Archives for posts with tag: party

I’m not sure if Tom Leveen’s Party is even still readily available (Random House, $8.99), which is too bad because this book really impressed me. Each of the 11 chapters is narrated by one high school student, who is either going or perhaps avoiding going to an end of the year party. I’ve said this before, but I’m always a fan of these types of merry-go-round narrative books, when they are done well, and Leveen’s is. Reading various perspectives about the same events is a reminder of how differently we see the world, even when we’re standing right next to each other. Despite it’s seemingly innocuous theme, Party deals with a lot of complex issues: Islamaphobia, losing a parent to cancer, race, and depression. I definitely cried several times, especially in the first and last chapters. But don’t think that this book is all depressing either. There are a few funny moment, a bit of romance, and a reminder that best friends are always there for you, even if they haven’t been there lately. Furthermore, Leveen really magnifies the variety and multiplicity of teen voices. I’d love to see this book get more attention.

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Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Paul Yalowitz (Aladdin, $7.99) is another lovely Valentine’s Day book that defies the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Spinelli’s books are always a delight and this one is no different. Mr. Hatch is a lonely, Willy Lomanesque character, who works in a factory, and goes home, but experiences no real enjoyment in his life: “Mr. Hatch was tall and thin and he did not smile”. One Valentine’s Day, he unexpectedly receives a ginormous box of chocolates, with the note, “Somebody loves you!” Delighted to discover that he has a secret admirer, Mr. Hatch smiles, helps his neighbors, smiles, takes care of kids and pets, smiles, offers his assistance to local business owners, and smiles. He invites all of his new friends from the neighborhood over to his place one afternoon; “Everyone danced”. Then the postman shows up again and regretfully informs Mr. Hatch that there had been a mix-up in the delivery. The chocolates weren’t meant for him. Turns out Mr. Hatch doesn’t have a secret admirer after all. But when he stops helping, stops smiling, and stops talking to his neighbors, his new friends notice. Maybe somebody DOES love Mr. Hatch!

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