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Summary: Morgan Parker is an angry teenager. As she sees it, life is less a journey than a series of really bad things that happen to her. Just as she begins to see some sun through the clouds, Morgan learns her grandmother is dying. Now she must decide which path to take: follow the loud, negative voice inside, or listen to the words of hope she hears from friends. This is a young adult novel with a Christian theme.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 10 to 13
Interest Level: 9 to 13
Young Reader Reaction: review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story has great potential. The author can speak like her target audience, but does not offer them characters with any real depth. You can find every stereotypical scenario (divorce, teen sex, abuse, etc.) in the plot line. Morgan's grandmother is a key player, yet she is barely visible in the story and, ultimately, is the catalyst for a fantasy portion that takes away from the books value.
Pros: The story speaks to teenage girls. The descriptions of their opinions, moods, and peer activities are dead on. Every student who is going through the trials and tribulations of adolescence will relate to Morgan Parker and her friends. Parents and teachers, who want to better understand the adolescents in their care, will find this book a real gem.
Cons: The episodic style mitigated the author's efforts to build characters with depth and let us more clearly see how Morgan connected to key players. The author over-used quotations at every chapter.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Teens will find value in the book. Had the author shown the reader that everyone DOES have someone to talk to (like Morgan's grandmother), this would likely be a "buy" recommendation.
Educational Themes: Morgan serves as a great catalyst for discussions about friendship, faith, parent/child relationships, problem solving, self esteem, the joys and fears of being a teen, and others. It would be easy (early on in the book) to read a chapter and then open discussion about choices and actions.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, coming of age, Christian, self worth, family