Archive for the ‘Siblings’ Category

WeAreTheGoldensWow!!! If anyone has read a great 200 page YA monologue, please let me know, because I haven’t…until now. I had no idea what We Are the Goldens was about. I only knew it was Dana Reinhardt so I automatically put it on my reading list.

Nelly and Layla are as close as two sisters should and could be. Only a year and a half apart, Nelly, the younger used to think their name was Nellayla, Nelly and Layla. They told each other everything…that is until Nelly became a freshman at City Day school where Layla was a junior. Then something changed. Oh sure, relationships change as sisters get older, but this was different, more severe.

Written as Nelly’s monologue to her sister, she describes in such realistic terms her anguish at the changing relationship between her and Layla, her confusion about high school and boys, and her concern over her sisters actions. Right and wrong for a teenager is not a clear-cut thing (it may not be clear to adults either) and We Are the Goldens explores this as Nelly grapples with Layla’s secret.

I could not put this book down. I stayed up late. I read up until the last minute of my lunch hour. It’s a short, fast read so it won’t take you long.

I was introduced to Dana Reinhardt’s books through A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life ABriefChapterwhich led me to become a fan. Other Reinhardt books I’ve read and loved are (which are all of her books that I’ve read):

How to Build a House

Things a Brother Knows

The Summer I Learned to Fly

If you are in the mood for something different, then I strongly suggest We Are the Goldens.

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is ostensibly about AIDS but equally TellTheWolvesImHomeimportantly it’s about siblings, how they feel about each other, what they do to each other, their hopes and dreams and needs. Fourteen year old June Elbus’ uncle Finn (her mother’s brother) is dying of AIDS. An artist, he embarks upon a portrait of June and her older sister Greta as a remembrance of him but also to ensure their togetherness. June is a naïve 14 year old and didn’t know anything about Finn’s boyfriend Toby until he shows up at the funeral. No one in the Elbus family will even acknowledge him.

June feels that she, more than anyone else, misses Finn. But when Toby contacts her and they meet secretly, it becomes apparent that Toby is hurting as much. Also, many of the things she attributed to Finn were really done by Toby. When June realizes that Toby has AIDS and is critically ill, she tries to fulfill Finn’s wish that she befriend and take care of Toby who has no one.  But it’s tough while her family believes that Toby was the person who got Finn sick in the first place.

While this back story which takes place in the mid 1980s when AIDS began to make its appearance, realistically portrays people’s ignorance of the disease, the real drama, the meat, in my mind is how Greta feels towards June as June gravitates towards Finn away from her. It also is about how Danni, June’s mother, feels when Finn as a young man goes off to see the world, leaving Danni at home.

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t use poignant in a review, but Tell the Wolves I’m Home is poignant at times. It is a wonderful tribute to siblings. It is a young girl’s desire to do the right thing amid the emotions of loss, the mixed signals of parents and an inner voice that really doesn’t know what’s right.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is not my normal genre. A Facebook author friend recommended it and I’m glad. It will bring many of us back to a place we haven’t been in a very long time. It will also show you how far we’ve come…which is a good thing.

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