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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Teen Books That Have Something to Say


Paint by Magic

Review

Paint by Magic
by Kathryn Reiss
Harcourt,(August 2003)
ISBN-10: 0152049258
ISBN-13: 9780152049256

My rating:



There was no mistaking it. Something was wrong. It was like when you look at one of those what's-wrong-with-this-picture puzzles. You know something is weird—but what? Then you look a little longer and you start to see stuff you hadn't noticed before, like a dagger hiding in a tree. Or a face in the shadows on a mountain.
Weirder still if you find your own mom staring out of the picture.
--Paint by Magic, Kathryn Reiss, p. 5.

Connor knows there's something really wrong with his Mom—she keeps going into trances, freezing in place while her eyes look out desperately at him. Each time she goes into a trance, the trance lasts a little longer, and gets worse. Not only that, his mother has been acting strange—throwing out all their TVs, computers, and cell phones, cutting down her job, and trying to make their family act like a family.

All this started ever since Connor found a book of paintings with a woman who looks just like his mother. Only the paintings were painted before his mother was even born.

Connor tries to help his mom, and ends up going back in time to face the painter who painted his mother in the 1920s, and the family who took her in for a while. Connor strives to figure out what is controlling his mother, and how to stop it before it's too late.

Connor is a true hero of his own story, just as a main character should be. He works to save his mother and his family, and face evil even when it scares him. I found myself drawn into the story world, and was rarely ever jarred out. There was a strong forward movement to the story, created by all the questions, pulling me on; I wanted to understand why things were happening.

However, many of the characters did not feel fully developed, most especially Connor's sister, parents, and the family he stays with. But this can almost be overlooked in the enjoyment of the story.

There were a few unbelievable moments in the story, that pulled me out of it—the mother acted almost evil or like another person in the beginning of the book, and this did not fit with what we later learned about her. I found this particularly jarring. I also didn't believe the painter would leave his room at the crucial moment that Connor needed him to, or that it would take Connor so long to figure out what had happened. But aside from those things, I remained firmly in Reiss' story world.

The barrenness of Connor's present-day family life, with his rushed, stressed parents who hardly have time to talk to him and his sister, or eat with him, contrasted very nicely with the family Connor visited in the 1920s, where rich food, conversation and laughter, and time spent together was the norm.

The ending was wrapped up a little too neatly, but still was fairly satisfying. Paint by Magic is a nice reminder of the important things in life—family, connecting with others, talking with others, and being playful. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

-Added February 08, 2005


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