Light and Dark

My Lucky Star by Joe Keenan In Keenan’s third offering featuring former lover Phillip and Gilbert and their best pal Claire, the action is fast, furious, and hilarious. (No, I haven’t read the first two, either, but I might look them up.) Phillip is crushed over the failure of his and Claire’s latest play in New York. Gilbert is in L.A. visiting his mother and her new husband, a famous movie producer. Faster that you can say “transcontinental flight”, Gilbert is pulling strings to get Phillip, Claire and himself a job screenwriting a schmaltzy World War II flick for a renowned action producer. Now, as long as no one with any background in film history finds the sample script Gilbert turned in, they’ll be off to a promising new career. When closeted male action star Stephen Donato turns out to be involved, Phillip offers to spy on Stephen’s aunt Lilly and help with her memoir-writing, in a desperate bid both to keep the script-writing job and gain Stephen’s favor. Keeping Gilbert from getting them into any more trouble gets even harder when Gilbert’s blackmailing ex-wife, Moira, turns up. Phillip’s narrative is full of snappy cultural references and self-deprecating humor, and the action doesn’t let up in this hilarious comic caper.

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja Justin is an ordinary boy in an ordinary high school, a high school with a strict social hierarchy violently enforced by those on the top. Justin keeps his place in the middle mostly by staying under the radar with his friends Jakob and Megan. Then a new boy comes – Michael, who calls himself Jinsen. With his shaved head, hand-me-downs, and begging bowl, he immediately draws attention to himself. At first, Justin avoids the freak along with everyone else. Then he finds himself drawn towards Jinsen by a shared interest in art. This unfortunately only serves to make Jinsen a bigger target for the bullies of the school – but what does a bully do when a victim refuses to play along? The characters and the cruelty are familiar, but Koja does a spectacular job of telling a story that is realistic without being preachy, saccharine, or devoid of hope. Jinsen’s character manages never to cross the fine line over which sanctimoniousness and unbelievability lie. Justin, too, grows a healthy amount of spine over the course of the book. The story is especially well suited to the audio production, where it is read by a full cast, bringing the teen voices even more fully to life.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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