Friday, March 18, 2011


Claire is special. Lightning causes her to sometimes switch bodies with other girls whose birthdays are close to hers. She was lucky to learn about this from her grandmother, a ghost/spirit who’s been around all Claire’s life- since her own death before Claire’s birth. Her grandmother’s story is intriguing- revealed later in the story to Claire for the first time. But her role in the story is to inhabit Claire’s body when Claire leaves it so that Claire will be able to return to herself safely. She can only do that when asleep. So it is extremely odd  (and a little hard to believe, even when you are suspending disbelief) when a mere shock of static electricity puts her in another girl’s body. And she can’t leave because she actually likes being the attractive girl that all the boys stare at, especially her swim teammate Nate, the Golden Boy. Eventually, she learns to appreciate her own body and life more than the one she’s been inhabiting for several days, as she learns the bad things about the other girl’s body and life.  Nice tidy story with a happy ending.  And a pretty good read in the meantime- light and definitely beach worthy as the setting is a coastal town.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


What do you think a boy nicknamed Bruiser is going to be like? Here's a hint: he was voted most likely to go to jail. He's a pretty big guy, and very quiet. Maybe a little misunderstood. Bronte, working in the library, decides to help him as he wanders around the poetry section. In high school, most guys don't spend a lot of time in the poetry section- at least, not guys with a reputation like Bruiser's. Their short conversation intrigues her- he had a particular author in mind- and she decides he is date-worthy. However, for her popular twin brother Tennyson, Bruiser is not the right guy for his intelligent sister. Tennyson starts watching Bruiser so he can report the would-be boyfriend's horrendous habits back to his loveblind sister. But what he finds instead is a very protected 10 year old brother, a very mean uncle, and a very rundown shack. What Tennyson witnesses changes his mind completely about Bruiser. So Bronte is free to continue her romance and the twins get closer to the mysterious boy. They begin to notice strange things when they are around him. Strange things about him. Disturbing, but not at all in the way they once thought of a boy named Bruiser. What if his nickname isn't because he causes bruises, but heals them? What if his distanced personality is way he protects himself? What if everyone had a story to explain their behavoir? Maybe you should find out the truth before you judge someone. That's what Bronte and Tennyson learn in Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman.