Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – YA F SEP (Historical)
What It’s About: As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war’s final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull.
Why I Loved It: Refugees fleeing from war, racing towards a ship they hope will take them to freedom. How timely is that? Set near the end of World War Two and told from the perspectives of four different people in four very different situations, the book is intriguing and suspenseful. As a bonus, I learned about the largest maritime disaster in history.
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz – YA F SCH (Historical)
What It’s About: Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself–because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of–a woman with a future.
Why I Loved It: I loved reading Joan’s thoughts and trying to fit all the pieces together of what had happened to her. I also empathized with her passion for learning and reading. Following her adventures as she becomes a maid in a Jewish household in Baltimore was enlightening and exciting especially when Joan’s romantic notions land her in a heap of trouble!
The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Shaun Tan – YA SS SIN
What It’s About: A selection of seventy-five of the Grimm’s timeless tales adapted by Shaun Tan. There is also a lovely foreword by Neal Gaiman and an introduction to the Grimms by Jack Zipes.
Why I Loved It: Shaun Tan has created amazing small sculptures to represent images from 75 different tales from the Brothers Grimm. The book is filled with photos of the sculptures accompanied by a brief snippet from the story. Some of the stories will be familiar but chances are that many of these tales will be new to you. Creepy, inspired, and amazing – you will never look at fairy tales quite the same way.