ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 30-33

30. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant. "My life might have been so different, had I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded." That's the opening line in this book - this has got to be one of the best opening lines ever. The heroine Pia becomes a bit of a pariah in her small town, with only the other most unpopular child at her school left to serve as her sole remaining friend. Indeed, it it weren't for the fantastic stories of the elderly Herr Schiller, life would have been bleak and boring for Pia. But then, young girls start disappearing, starting with Katharina, who vanishes during the town's Karneval parade. Pia and Stefan take it on themselves to investigate the disappearances, which they believe might be supernatural in nature. This story neatly blends local lore into real-life day-to-day small town issues. I actually got the solution as to what/who made the girls disappear early on (curious if anyone else got it as quickly as I did) but the story was still very enjoyable. The story is bittersweet; as well as the larger, more shocking horror of the disappearances, Pia faces an increasingly tense household, as her parents' differences come out more and more through the story.

31. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender. A coming-of-age story with a bit of a twist: Rose has an unsettling talent that presents itself shortly before her ninth birthday. She finds out that she can taste the emotions - the true emotions - of people in whatever food they've prepared. She finds out after eating a slice of her mother's lemon cake. Her mother, whom Rose had always viewed as happy, outgoing and talented mother is depressed and full of despair. Eating becomes a unique quandry for Rose, but she learns to fine-tune her talents and soon can detect where each ingredient came from. But she also must learn to deal with the deep-buried secrets in her family, which come out with each bit she eats in the house. A very interesting story, well told with a lot of warmth and feeling.

32. Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok. Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong. Once here, Kim must learn to navigate life at school and at the factory, where she and her mother work for her Aunt Paula (a real piece of work), who helped them get to America. After reading the author's brief bio, I wonder how much of the story is autobiographical. Regardless, this was an engaging story, with some unexpected twists (OK, a part of me would have really liked to have seen Aunt Paula get more of a comeuppance but...)

33. Social Media for Business, by Susan Sweeney and Randall Craig. A very handy guide overall to the various types of social media outlets out there. The book concentrates on the largest ones, such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and YouTube, but also goes over several lesser-known social media sites. It goes over the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to best utilize them. Also, at the end of each chapter, there is a list of books and websites which offer more information on the social media site in question. This is well laid out and organized, with occasional pull-out boxes with additional tips or "Watch Out" moments. It also outlines early how social media can be useful- and when, perhaps, it won't help. The authors stress having a social media plan and goals in place before delving in for the best result.

Currently reading: The Reapers are the Angels, by Alden Bell.
Tags: non-fiction, young adult

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