February 21

Get a Grip, Cooper Jones by Sue Whiting

1275277363859Recently I have been reading so many books for adults and older teens, it was a nice change to read something written for a younger audience. Cooper Jones is a leading character who is in year 8, and suddenly finding himself growing up. But sometimes it would be nice if everything could stay the same.

This is a story of a few weeks of young Cooper Jones’ life. His mother seems to be always in a bad mood. He spends a lot of time worrying that the reason for the mood is that he is growing up to be like his worthless father. But how does he know because he has no idea even who his father is! And then there is this new girl in town visiting her uncle! Cooper just has to be friendly doesn’t he?

This is a book that will be read by both boys and girls, I hope. Certainly the family and friends theme is common to a lot of tween chick lit. But boys will also find Cooper in interesting person. Sometimes it is just nice to know that you aren’t the only idiot in the world.

This book will probably never make any prize list. It may not even make the CBC notables for 2010. But I found it an enjoyable read, and a refreshing change from all the vampires, werewolves and monsters that populate adolescent literature today.

February 14

Jekel loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

9780143204046OK, so the cover of the book looks like it is nothing more than a gothic romance. Maybe no vampires, but everything else simply reeks of a silly love story. I read Fantaskey’s first novel and it was too silly for words. And I will admit to rejecting this one for the Reading Challenge because it just looked too silly. But you know what they say about a book and it’s cover.

Fantaskey starts with the famous 19th century story of Jekyll and Hyde and then wonders – what if Hyde was an inherited genetic disorder and the Jekyll family continued to work in the field of chemistry. Eventually the Hydes find the Jekylls and either want them to create a ‘cure’ or prevent a cure every happening.

Yes this is a romance. What else can you expect me to list on Valentine’s Day? But although I can’t remember ever reading Jekyll and Hyde, I strongly suspect Fantaskey has used it extensively as background. I just wish I had time to go back and read it now.