Twice in our end-of-year Language Arts circle in June, teachers said they were going to use the summer to figure out who they were. One said she was going to figure out who she was when she’s not here, because the last school year had hollowed her out. The other said she needed space to remember who she is again.
As I sat and listened (because I hardly ever share much of significance, being the private person I am), I thought of the quote from The Tumbling Turner Sisters, a book I was reading at the time: “There’s something to that…What you have when you’re just you.”
In Juliette Fay’s The Tumbling Turner Sisters, Gert and Winnie Turner narrate the tragedies and triumphs of their lives, and everything in between. Fay’s gorgeous prose lends itself to this touching story of the four Turner girls, their mother Ethel and father Frank, and the extended family they acquire as they take the stage during the vaudeville era.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is, without a doubt, one of the most visually stunning books I’ve read in a long time. Don’t mistake me; when I say visually stunning, I mean the images she’s created—the worlds, the settings, the imagery—not necessarily the cover, although that is beautiful also. I was completely enthralled not only by her beautiful prose and the imagery of the novel, but also by Mayavati (Maya) and Amar.
Christine Hepperman’s Ask Me How I Got Here is a story of change and discovery told through poetry (as so many stories of change are). The speaker, Addie, navigates the decision to have—and how she changes as a result of having—an abortion with presence and wisdom some adults do not even possess.
In No One Knows by J.T. Ellison, Aubrey Hamilton must learn how to live after the mysterious disappearance and presumed death of her husband Josh. However, as in every situation involving a husband and wife, not everything is as it seems, and the truth of Josh’s disappearance—and the truth about the lives of other characters in the novel—is something, as the title says, no one knows.