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May 2023

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

27th February 2012

A worthy addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. It was similar in style and feel to Life as We Knew It. When a supervolcano erupts unexpectedly near Alex’s Iowa home, he is separated from his parents. Desperate to reunite with them, he begins the dangerous journey in the midst of a cataclysmic ashfall. Facing hunger, injury and violence, Alex also finds unexpected friendship and help. I’m eager to read the sequel, Ashen Winter, due out in October.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

29th November 2011

Alex is on a solo camping trip in the UP, mourning her dead parents and trying to come to peace with a deadly brain tumor of her own, when a shower of EMP’s are detonated. Alex begins a journey to find some answers and some survivors, with orphaned Ellie under her wing. The girls soon discover that the EMP not only destroyed all computers, but it killed many people, and changed the survivors in sometimes horrifying ways. When Tom, a soldier with secrets of his own, joins their little band, the three friends struggle to stay together and to survive in their new, horrifying world.

Suspenseful and tense. A bit too gruesome in parts for me; I had to skim over some sections. But overall, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen, and the cliffhanger ending will stay with me for some time.

Because the family is running out of money, Rachel, her siblings and her Pop must move from their New York apartment to an abandoned farm upstate. When they get there, Rachel’s Pop discovers that a promised job is no longer his, and so he must leave the siblings on their own for several months to go find work. Rachel and her younger brother and sister are on their own, determined to prove to their Pop that they can care for the family’s new farm. If you love historical, survive against the odds, fiction as I do, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a perfect choice for upper elementary and middle school girls.

Retta has dreams of making it big as a country music star in Nashville. After graduating from high school, she heads to the city to pursue a music career. Although she knew it would be difficult, Retta didn’t realize how hard it would be to break into the business, and when family drama calls her home, she begins to wonder if she should just give up her dream altogether.

Supplee begins each chapter of her book with a brief bio of a real country singer. I enjoyed Retta’s story, which was sweet without being nauseating, and had enough surprises in it to keep it from becoming too predictable. A quality addition to the “follow your dreams” genre.

A fictionalized account of the life of Helmuth Hubener, a German teenager who had the courage to stand up to the Nazis in Germany, at the cost of his life. Bartoletti explores how Hubener came to be drawn into the Hitler Youth Movement, and what possibly might have motivated him to sacrifice everything to tell the German people the truth about Nazi atrocities. Bartoletti wrote this book after researching Hubener’s life for her non-fiction book, Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow.

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