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Reviews Written by
Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, New Brunswick Canada)

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Paper Covers Rock
Paper Covers Rock
by Jenny Hubbard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Shades of genius, Oct. 26 2012
This review is from: Paper Covers Rock (Paperback)
I loved so much about this book - the writing is beautiful and fresh, and the story grabbed and held me most of the way through. I found it weaker toward the end but the main flaw, as I saw it, was that the protagonist experienced so little real growth, despite the events and interventions that took place during the story. With numerous opportunities and incentives to make better decisions, he continued along like a spineless pawn in the game of his own life.

I believe this book will find a wider readership among adults than with the young people for whom it's written. That is unfortunate, as there are many issues and opportunities for discussion and reflection.

Wonder
Wonder
by R. J. Palacio
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 12.99
43 used & new from CDN$ 9.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take the good with the bad, Aug. 2 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
This promising story failed to deliver what I felt it could have, dealing, as it was, with a hard-hitting and edgy subject. August, a severely deformed student (in a society that so worships beauty) enters school for the first time, and faces some of the reactions one might expect under these circumstances.

The problems I had with the story were:

- The story is told by August, his sister Via, his friend Jack, and Via's boyfriend Justin, yet the characters' voices were all very similar.
- The characters were largely one-dimensional and this detracted from the emotional impact that more realistic portrayals could have achieved.
- August's parents were practically saints.
- The dialogue often did not ring true.
- Some happenings were too bizarre to be believable. For example, the school principal sends an email to parents of a child who has been assaulted, and in this message he launches into character praise of the responsible child.
- The ending tied everything up far too neatly.

The biggest problem I had with the story structure was the way conflicts were almost glossed over. There was far too little shown of what August (and even Jack) went through during periods of adversity and shunning. This was, unfortunately, a missed opportunity.

In my opinion, a story that is meant to offer an honest depiction of life as a deformed child owes more to the reader than pat resolutions on all fronts, with the lone remaining bad guy neatly removed, and everyone else living happily ever after.

Despite all of that, I did enjoy much about "Wonder" and was entertained enough to read through to the end. Younger readers will undoubtedly find far less to fault in this story, and may well benefit from seeing the world through the experiences of someone like August. If it can help to make young readers into kinder, more thoughtful people, then all of this book's shortcomings can be easily forgiven.

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War  
Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War  
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.66
13 used & new from CDN$ 3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Told!, Nov. 11 2011
Marsha Skrypuch's novels never disappoint, and the same can be said for this, her first work of non-fiction. Last Airlift acquaints the reader with the young Tuyet, an eight-year-old living in a Vietnamese orphanage in 1975. Tuyet has a damaged leg, and has given up on being chosen for adoption. When the war threatens the safety of the orphans, they are transported to a new world, and this is where Skrypuch's prose shines brightest. One can feel the nervousness, the excitement, the wonder and the fears of leaving behind all that is familiar and going to a land where the future is unknown. Tuyet hopes for the best, but she does not hope too hard. Life has shown her that this can only lead to disappointment - but things are about to change for this courageous child. I recommend this book for children and adults alike - it is a lovely story, told with simple grace.

Mind Gap
Mind Gap
by Marina Cohen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 1.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner by Marina Cohen, May 20 2011
This review is from: Mind Gap (Paperback)
You'll hardly have time to catch your breath as you race, along with Jake, against shifting time. With his world tilting out of control, Jake never knows when he opens his eyes whether it will be yesterday, today, or tomorrow. The only thing that's certain is that one wrong step could mean tragedy for everyone around him.

Free as a Bird
Free as a Bird
by Gina McMurchy-Barber
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.69
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Through Ruby Jean's eyes, April 17 2011
This review is from: Free as a Bird (Paperback)
Free as a Bird is a touching story told by Ruby Jean, a little girl with Down syndrome who is sent to an institution by her mother.

Ruby Jean's voice is remarkably authentic and will almost certainly capture your heart. Her innocently honest view of the world and her struggle to understand and deal with the cruel way she knows the world views HER, are beautifully depicted by author Gina McMurchy-Barber.

Every teen and adult should read this story. It is an important contribution to the way we see those who are different from the 'norm.'

Stolen Child
Stolen Child
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
16 used & new from CDN$ 1.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trail of memories, Feb. 6 2010
This story is sure to captivate youngsters as they read about Nadia, whose past is a mystery that slowly reveals itself to her once she feels safe enough to explore it. As a newcomer to Canada, Nadia has questions about where she came from and why - memories that ought to be pleasant, but instead seem horrible and frightening.

Through a sequence of flashbacks that are triggered by everyday occurrences, Skrypuch fills in the blanks of Nadia's past, and ends the story on a hopeful note.

Highly recommended!

Daughter of War
Daughter of War
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step back in time..., June 25 2008
This review is from: Daughter of War (Paperback)
Daughter of War is yet another example of Marsha Skrypuch's ability to tell a tragic story without bitterness or anger. Picking up where Nobody's Child left off, this book takes the reader through to the emancipation of Armenia and the Allied victory of 1918. Deftly weaving together the lives and movements of several characters, the reader is treated to a compelling overview of events without losing the personal connections the author has created. Skrypuch handles the subject matter with a gentleness that deliberately contrasts with the events of the war and horrors faced by its victims. Beautifully done!

Dear Canada: Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Ukrainian Internment Diary of Anya Soloniuk, Spirit Lake, Quebec, 1914
Dear Canada: Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Ukrainian Internment Diary of Anya Soloniuk, Spirit Lake, Quebec, 1914
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.55

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skrypuch Shines in Dear Canada Story!, Aug. 17 2007
Marsha Skrypuch has written an absolutely lovely story in this, the newest volume of the Dear Canada series.

Prisoners in the Promised Land tells of one family's journey from their home in Austria-Hungary to a new life in the land of promise. Told through the eyes of young Anya Soloniuk, readers will find their hearts fully engaged as they read how Anya and her family's bright hopes are replaced by hardships and imprisonment.

Skrypuch manages to maintain a tone that is neither self-pitying nor judgemental. Rather, she expertly sustains the innocent, gentle voice of Anya, who wonders why her family was encouraged to come to a country only to be placed in an internment camp, though they had done nothing wrong.

Start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories
Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 7.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Memories made Memorable, Oct. 4 2006
Kobzar's Children is a lovely volume of stories and poems that tell of hardships endured through a dreadful history. Even so, hope, love and a quiet grace are mingled with the accounts of sorrow and suffering, allowing the overall message to be one that demands respect rather than pity.

Marsha Skrypuch has done an amazing job of editing and is to be congratulated for the work and care she so obviously invested in this book.

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