is crumbling around her since her brother drowned off the coast of Australia in the ocean she once loved. Mired in grief, she has let everything go, even failing her grade 12 exams. In a final desperate attempt to pull her out of the nose dive her life has taken, Rachel’s mom sends her back to live with her aunt and work for the summer. The only problem? Her aunt lives in Rachel’s old hometown where, years ago in a moment of either insanity or bravery, she confessed her love for her best friend in the pages of his favorite book and he never responded. To make matters worse, her aunt gets her a job in the bookstore his family owns!
Henry works at his family’s derelict second hand book shop, but he loves it. What he loves most is the letter library; a small section of used books where people can mark the pages, leave letters, or send their thoughts out into the future. Things aren’t easy with the failing shop and his disintegrating family life, but at least he has his beautiful girlfriend, Amy … until he doesn’t. To complicate matters, his best friend Rachel is back in town, after having cut ties with him years ago without any explanation. She looks different, and worse, acts different. At first, she’s cold and aloof and won’t talk to him, but then agrees to help him try to get Amy back.
As Rachel and Henry catalogue the annotations in the letter library, they find out that even though everything is changing, some things remain the same. They discover that hope and healing are possible for them both IF they can get on the same page.
Long Way Down
By Jason Reynolds
Number 1: No crying
Number 2: No snitching
Number 3: Get revenge
Those are the rules of the neighborhood. When Will’s brother Shawn turns up dead, Will, like so many others, sets out to get revenge. Will thinks he doesn’t care what happens, as long as he gets revenge. Once he hops in the elevator he starts to have second thoughts, and it’s a long way from floor 7 to the bottom floor. It’s even longer when, on each floor, someone new steps on. It’s longer still when those people aren’t supposed to be there anymore.
Jason Reynolds’ newest novel, Long Way Down, is written in verse.
By Pam Smy
February 1982: Mary lives every day at Thornhill Home for Orphans, beleaguered by a cruel and unpredictable bully. The home has been ordered to close, and while many of the girls are rehoused, Mary finds her world shrinking in on itself. It seems that nobody wants to foster the semi-mute, pale and withdrawn Mary. The only comfort Mary finds is in crafting detailed puppets and reading in the quiet privacy of her upstairs room. But as the staff and students leave, one by one, Mary finds herself alone with her tormenter until she is faced with a life or death choice.
March 2017: Ella’s story has no words- we only see flashes of her life, punctuated by black pages and interlaced with Mary’s story from decades before. The images come together to give clues to Ella’s isolated life; pictures of an absent mother, notes from an overworked father, and the view from an upstairs window that overlooks Thornhill and the promise of a mystery to solve.
As Ella discovers more about the mystery surrounding the overgrown gardens she begins to see that maybe she and Mary have more in common that she realizes, and that sometimes loneliness is the worst torment of all.