Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire
by Josephine Angelini
From the publisher:
"This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected."

This is a hard book for me to review. The first 2 chapters involved all of the teenage behaviors that parents don't want to see, including drinking, smoking, partying, bullying, and sleeping around (with characters actually caught in flagantre). I almost stopped reading it. But in chapter 3 the "real" story begins, which is the worldwalking, and it was AMAZING! So original, imaginative and creative. A really, really unique premise and wonderful characters.
And THEN came a scene of extreme sexual tension that made me a little uncomfortable, followed by a scene of bacchanalian activity at a teenage club they called a "bonfire". Ugh.
Then came MORE amazing originality and excitement. Whew, I felt like I had been burning on a pyre before the whole thing was over (book reference there).
I am kind of clueless as to what to say about this book. Do I want a 6th or 7th grader reading this book? Definitely and resoundingly NO. Did I absolutely love and adore parts of this book? Yes! I ordered it for my middle school library because this author's other series, Starcrossed , is extremely popular, but I'm not feeling like this one is very appropriate for middle school. Parents will have to decide. As for me, I had big concerns about it but it was gripping, exciting and original.

Areas of concern:
There was some bad language, but not really that much. There wouldn't be any for chapters and chapters, and then suddenly the *b* word would appear twice on the same page.
The above-mentioned bad teenage behavior.
The above-mentioned sexual tension.
There is definitely violence. The main character starts out abhorring the violence, but by the end she is kind of craving the death of her enemies.

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 12+
School Library Journal - Grades 8+
*Mrs. Duke says 8th grade at the VERY earliest, but preferably older.*

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