DRAWN by Marie Lamba
Young Adult Time Travel, 2012
Michelle DeFreccio, an American teenager just moved to England, is a talented and sensitive artist. Her father has started teaching at an upscale English academy, which Michelle now attends. She hopes to start over without the baggage of her past, namely her "psychic" mother and schizophrenic brother and the label De-Freak-O.
But life in England has its own challenges. As an American, she's not always sure how to navigate the social divide within her school. More troubling are the pictures she finds herself sketching of a young man in Medieval garb, a young man named Christopher who refuses to stay on the page. Before Michelle knows it, she is drawn into the past where her presence changes things, not always for the better. Worse, she's in love with a man who died long ago and there's nothing she can do to save him. Or is there? She tries to figure out what happened in the past in order to change things, sometimes with terrible consequences.
I am so impressed by this book. I was utterly "drawn" into it by the great story and wonderful writing. One of the best YA novels I've read in recent years. Five stars.
THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY
by Siobahn Dowd
Middle Grade mystery, Random House, 2007
Ted Sparks is budding meterologist who sees the world through the language of the weather. A 12-year-old genius, Ted also suffers with high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome. His brain is wired differently than most people's which allows him to see connections between things and people that others miss.
This comes in handy when his 13-year-old cousin, Salim, disappears while riding the London Eye. Salim and his mother, Aunt Gloria, come to town to visit with Ted, his parents and his older sister Kat, often referred to by Ted as Katastrophe. Salim and Aunt Gloria are on their way to live in New York, but Salim doesn't want to go. Is his disappearance from the Eye a crime or the ill-fated prank of a disgruntled teenager?
Ted and Kat work together (somewhat reluctantly at times) to solve the mystery of Salim's disappearance and are surprised to find that they make a good team. Ted may be the genius, but Kat is pretty smart, too, in a more practical way.
Ted's narration is a delight. I love his voice and the interesting and strange connections he makes in his brilliant mind. Though he doesn't have good social skills, he tries to learn appropriate responses, and his quirks become endearing to the reader. Very enjoyable read.
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