Tag Archives: Realistic Fiction

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen OneThe Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book of loving family, religious fanaticism, abuse and independence, this book is GUARANTEED to make the most hard-hearted person cry for a good 15 minutes. This novel is well-written with a distinct voice and an urgent tone. You cannot help but empathize with the protagonist–indeed you can’t help but empathize with almost all the characters. I can’t imagine the trauma or the pain or the community developed throughout this book with the contradictory need to run and stay.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a suspenseful, poignant, quick read. You will not be disappointed.

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Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very poignant and realistic narrative about a brilliant 11 year old with cerebral palsy. She has never been able to talk, walk or take care of herself, but she yearns to be normal, to be able to talk and to be part of a group.

With supportive parents, a great nurse family friend and a loving puppy, she is able to communicate and learn.

This book is an exploration is Otherness, in acceptance and able-bodied outsiders. It makes you think about your privilege of able-bodiedness and the struggles of being outside the norm.

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“Zora and Me” by Victoria Bond

Zora and MeZora and Me by Victoria Bond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was…interesting. It was a great look into Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood and an interesting take on a southern childhood. But some of the story felt forced, and sometimes it felt slow. It wove several story lines and sweeping themes together rather neatly and it would prove an interesting read along side some of Hurston’s own work.

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Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X Stork

Marcelo In The Real WorldMarcelo In The Real World by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is such a beautiful book. You have to read it. It provides clear distinctions of morality without being didactic, yet allows for the gray areas of right and wrong. Marcelo’s character feels immediate and present.

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Sold by Patricia McCormick

McCormick, Patricia (2006). Sold. New York: Hyperion. 272 pages.

Four years after its publication and gaining status as a National Book Award Finalist, I finally read Sold. I expected a laborious and emotional strain considering the subject matter of selling girls into prostitution. It may be fictionalized, but the reality of such actions remains true. Sex trafficking of women and young girls is a topic that interests me–it is one that lures me, much like Law & Order SVU lures one into its perverted world. I want to deny that such depravity exists, yet at the same time, I want to learn all I can. That being said, Sold is a Young Adult novel; it is not overly graphic, but it is emotionally poignant. Lakshmi’s poor family sells her to a woman who promises her a job in the city as a maid. Lakshmi thinks that she will be paid as a maid with wages to send home to her family; she does not realize that she is to be sold as a sex worker in a brothel where it will be nearly impossible for her to ever earn her freedom.

Told in short chapters in first person, Lakshmi relates her experience with short, staccato sentences that reflect her confusion, joy, fear, doubt, longing, hope and disgust. Her words are impactful and sparse, with some chapters relaying merely a sentence. The horrors of the brothel could easily be too much to handle both for myself and for young adult readers, but since the narrative is through Lakshmi’s point-of-view, the reader navigates the situations with the same detachment as the protagonist. Lakshmi focuses on the hope of leaving, on making friends and retreating into herself for comfort. Her emotions are raw, but she defends herself with hope of home and a peace outside the realm of Mumtaz’s brothel. Sold reflects Patricia McCormick’s research effectively, creating a voice that is realistic and compelling. Lakshmi’s situation is outside the realm of most teenage relatability, but this novel educates while still providing an opening of identity between the narrator and the reader. Lakshmi takes joy in games and learning, of friendship and hope; it is her imprisonment and inability to gain freedom that will allow readers to empathize with her struggle. I was hardly able to read the final three enigmatic lines, the lines of hope:

“My name is Lakshmi.

I am from Nepal.

I am fourteen years old.”

These lines coupled with the short chapter “Sold” from pages 105-108 which  shows Lakshmi’s realization that she is not to be a maid for a city family are particularly emotional, reflective of Lakshmi’s narrative cadence and should draw potential readers into this world of pain, betrayal and loss of childhood.

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