Fans Of Miss Peregrine’s Will Enjoy Leah Thomas’s Debut YA Novel

Ollie is a boy who cannot tolerate any electricity.  I makes him so ill he has seizures.  Moritz is a child born without eyes but can use echolocation to see, much like Daredevil.  The boys have never meet in person but Ollie’s doctor set him up with Moritz as pen pals to see if they could be a source of comfort for each other since they have peculiarities they set them apart form society.  The two share their lives which are unique to say the least.  Ollie lives out in the woods in an electric free cabin with his mom.  Their only visitor is Ollie’s doctor and a girl whose uncle lives nearby.  Moritz lives with his adoptive father, goes to school and has to deal with a bully. He can “see” in great detail with his ears.  Both have secrets they want answered about their pasts and what may make them superhuman.  Because of Moritz’s pacemaker, the two can never meet.  This book is unique and the characters are fascinatingly complex.  It is a mystery that slowly reveals how the boy’s stories are intertwined. It is fascinating how they interact with each other and those around them.  It is told in alternating voices of both Ollie and Mortiz in their letters to each other.  I think because of the unique nature of the boys, readers who loved the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children will enjoy this.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss how the personalities of Ollie and Moritz are different.  How are they alike?

Discuss what it would be like to have their unique attributes.  Which do you think would be more difficult for you?

Discuss having pen pals.  Have you ever had one?

Discuss the poop analogy when Ollie says he and Moritz are “not the poop” on page 290.

Discuss when Moritz talks of being haunted by those who came before him on page 246.

Discuss Ollie’s relationship with Liz.

Discuss Moritz’s relationships with Owen and Fieke.

Talk about what “eyes are windows to the soul” means for Moritz.

What do you think of the laboratory where Moritz lived?  What about his mother?  Did she have a right to do what she did?

Discuss what happened with Lenz.  Did Mortiz have a right to do what he did?

Discuss how Moritz blames himself for what happened to Ollie.

Discuss what happens when Mortiz goes back to the laboratory.

 

 

Bone Gap Is One Of My Favorite Reads of 2015

Bone Gap

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is one of my favorite reads of 2015.  It crosses genres, American Gothic, horror and fairy tale wrapped into an interesting tale that unfolds beautifully.  Roza is a beautiful woman who mysteriously arrives in Bone Gap and leaves just as mysteriously.  Finn saw her taken, but cannot describe the man who took her.  He cannot recall his face, only how he moves, which is like a corn stalk.  Most of the town thinks Finn is a bit spacey and some blame him for letting Roza go.  Finn’s older brother, Sean is in love with Roza but cannot bring himself to look for her.  The relationship between the two brother is interesting.  Bone Gap is a story about fascinating characters and the gaps of reality.  As one character states, you have to find the gaps to find out what happened.  Finn falls in love with a girl that most would describe as homely but he does not see her that way.  The girl is a keeper of bees.   Ruby is a master of magical realism, weaving what can be real and fantasy into a seamless story that is a joy to unwrap.  From start to finish, I was enraptured with this characters and the setting.  The corn stalks have a lot of meaning and I love the thought that the scarecrow is not to scare the crows, but the corn. I highly recommend this one.  It is worthy of a finalist for the National Book Award.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss Finn’s relationship with his brother Sean.

Discuss Roza and the town’s reaction to her missing.

Discuss Finn’s relationship with Priscilla/Petey.  How did it change when Petey realized Finn is face blind?

Discuss the “gaps.”  And what it means when Finn says, “Yeah, but I’m the one who’s here.” (pg 283)

Discuss when Petey says there should be a ceremony to mark the occasion of her heartbreak.  (pg. 302)

Have the teens describe someone who has had the biggest impact on their lives using only adverbs like in the book.

Discuss how magical realism is different from the other books that they read.

Discuss this moment with the crows, “the birds helping her with this one small task, and telling her with their shining wings and knowing laughter that the truly impossible ones where yet to come.” (pg. 312)

Why do you think the Rude brothers defended Petey’s honor?

Discuss the final paragraph on page 345.