Sunday, January 27, 2013

Program + Review: beTWEEN the lines

Well, I definitely don't have much to say about December's installment of our tween book club. The kids seem to be coming pretty consistently now, which is nice. I did have a few new attendees in December - one regular book-clubber brought two of her friends, and another boy showed up. The group of friends made for a slightly more difficult group to control - they seemed more interested in just chatting with each other than in participating in the discussion. Actually, that's probably the most interesting thing to note about December's discussion: this is the book that I came up with the most discussion questions for and yet this was the book that the kids seemed to have a hard time with contributing. We soldiered through, but this was our shortest discussion to date. We finished up with voting for February and handing out copies of January's title.

Our December title was:
By Kathryn Erskine
Published 2010 by Philomel
Caitlin's life is black and white; anything in between is confusing. Her brother, Devon, used to help her figure out the in between stuff. But Devon is gone now. When Caitlin discovers that what she needs in closure, she begins a search for it the only way she knows how.

I don't have a lot to say about this book because it was a re-read for me. I found it just as effective on the second read. Caitlin is an easy character to understand and root for, and this unique portrayal of grieving is powerful and realistic. The kids really seemed to like the book; a couple told me that they had chosen to do school projects based on it. They liked the different perspective this story gave them, though none of them knew what Asperger's was. I found that very surprising - they knew about autism but not Asperger's. I do feel that this book tries to do too much - it wants to be about a school shooting, and it wants to be about a girl with Asperger's, and it wants to be about dealing with grief and healing. But, it's an excellent book, one I highly recommend.

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