Connecting Dots by Sharon Jennings

February 18, 2015

Connecting Dots Publisher: Second Story Press; Series: ‘Gutsy Girl’ ; 183p.:c2015

Sharon Jennings’ long anticipated companion to the multi-nominated book Home Free has finally been launched!

Connecting Dots is the heart wrenching story of feisty Cassandra Jovanovich, Leanne Mets’ ‘bosom’ friend, first introduced in ‘Home Free’.

We are given a small hint that our central character  has a very direct and forthright attitude, as she remarks on her friend’s constant inquisitiveness about her life. The italicized word “my” in the sentence “so I am sitting at my desk in my room” is a subtle indicator for the reader that this tiny word will become important in the narrative of Cassie’s life.

Society in the late ’50’s and early 60’s often dictated the social norms of the day. It is for this reason that every aspect of family life comes under close scrutiny when the circumstances of Cassie’s birth are established. At age 5 with the untimely passing of her Grandmother, we see how Cassie’s sliver of childhood innocence rapidly diminishes as she is passed through the ranks of various relatives.

Over time she is looked upon as a liability. Facing ongoing criticism, her confusion and mistrust merge into a mask of stubborn defiance. Cassie’s constant ‘tough -act’ demeanor translates further when participating in a school play her ‘acting skills’ win her positive praise. Amazed at how she feels on stage, she vows to explore this revelation and strives to hone it into a new found career.  Cassie faces the ultimate test and when she freezes it is Lee’s genuine open-minded belief in her that comes to the rescue. It is at this awkward moment that the reader is given a glimpse of the real Cassie beneath the cultivated tenacious exterior.

I found this tale of a harrowing childhood to be a sensitive coming of age portrayal. Ms Jennings’ has written Cassie’s story with great perceptiveness and understanding, which is communicated to the reader who in turn cannot help but become an unshakable champion of Cassandra Jovanovich!

Spirited, inquisitive and quirky, “almost twelve-year old” Cassandra Jovanovich, exhibits such a fearlessness that despite all odds, the reader cannot help but admire, applaud and ….be…..amazed!

Highly Recommended!!!     Be prepared “to be amazed at what will emerge!”

Reading Ability: Junior : Intermediate (Grade 6,7,8)

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: Abuse; Acceptance; Grief; Courage; Coming of Age; Acting, Actors; Friendship; Social bias;

Second Story Press: http://secondstorypress.ca/books/175-home-free

Author Interviews : http://www.openbooktoronto.com/atsintziras/blog/interview_with_sharon_Jennings

 

Thank you to SECOND STORY Press for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Punch like a girl by Karen Krossing

January 19, 2015

 

Punch-Like-a-Girl

Punch like a girl  by Karen Krossing

Published by: Orca Book Publishers [ditigal ARC provided by ORCA]

c.2015

It’s not the girl in the fight; it the fight in the girl”

 

These words are written with the same style of slashed font as the title on the cover.  Each chapter is headed by a strongly written-like word that stares you straight in the face.

Looking at the cover, you are drawn in by the inoffensive beautiful butterfly, but are taken aback by the almost thickly painted-style of the words that are all in CAPS.

The first sentence… the first seven words …  are so evocative in creating an image in the reader’s mind, that one cannot help but be swept up into the torment and turmoil that the protagonist is in the midst of experiencing. Told in the first person, the short swift sentences, are like verbal ‘punches‘ that seem to reflect an inner agony yet to be revealed.

Outrage, resentment and indignation slowly wrap around Tori becoming her armour.  Choosing to remain silent, her inner struggles become magnified through a tough defiant  posture and attitude.  This new Tori,  is a person that her closest friends and family now have difficulty understanding. Withdrawing even further within herself, a compulsive reaction lands Tori into a confrontation with consequences and an outcome that could carry changes for her, if only she is strong enough to accept them.

Punch like a girl” is an explosive and addictive story that will grip the reader with suspense from the jabbing first sentences until the end!!

A compelling, moving and powerfully emotional story!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Grade level: Intermediate and Senior

AUTHOR WEBLINK: http://karenkrossing.com/

Booktrailer: http://youtu.be/cO1_-8JlG1M