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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Wild Geese by Carolyn Pignat

November 25, 2010

 

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Red Deer Press; 1 edition (Sep 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889954321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889954328
  • Wild Geese  is the long anticipated sequel to Carolyn Pignat’s poignant book Greener Grass.

    When I saw this title , I just snapped it up and devoured it in one sitting! It is the story of Irish immigration in the years 1845-47 to Canada,during the “Great Hunger”, where families were fleeing the destitute and poverty-stricken land that called home, Ireland. This is a tale of strength, courage, determination, grit, love,  faith and adventure. Through Kit’s narrative we cannot  help but be drawn into the sufferings and deprivations that family upon family had to endure during these lengthy ocean crossings. Pignat ‘s descriptive prose has skillfully brought to life an almost forgotten a part of Canadian history…and time of great trial, tribulation and opportunity.

    Although this is a sequel to Greener Grass, Wild Geese can stand alone. However by  reading the first book it will allow readers to better understand the harrowing  ordeals of the Irish immigrants.

    Reading ability: Intermediate / Senior level; Grade 7, 8, 9

    Genre: Historical fiction, Canadian

    Who would like this book? This book will appeal to those interested in ancestry, historical fiction, and adventure


    Dragon Seer by Janet McNaughton

    February 16, 2010

    The book Dragon Seer by Canadian Author, Janet McNaughton, had me from the first pages!  A book set in what are the Orkney Islands and the long forgotten race of people known as the Picts, makes for a wonderful read. The reader is caught up with Madoca story;  a strong character who struggles with revenge and her impulsiveness — and her diemma of how should she rescue her beloved charges from annihilation? We watch how Madoca training , determaintion and personal growth also earns her  Tollie’s respect and admiration. Her eventual  maturity  allows her to reach a painful decision for saving her dragons.

    Though a teen read, this book of magic, history and dragons will definately appeal to the more mature reader as well!

    Reading ability:  Intermediate; Senior

    Genre: Fantasy; Historical fiction; Romance

    Theme: Magic ; Dragons; Orphans; Love

    Who would like this book?  Girls looking for strong women role models; readers interested in dragons, history and magic!

    Authors, Website: http://www.janetmcnaughton.ca/