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<img src="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/files/santacruz/2011WinterNewsletterCov... align=right hspace=5 />These recommendations from our staff were published in our <a href="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/2011-winter-newsletter">2011 Winter Newsletter</a>.
Based on the true story of coauthor Farinango, this collaborative novel provides a nuanced look at race and class in late 20th-century Ecuador. Born in an impoverished Andean village but sent to work for a well-to-do family at the age of 7, Virginia finds herself at the nexus of two cultures as she enters her teens—that of her indígina heritage and that of her mestizo employers. The narrative voice overlaps, deepening our understanding of Virginia as she speaks in the present moment as well as retrospectively. The result is a fully fleshed-out coming-of-age/identity story. Ages 13 and up.
In a not too distant future, 17-year old Nailer lives and works on the Gulf Coast salvaging scrap from defunct oil tankers with his crew of “ship breakers.” Like many works of science fiction, the premise of Bacigalupi’s Printz Award–winning YA debut is frighteningly plausible—dare I say imminent?—but what sets Ship Breaker apart is the vividness of Bacigalupi’s prose, and his thoroughly developed, diverse cast of characters. Ages 13 and up.
Briony believes she is a witch. In her backwater English village, a place that is reluctantly experiencing the Industrial Revolution and all of its change, this is an offense punished by hanging. Briony also believes that she is responsible for the death of her stepmother and the disabling of her sister, and as penance she forbids herself from visiting her beloved bog, where she once communicated with the Old Ones. The Old Ones, various witches, spirits, brownies, and other creatures, are none to happy about the dawning of the 20th century or the railroad that comes with it. When they place a curse on the town that sickens her sister, Briony knows that she is the only one who can intervene, but to do so would risk exposing her many secrets. With a viscerally earthy setting and a wry, passionate, and intelligent protagonist, Chime has the dark allure of an old English ballad, and the language is oddly new and beautiful. Ages 13 and up. —Kat & Ga
You are “Blink”—runaway, scavenger, survivalist, whose precarious existence is overtaken and transformed by witnessing a (fake?) kidnapping of a high-profile CEO. You are not “Caution”—also a runaway, whose self-destructing life serves as a penance for the crimes of her past. While running from an abusive (ex)boyfriend, Caution’s path intersects with Blink’s mystery, from there entwining the two lives and stories into one incredible journey. Just try to catch your breath. Grades 9–12