We Are All So Good At Smiling by Amber McBride

5 stars YA Mental Health

This book was a bit more abstract than I had originally anticipated.  I felt I was dancing around through the beginning pages of the book trying to get inside what was happening so I could fit it all together.  What put this book into motion? 

I could feel the emotions in the text and the flow of this book was fantastic.  The sentences were arranged on the pages, just so.  I felt it.  I could feel the energy and the pauses without even looking.

“You can’t avoid this forever

or you’ll end up back here

again & again & …….

Mom’s voice trails off.

                           I swallow,

                      filling in the blanks.

                  Until I don’t…….until I am gone.

                                               I’ll try harder,

                                                  I promise.”

She’s being treated at the hospital for depression. Whimsy can count on both hands the times that she’s been hospitalized for her illness but this time, it’ll be different.  Watching from her window, a car approaches the hospital and she notices the mint-green hair.  He’s alone.  She sees something in his shadow and now, she needs to know more about this boy.  Really, did she really see this? I think she better check again. Who is Whimsy and now, who is this boy that she calls Fae boy.

In the hospital, Whimsy goes to group therapy where she assigns all the individuals who attend, a Fairy Tale name.  These names correspond to a specific trait of that individual so they’re actually fitting but some of these names, I wasn’t familiar with.  Therefore, “a boy with mint-green hair (an actual Fae-I believe) actually named Faerry.” And “the silent one with stories on her skin & magic like electricity in her hair – that would be Me (Whimsy).”  Whimsy has an old notebook that she’s had for many years, that she treasures.  Inside this notebook, she writes Fairy Tales, ones that she has created and ones that were told to her.  I found this notebook very interesting as I think it reflects a lot about Whimsy.

Once Whimsy and Fae are released from the hospital, their relationship continues as Fae’s family moves closer to where Whimsy’s family resides.  It’s a magical, fairy tale world as the two friends discover a forest which is more than just trees.  As the book progresses, the story came together and Whimsy was able to fully show herself.  We are all so good at smiling but what are our smiles really hiding?  I enjoy reading books dealing with these types of issues and I really loved how the author used poetry to convey her thoughts.  The cover of this book is incredible.  

Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

5 stars Children’s

Molly Lou Melon does it again!  She’s loud, lively, and energetic, but she uses those in a positive way. That’s what I like about Molly Lou Melon.  In this picture book, Molly takes the lessons that she has learned about honesty, friendship, and responsibility to her classroom when Bettina Bonklehead turns into a bully.

It started when Molly Lou Melon sat in the front row of the classroom with two of her friends on the first day of school.  Perhaps it was because Molly Lou smiled her huge toothy grin at all of her friends, perhaps it was because she carried her big yellow backpack to school, perhaps it was because she had big black hair, perhaps it was because she had on a striped shirt, or perhaps it was because Bettina was having a bad morning, the thing is…..we don’t know why Bettina decided to start picking on the kids in her class that day.  Nevertheless, Bettina snickered out a commented to the three friends which wasn’t very nice.  But I did like Molly Lou’s response and the look on Bettina’s face. 

Later, when Molly Lou Melon is partnered with Bettina in winter, Molly didn’t let Bettina’s previous actions affect their relationship.  They had a good time even when things didn’t go quite as planned.  Molly kept her positive attitude and she inspired her peers to be better individuals.

This was a good feel book.  A great book to promote positive action and how to change a situation.  I liked how the book started out showing positive statements and then, the story followed.   The illustrations are wonderful, very animated and dramatic.  If you haven’t read one of Molly Lou Melon books yet, you should. 

The Whispers by Greg Howard

5 stars Children/Middle School

I absolutely got swept away in this children’s book and whether it was the Whispers, the hobgoblin, Riley’s “own condition” or the way Riley tried to unravel the mystery behind his mother’s disappearance, I had Riley’s back.  Since his mother’s disappearance, Riley’s life has gone off course and he’s the only one who can get it back where it belongs. 

They think Riley knows more about the day his mother disappeared and even though he tries to remember, he can’t remember much about that day.  One day she was here and the next day, she had vanished.  Riley is determined to solve this mystery and he’s determined to call upon the Whispers, to help him.

He’s been told that these fairies, need a tribute so they can do their magic and Riley is more than happy to provide them with one, if they can magically bring back his mother.  Riley and his dog, Tucker are quite the pair and when they go out hunting for the Whispers, my heart melted.  It was their anticipation as they got ready to embark on this journey, then it was the hope and the journey itself, as the two of them traveled out together, that swept me away. 

Riley is wrestling with many issues besides the disappearance of this mother right now. Things are stacking up and the pile is getting bigger: he’s trying to keep his sheets dry at night, his father is becoming more distant from him, Riley is getting tired of being bullied at school because of his “condition,” and now, he’s been told about the hobgoblin, the one who lives in the trees, where the Whispers live.  The Whispers, the only help that Riley feels he has and now, they are shadowed by a hobgoblin?

I really enjoyed this novel a great deal. It was a great mystery, fantasy, and adventure book.  I thought it emotional read as Riley dealt with his own feelings and the events in his life.  This book actually gave me the shivers a few times as some of the events occurring in it, surprised me.  I highly recommend it.