#amreading Tragedies

In The Secret of Nightingale Wood, Henry’s family moves to a big house in the country so that her mother can recover in peace and quiet from the shock of losing a child. A wistful story with a helpless sort of tension. Her family has lost so much, and yet there is so much more to lose. Well told, with a satisfying finish. In the same vein as Jungle of Bones, Touching Spirit Bear is a survival story. Cole is an angry, defiant boy, always in trouble with anyone in authority. His misdeeds escalate until the day he beats a classmate into the ground. Prison is inevitable. The courts want to try him as an adult. But his patrol officer steps in with a suggestion, a Native American tradition that has long been used to help and heal. Their decision puts Cole on an island off the coast of Alaska, where he must survive alone for a year. Montmorency has an interesting setup, but my overall reception was so-so. A burglar falls through a glass roof into the gears of a machine and is horribly mangled, so he spends much of his prison life in the infirmary, undergoing a long series of surgeries, then in lecture halls, undergoing the humiliation of being on display. All the while, he plots. One day, he wants to be a fine gentleman. And to do this, he’ll become an even better thief.

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