Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

4.5 stars Middle School

As Callum bowed, he extended his hand towards Mila and he touched her.  He really did.  He touched her sweater again; Mila was sure of it.  Claiming it was Leo’s birthday, Mila gave him a hug, an innocent hug. It was the words that left his mouth that told her that she had been deceived.  Mila feels alone, why was this happening to her and how can she stop it?

Confiding with her closest friends, Mila finds that their reactions are different which then, play a significant role in their friendship.  It was the action that a few of Mila friends do, after Mila talked with them, that I couldn’t believe they actually did.  What kind of “friends” were they?  Trying to find an adult to talk to, was difficult.  Oh why, did this have to be so hard?

This is a great book that addresses sexual harassment at the middle school level.  If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right and it should stop.  If you need to talk to someone, find someone, anyone and the sooner the better.  Telling someone to stop, doesn’t always work.  This book needs to be read by everyone.

Hill Women by Cassie Chambers

4 stars Nonfiction

Just outside Owsley County, you’ll discover this narrow, gravel road that’ll lead you straight down into a holler, that’s surrounded by trees. That’s Cow Creek. It’s almost hidden, this small community in Kentucky.  This is why Cassie Chambers wanted to get the word out about the women in this area before they are forgotten and also, to make this area more visible to the public.  This area was home to Cassie before she headed off to college to become a lawyer.  I really enjoyed this book as Cassie told us about her family, herself, and this small community.  

Cassie decided to practice law in rural Kentucky to make a difference.  Wanting to represent women who couldn’t afford an attorney, Cassie headed to her hometown where, she knew that her services were needed.

Cassie’s story is personal as she serves her community.  She makes a lot of interesting points in this book but there was one that I remembered reading early, that stayed with me as I read the rest of the book.  This comment was about education in this area.  She mentioned that the men in this area, don’t see education as important for anyone.  Why?  Because for one, the men have all the opportunities that are available in the area so why would they need an education? Two: if a woman should get an education, that would change the opportunities that would be available to her (indicating a bad idea).  For everyone knows that the only job that a woman should have, is their own home.  How interesting is that?

With this way of thinking, the abuse, the seclusion, and the poverty, I felt deeply for these women and grateful that Cassie chose to come home to help them.

This is Cassie’s story, a tribute to the amazing women who raised her.  It was an interesting story and I enjoyed reading about Cassie’s life. 

The Year We Fell From Space by A.S. King

5 stars Middle School

This is an important novel that addresses divorce and depression for children, that speaks their language. Addressing the promises, the hopes, the disappointments, the stresses, the anger, the blame, and just about every emotion that a child feels as their parents separate and divorce, this book confronts them directly.  A.S. King delivers another great book.

The arguing the occurs between Liberty’s parents has reached its limit and now, her dad was moving out.  He was making promises to Liberty and her sister, Jilly to smooth out the situation but nothing he could say would ever make this move easy. Liberty and her dad were close.  They spent a lot of time together, they loved to unravel the night sky together.

Liberty’s world begins to fall apart when her father moves out of the house yet she keeps everything inside her.  She continues to try to find comfort in the night sky but like everything else in her world, it just isn’t there anymore.  Wishing upon stars, asking for guidance, Liberty calls upon the night to help restore her balance. Liberty is spiraling.

I liked the difference between the two sisters.  Liberty was the older sister and she tried to keep her emotions inside and in-control. Her younger sister, Jilly made me smile and laugh numerous times, as she’s young, carefree and she’d let’s go with what’s on her mind, when given the chance.  Liberty couldn’t talk openly so what she really needed was to talk privately with some individuals throughout the book but she just couldn’t. 

I enjoyed how the book dealt with all the different emotions that occur during a divorce. Children are a major part of a divorce yet some parents feel that they’re not, forget to include them, or just don’t want to get them involved.  Children need to be able to talk about their feelings, ask questions and get a truthful (as truthful as they can handle) response to their questions.  Children need to feel valued and respected during this time. I think this book addressed these topics very well. 

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.  Another fantastic book by A.S. King!