YA Review -Dreams Beyond the Shore

In Dreams Beyond the Shore we find seventeen year old Chelsea at a crossroads in her life, left to decide whether to be the dutiful daughter her politician father expects her to be or to follow her own dreams to be a writer. Dreams Beyond the Shore is the winner of the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

At its heart this is a coming-of-age love story. Told from two perspectives, Chelsea’s and Kyron’s-her eighteen year old boyfriend, the story is real and the central characters’ voices ring true to the electric experience of new teenage love. Kyron steals the show with his good looks, confidence, intelligence, and integrity all mixed in with a slight bad-boy vibe.

Dreams Beyond the Shore is set on the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and while the setting is important, it remains in the background leaving at the forefront the classic tale of two teens struggling to define life on their own terms. Teen readers will definitely connect to their stories

While the central story line is well written and developed, readers may find themselves wanting to know more about the underlying stories of Mr. Marchand’s connection to the criminal world and the implications of his rise to being Prime Minister, both for the country and for Chelsea and Kyron.

There is an interesting cast of secondary characters who do have some depth but are unsatisfying in that their appearances are fleeting.
During her narrative, Chelsea hints repeatedly at her father being duplicitous and corrupt but we don’t see hard evidence of this. Near the end there is a strong suggestion that Mr. Marchand has been involved in horrible crimes however it is hard to believe that these are the sort of activities of which Chelsea was aware.

This is an enjoyable book. I became invested in the lives of the main characters and was left wanting at the end as I needed to know more about their fates.


YA Review – Down to Dirt (Dirt and Stars Book 1)

Recommended read.
Mara was born and raised on Tombaugh, a space station inhabited only by the brightest and best humans and where these humans live uncontaminated by earth’s gravity, sun, and polluted atmosphere. So she’s very unhappy when her parents force her to spend time with her aunt, uncle, and cousin on Earth, or ‘Dirt,’ as it’s called on Tombaugh. Continue reading “YA Review – Down to Dirt (Dirt and Stars Book 1)”


Barberry Hill – Review

No, I’m not reviewing my own book. I just received the Kirkus review of Barberry Hill and was quite pleased with the reviewer’s thoughtful comments. I glowed on reading “She skillfully captures Jaden’s grief, anxiety, feelings of abandonment, fear, and other stormy emotions, as well as the rhythms of friendship and dialogue among teenage boys….

“Fresh, well-described setting and vibrant characters, with one or two missteps.”
–Kirkus Reviews

The reviewer articulated what he/she saw as the missteps but you’ll have to read the full Kirkus review to see those!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Review

When eleven year old Flavia discovers a man dying in her back yard she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous search to discover the killer. This is not a quick read. The author lays out scene-an estate in a small rural town in Britain in 1950- and plot at a measured pace and in great detail.

Although Flavia is eleven, older readers will enjoy this book. She is irreverent, resourceful, immoral, and brilliant in a way that seldom comes about unless intelligent children are left to their own devices to follow their passion-in this case, chemistry. She’s not particularly boastful of her precociousness (is that a word?) and comes across as quite kind in spite of her fascination with poisons and although she finds it difficult to express affection, having grown up without her mom and with a distant dad.

Readers might guess the murderer if not the motive before Flavia does, but by that point they are likely to be so taken with her journey they will continue to enjoy reading as she uncovers the truth.

We see her two sisters and her father through her eyes and they seem a bit caricature-like. It would have been nice to have seen her come to a deeper understanding of them by the end of the story. The climactic scene was drawn out long enough to lose its edge mid-stream and perhaps could have been more effective had it come to a head more quickly.

All-in-all, a fun and interesting read with an appealing protagonist.


YA Review – The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola YoonI read The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon on a business trip to St. Kitts fraught with delayed flights. When I finally lifted my eyes from the book I found that friends from home were sitting near me in the airport. When I approached them their faces filled with concern.

“What’s the matter?” they asked.

I was confused until I realized my eyes were still filled with the tears that had surfaced as I got to the end of the journey I had taken with Natasha and Daniel. Continue reading “YA Review – The Sun is Also a Star”


Review – Untwine

I am a big fan of Edwidge Danticat and this young adult novel does not disappoint. Set in the US, it tells the tale of sixteen-year-old identical twins Isabelle and Giselle who are involved in a tragic accident on the way to a school orchestra concert. Continue reading “Review – Untwine”


Middle Grade Review – The Dragon’s Cave

Struck by lightning, twelve-year-old Seamus is thrust into medieval times. Confused and physically unable to tell anyone that he is from another time, he struggles to adjust to the speech patterns and the new skills (archery, horse back riding) he is expected to know. He finds that he is part of a troop on a quest to conquer a dragon and steal the spoils, a quest which does not sit well with him, especially when he discovers that he is mysteriously and magically connected to the nature around him. Continue reading “Middle Grade Review – The Dragon’s Cave”


Look! A Moko Jumbie

Ages 6-9

Set in St. Croix, this book is about a boy, Bamidele, who sees two moko jumbies outside of his window. “They folded their hands together and leaned their heads on their clasped hands. They looked like one perfect shell split in two.” Continue reading “Look! A Moko Jumbie”