Monday, November 26, 2012

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
2004, Puffin, New York

This children's book is set on the prison island, Alcatraz, in 1935.  The protagonist, a twelve year old boy named Moose, has recently moved there with his parents (his father works as an electrician and prison guard) and his sister Natalie who has autism.  The story centers around trying to get Natalie into a special school to help with her condition (autism had not been defined in the 1930s).

I picked this up knowing nothing about the story, I just found the title to be intriguing.  It was a very enjoyable read - I like reading about characters with autism and asperges.  The historical aspects really make this book extra special, and it seems as if the author has done a fair bit of research for it (judging by the author's notes at the end).

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Philip Hawley Jr.
2006, 2007, Harper, New York

Part medical-thriller, part boys-own-adventure, Stigma is the story of Dr. Luke McKenna, a pediatric physician and ex-Navy Seal who is thrust into an intrigue of a strange illness in the remote parts of Guatemala and links to his past.

The author is very good at painting a picture with words, and it was easy to get lost in the descriptions. I thought it could have done with a little more medical and a little less boys-own, but that's just probably my own tastes coming through. It's just that the illness he comes up with is terrifying and intriguing, I would have liked to have seen more of a focus on that. Still, it was a satisfying read.

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