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Archive for the ‘Social Problems’ Category

small-great-thingsWhen Ruth Jefferson, a labour and delivery nurse with more than twenty years’ experience working in a small U.S hospital is told she is no longer permitted to touch the new-born infant she had recently attended, her world is shattered.  Then, when three days later, the baby dies while momentarily left in her care, Ruth finds herself at the centre of a court case accused of negligent homicide.  With her world imploding, this single mother who has only ever tried to do what is right and good for her family, her friends, her co-workers and her patients, finds herself alone.  Grappling to be understood by those around her, the only solace she can find is to trust the white, middle class lawyer who has been appointed by the court – a person whose life experience is the complete antithesis of her own.  Another compelling and well written page turner from Jodi Picoult which focuses on the complex issue of racism that plagues communities across the US.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitability:  Year 9-12+

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me-you
Fourteen year old Lorenzo, a loner who tries very hard to ‘fit in’ tells his parents that he has been invited to go on a skiing holiday for a week with a group of kids from school.  Instead of going, he hides out in the cellar of his apartment block.  All is well until his half sister, Olivia, appears and wants to share his hiding place.  Ammaniti is a gifted writer who chooses difficult issues and confronts them head on.  The Italian title of this book is “io e te”.

Although this could be a somewhat confusing read for a YA reader, the message it sends is powerful.

Rating:  ****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitability:  Year 10-12

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The bone sparrowBorn in a refugee detention centre, life seems hopeless for Subhi.  With nothing to do, he wanders through the day mulling over the constant hunger and filth he and others endure and the brutality of the guards who keep them interned in the isolated detention centre. A single ray of hope enters his life though when Jimmie, a scruffy impatient girl appears from the other side of the fence and shows empathy, way beyond her years, for Subhi’s intolerable life.  This poignant read, which tells the story of refugees, particularly children, who find themselves caught in an ongoing battle with the Australian Government, is beautifully written and well deserving of a YA literature award!

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitability: Year 9-12+

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Castagna - Incredible here and nowHurt in a motor car accident, Michael and his family struggle coming to terms with the death of Dom, their brother, son and grandson.  This is a story of grief and love as a family learns to cope with the unexpected and continue their journey of life.  Sad and at times confronting, the novel is, at its end, uplifting.

 

Rating: ***
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitability: Year 9-12

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Being an author is certainly a very demanding job.   But being the author of a ‘difficult to talk about’ let alone ‘write about’ subject is something that fills me with admiration.

‘A secret safe to tell’ written by Naomi Hunter, is a book which falls into this category.  Based on her own life experience, Naomi has bravely broached this subject not just as a way of working through her own healing, but as an important subject that needs to be discussed sensitively with young children.

A secret safe to tell

As I read the online article in the Daily Mail Australia published just yesterday, it made me both sad and angry to learn that publishers had shied away from accepting the manuscript for publishing as it was a ‘risky topic to invest in’.   For all those who could have been helped by a book of this nature, the loss is achingly hard to acknowledge.

A secret safe to tell will be launched in Melbourne on Sunday 26th October: 3.-00 – 6.00pm at St Raphael, Nicholas and Irene: 531 Centre Road, Bentleigh when Naomi will be reading her book and taking questions. Further details are in this flyer.   Naomi can also be found on Facebook.

SSTT

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Determined to escape the poverty and crime linked to her home and family, Mim takes an oath with her best friend to stick to ‘rules’ that will deliver them a better life than those around them.  But just nine days before her 17th birthday, Mim’s life takes an unexpected turn when the parcel her Mum forces her to collect from a local drug dealer is taken from her.   This first novel, by new YA author Vikki Wakefield, is gritty and confronting. Mature themes including a near rape scene.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitable:   Year 10-12+

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Finding out who you are, after you have died, is a fairly morbid storyline.   But throw into the story numeorus deviant social behaviours such as drugs, sex, anorexia, drink driving and depression to name just a few, and the story becomes even more morbid.  At 437 pages, this is one hefty read.  Unfortunately it wasn’t until page 235 that I got interested to find out where the story was heading.   Some serious editing of this tome by Jessica Warman may help to make it a better read.   Disturbing mature themes throughout.

Rating:  ***
Theme Fiction:  Social Problems
Suitable:  Year 11-12

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