• These Words Matter: Michelle Hodkin

    Ask a writer to name the book that shaped her and you’re likely to get a list instead of a single recommendation. It’s hard to resist the temptation. There was The Joss Bird, which my mother lovingly read and reread on demand when I was two. Then The Velveteen Rabbit, at four. “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness, Amos & Boris by William Steig followed. Given my obsession with animals, it was no surprise that I graduated to the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell, The Wild Mustang and The Black Stallion books. I wanted a horse almost as much as I wanted a dog. (I…

  • Book Review: “Identical” by Ellen Hopkins

    I first read Identical by Ellen Hopkins when I was in high school. I’d started with Crank (if you haven’t yet read an Ellen Hopkins book, I highly suggest you start there), and was so eager to get my hands on more. I didn’t see the ending of Identical coming, just as I didn’t see the ending of The Fault in Our Stars coming. These are the only two times that an ending has surprised me so much that I still, to this day, wonder how their authors so masterfully left me dumbfounded. I think this is the most disturbing Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read (and I’ve read them all). If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know…

  • These Words Matter: Calla Devlin

    Writing didn’t come easily. School didn’t either. Reading, however, was my greatest challenge. Letters took on their own shape, and I didn’t see them as my classmates did. For them, jumbled lines named “C” and “A” and “T” somehow flowed together. Other students read aloud, at first sounding things out, but eventually the words rolled off their tongues. I marvelled as they moved from beginner books, slim paperbacks with simple sentences, to chapter books. For me, letters were backwards, flipped around, mirror images. They didn’t assemble into words or stories. My classmates moved on while I was called into an office, then another classroom where they tried to turn the…

  • These Words Matter: Danielle Paige

    These Words Matter: Danielle Paige

    It was three o’clock in the morning when my mother caught me. My lights were on–I knew I was well past my usual bedtime, but I couldn’t go to sleep. The arch sisters–Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth–would not let me. Little Women was the first book that I stayed up after bedtime to finish. My mother stood in the doorway and caught me. “Oh, Little Women,” she said with a sigh of great affection and, more importantly, permission. She kissed me on the forehead with a look that said she knew exactly what I was feeling. One night a long time ago she had had to stay up to find out…

  • Book Review: “Half Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling

    There was just something particularly magical about this book. Half Blood Prince is among my three favourites in the series. I’ve reviewed my other two favourites, Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows. Half Blood Prince is particularly memorable not only because of the massive steps forward in plot (Dumbledore and Snape, hello!), but because the character relationships in this book were so on point. Half Blood Prince really made me understand Harry and Ginny’s relationship, which I have a newfound appreciation for since their relationship wasn’t really explored in the movies. Have you noticed that? Harry and Ginny’s relationship was such a huge deal in the books, and then in the…