Jenna and I have read together since she was a baby. After we had moved to West Valley, she researched a program for a Mother/Daughter book club (which I've mentioned in a few past posts) but I think Wonderstruck is the last thing that we read together.
I have tried to get her to read with me - but she's either too busy, not interested, or just seems to have outgrown us reading anymore. Too bad. I've recently read a couple that I think she would like.
The characters in both books are the same age as Jenna.
Rebel McKenzie (Candace F. Ransom) wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up (one who works with ice age mammals and not the dinosaurs). There is an Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari camp offered twice in the summer. She doesn't have the money, but decides to make her way to the camp - mostly without a plan of fitting in once she arrives - but gosh, darn-it, she scrapes her feet and gets reported as a run-away.
In order to keep her in line, her mom and sister decide that she will spend the summer watching her seven-year-old nephew. As if that wasn't bad enough, Rebel also has the responsibility of looking after the huge cat that's part of the rental agreement for her sister's trailer. Rebel is not happy.
Bambi is the girl who lives across the way. A winner and contestant of several beauty pageants. Rebel is not at all interested until she learns there is money involved. If she were to win a pageant, she would still have an opportunity to go to the second dig. Instead of keeping a close eye on her nephew, she drags him and his bully along to learn skills to help her succeed at winning a pageant. On the road to success, she makes discoveries that aren't ice age related. She forms friendships and matures faster than I believe is possible.
I enjoyed the narration and the humorous descriptions. I really liked how the story end - though it did take me by surprise. I found the growth of the character turned out quite fantastic.
The other book, After All, You're Callie Boone by Winnie Mack, had quite a bit of humor to it also. I laughed aloud and would read Jenna certain pages that I'd come across. In this book, Callie is also the same age as Jenna. Her best friend since the first grade has started hanging around with her nemesis, and she doesn't understand why. Amy won't even take the time to explain to Callie why they're not friends anymore, and learns the truth through vicious gossip.
Hoot moves into the house across the street. He befriends Callie, even though she is less than pleasant to him - and not just once. How can she possibly be seen around town with a boy? How would she explain him?
Callie is interested in swimming. After a fiasco at one pool, she is told to never return. she continues training at another with her dad's assistance.
Normally, I like books with polished endings and not ones that will leave the reader hanging to draw his or her own conclusions. I did not care for the last two chapters of this book because the ending is not polished. But then again, neither is life. Things happen that cannot be helped. We may not control the outcome or the situations or outcome of other people. That is life. And life goes on.
I enjoyed both .books. They both faced devastation and realistic choices of youth. I laughed more with Callie than I did with Rebel - though many of her descriptions did put a smile on my face. The grammar's not perfect - but then again, that really is how a lot of youth talk - especially in that particular area. I did like the ending of Rebel much better than the ending for Callie.
Jenna was the outgoing sponge before we moved to West Valley. She did try, but felt unsuccessful and I noticed that she had withdrawn. Slowly she's coming around to being outgoing again. Last night she had two of her friends over. We took them to what was supposed to be a pot-luck dinner. Turned out to be a coleslaw salad, Jell-O salad, coffee cake, cookies and brownies. Jenna thought it was awesome, though her friends and Roland and I would have preferred some more substantial food. Roland says we're always doing hot dogs from now on.
We ended up taking the girls to McDonalds before returning them to their homes. As it turns out, one of Jenna's friends is just as freaked out about bridges as I am. (see this post)