Friday, December 10, 2010

Featured Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse (rhymes with waltz) Anderson has been publishing books since the mid 90's.  She writes both historical fiction and realistic contemporary fiction.  Regardless of genre, her stories are issue-oriented, serious with a small sprinkle of humor, and are hard wired to the heart and soul of a character.
Another author whose issue-oriented books tackle similar subjects such as family problems, emotional problems, death, anorexia, rape, step-families, and best friends, is Sarah Dessen
If you like Anderson's or Dessen's writing, you may also like:
Chris Crutcher, Sharon Draper, or Carol Plum-Ucci.

Forge, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2010. (historical fiction)  Book 2 in the Seeds of America trilogy.  Catalog Summary: Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.

Chains: Seeds of America, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2008. (historical fiction)  Book 1 in the Seeds of America trilogy.  Catalog Summary:  After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2009. (realistic fiction)
My Review:  This is the story of two friends, Cassie and Lia.  Cassie is dead, and Lia now struggles with anorexia, and with the memories and the death of her friend Cassie.  Cassie's death was the end result of bulimia.  She called Lia 33 times on the night she died, and Lia did not answer.  I really did not want to read this book.  I was not in a frame of mind to read a story on the subject of eating disorders, so I kept passing this book up in favor of an adventurous fantasy or a humorous contemporary novel.  However, when it was voted onto the Teens' Top Ten for 2010 this past October, it was time to put my squeamish feelings aside and check it out.  Happily I discovered that although I felt the pain of the characters, I wasn't dragged down by the story.  Anderson incorporates just enough distance in this very interior story, so that you are moved to want to understand, but are not wrung out by the distressing feelings and events, i.e. this book is emotionally intense but not completely bleak.  It is a compelling story - a worthwhile and recommended read for anyone interested in these issues, or who enjoys realistic, character-driven, problem-solving, engrossing fiction.   My rating: 4 stars.

The following video is part of an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson talking about her book Wintergirls :

Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2007.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary: After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2006.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

View Item DetailsProm, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2005.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  Eighteen-year-old Ash wants nothing to do with senior prom, but when disaster strikes and her desperate friend, Nat, needs her help to get it back on track, Ash's involvement transforms her life.View Item Details 

Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2003.  (realistic fiction)  Catalog Summary:  Eighteen-year-old Kate, who sometimes chafes at being a preacher's daughter, finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death.

Fever, 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2000.  (historical fiction)  Catalog Summary:  In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

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