Friday, December 14, 2012


Two fast reads about teens taking the lives of others into their own hands -- for better and for worse.

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Chelsea Knot is in with the popular crowd: partly because of her friendship with queen bee Kristen, and partly because Chelsea is a wicked gossip.  She can't keep a secret to save her life -- or anyone else's.

At Kristen's New Year's Eve party, Chelsea sees something that is none of her business.  Maybe if she hadn't been so drunk she wouldn't have blurted it out in front of everybody.  Maybe what happened after wouldn't have happened.  Maybe Chelsea and Kristen would still be friends.  Maybe Chelsea would still be popular.

And she would still be speaking.

The girl-under-vow-of-silence plotline will draw comparisons to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, except in this case Chelsea isn't the victim.  She stops talking so she won't hurt anyone else and because finding the right words to say is really hard to do.

Burn by Heath Gibson
William "WeeWee" Tucker wants people to see past his embarrassing nickname and 5'3" stature.  That's why he became a volunteer fire fighter.  Putting out fires makes William feel powerful.  He wants to make his father, the town preacher, proud of him, and maybe impress his high school crush, Mandy.

Before long William notices something else about fire: it makes people re-evaluate their priorities.  Treat their neighbors with a little more compassion.  William is a preacher's son; maybe he can also be God's instrument.  Samantha, the new girl in town, makes him question the problems he's always ignored, and his brother's decision to come out pushes William's family to the brink.

Fire can fix it.

The chilling, unresolved ending will have you flipping back to the prologue and asking what has happened here?  How could this have gotten so out of control?


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