Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest blogger: Kristina McBride - My Greatest Gift to You

We at Fine Print are very excited to bring a series of posts by local authors. We have asked them to share their thoughts about their favorite book, something they've read recently, or the role reading has played in their lives.  Kristina McBride is the author of The Tension of Opposites and One Moment, just published in June.  A former English teacher and yearbook advisor at Springboro High School, she has dreamed of being an author since she was a child and lived across the street from a library. You can find out more about Kristina at www.kristinamcbride.com, follow her on Facebook, Twitter , and Goodreads. Kristina McBride will be one of the authors featured at A Tasting With Friends at Benham's Grove on September 13. For more information on this event or to buy tickets, check out this page.

 I love books – everything about books – the way they smell and feel, getting lost in their stories, sharing those stories with friends, and, especially, thinking about the characters and plot days after completing a read. One of the best gifts I can offer to another is the exhilaration of a good read, and as an author, I’m often asked to share a book that I love. Funny enough, this is nearly impossible for me to do. Why? Because I love so many books, I can hardly focus on one. So, today, I have chosen to share three of my most recent favorites – a middle grade, a young adult, and an adult. It’s only fair that I hit all age groups, right? Right! So, let’s go . . .

Wonder – R.J. Palacio – Middle Grade – 8-and-up
Palacio’s Wonder is breathtaking and I truly believe that everyone should read it. That’s right, everyone. The main character, Auggie – one of those people who will slip effortlessly into your heart – is about to enter the fifth grade, but he has been home-schooled his entire life due to a terrible facial deformity. The book begins as Auggie’s parents challenge him with the idea of enrolling in a public school. Auggie bravely agrees to take this terrifying step, and he faces the trials that follow with a grace and kindness that we should all learn to exemplify. A great read for teachers and parents to share with any child 8 years or older – the discussions this one may inspire are endless. For a list of questions, see the discussion guide provided on the author’s website. (http://rjpalacio.com/for-teachers.html)

The List – Siobhan Vivian -- Young Adult – 12-and-up
Vivian’s The List alternates between eight complex characters – aged freshman through senior – showing the reaction of each after finding their name on the traditional “Ugliest/Prettiest” list that is posted widely throughout their high school on a yearly basis. As the eight main characters and others around them react to the labels and the ripple effect these labels initiate, the reader follows the characters as they deal with the tangle of emotions that come with cultivating a sense of identity. Dealing with serious topics (eating disorders, bullying, sexual identity), this book is powerful and moving, taking an honest look at the way status works in the lives of contemporary teens, but in a way that is never preachy or forceful. The writing feels real, the thoughts and dialogue ring true to the modern teen, and the characters are all unique and so very authentic. In a word: Ah-mazing.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn - Adult – Very, Very Adult
Holy, oh my goodness, this book! I cannot say much for fear of spoiling, but let me just start with this. It’s twisted. Really twisted. And I absolutely loved it! (Insert giddy laughter). I’ll share the premise, but cannot go beyond the opening scenes without spiraling into the realm of Ruining The Book. Gone Girl begins with a couple who have been married for five years – exactly. On the day of their anniversary, the wife goes missing. The husband quickly becomes the primary suspect. And he is a very (very) unreliable character. Flynn uses diary entries going back to when the couple first met as a clever way of introducing the reader to the vanished wife. This book has it all: a fascinating weave of intricate characters; a complex, hold-on-for-the-ride plot; and an exceptionally smart and witty narrative. (Vulgarity Warning – this one would be rated R, just so you know.)

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