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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen & Laurie Morrison - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Ryan is Lauren's world. She loves taking care of her brother and thinks he's doing well at home, but Lauren's parents have chosen to send Ryan to a boarding school where teens on the autism spectrum are supposed to thrive. Lauren is lost, she doesn't know who she is without her brother and misses him dearly. Her parents are convinced it's the best choice for Ryan and don't want to talk about their decision. Lauren's best friend doesn't understand what it's like to feel so lonely and doesn't support her either. Lauren is miserable and to make herself feel better she starts a school project. She wants to raise money for autistic kids with parents who don't have a high income. Her approach isn't conventional, she steals from the rich to aid the poor, but is that the right way to help people?

Sierra's mother is having problems and Sierra is used to taking care of things at home. Her mother was arrested and has been sent to prison. Sierra's father can't take care of his daughter either, so Sierra is being sent to a foster family. She ends up living next door to Lauren, who immediately treats her as a friend. Sierra wants to help Lauren with her plans, but she doesn't approve of her methods. Eventually the truth will come to light, what will happen to both girls when Lauren's thefts are being discovered and what are the consequences for Sierra, who was only trying to be there for her friend?

Every Shiny Thing is an impressive story. Sierra is strong. She's used to being there for others and will always help if she can. It doesn't matter if she pays a price for it over and over again, she still does it. My heart ached for this sweet girl. She has so much to offer, but life hasn't treated her kindly. She understands Lauren's pain and vice versa. Lauren isn't feeling complete without Ryan and nobody helps her to deal with her grief. Sierra does understands how she feels and they have an instant connection, but Lauren gets herself into a big mess she can't get out of and drags Sierra with her. Finding out what the consequences of their actions would be kept me glued to the pages.

Every Shiny Thing mixes prose, for Lauren, with verse, for Sierra. I loved that this story has two distinct voices. They are equally strong, which makes the book both refreshing and fascinating at the same time. I loved the combination, Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison are making it work in a fantastic way. I could easily feel the emotions of both girls and was captivated by their story from beginning to end. There's sadness and grief, but also plenty of hope, which makes Every Shiny Thing really special.

Advice

If you love beautiful moving YA I'd highly recommend Every Shiny Thing.

About Cordelia Jensen


I started my first diary on November 6, 1987. And I have been scribbling things down ever since. I remember once saying to a friend in middle school, “Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing in the world to, like, be able to write an essay about each of your friends?” She looked at me like I was crazy. But, well, here I am writing about teenagers.

For a long time I worked with teenagers. Along with my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults, I have a Masters of Education in Secondary School Counseling from Shippensburg University. And for eleven summers I worked as a camp counselor for a very special summer program called Longacre Leadership (www.longacre.com) I also attended Longacre as a kid and it is where I met my husband Jon Jensen (that’s another, longer story.)

Recently, my son asked me, “Mom, do you know why people like to do what they are good at doing?” And I thought about how long I have loved to write and how long I have been fascinated by kids and how, now, I feel so lucky to actually have a book deal and be able to write professionally for a group of readers I have always loved to watch and interact with. I answered him this way, “the more you like something, the more you practice doing it.”

I should have said earlier, yes, I grew up in New York City. However, after graduation I had the fortune to attend Kenyon College in rural Ohio where I was able to major in creative writing, which I adored. And some of the lines from Skyscraping I can trace back to writing I did in college. All this is to say, I practiced what I loved to do for a long time. And I am practicing still.

My daughter says she’s going to be a songwriter and a poet when she grows up. I find her in her room sometimes, bits of papers scattered around her, singing loud with her own words in her hand. I hope thirty years from now she is out there, somewhere, practicing still.

Creative play is the thing of life.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter

About Laurie Morrison


I’ve always loved stories: reading them, listening to them, and telling them. In fact, my youngest brother’s first memory turns out to be a far-fetched tale I once told in which I, his heroic big sister, was bouncing around our basement on my blue Hop 66 ball when an elderly visitor dropped him down the basement stairs. I rushed over to catch him, thereby saving his life. (I appear to have understood at an early age that good stories require vivid and specific details!)

Despite my love of books and propensity for making things up, it didn’t occur to me that I might try to write fiction until after my first year of teaching middle school English. As I got to know my students, I reconnected with the middle-school version of myself, who read Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together and Irene Berg’s Up a Road Slowly over and over, and who wanted both to experience the world through other people’s eyes and to know that other people felt some of the same things I did.

The summer after my first year of teaching middle school, I started to work on a novel of my own, and the summer before my tenth year of teaching middle school, I got my first book deal. During all those years in between, I did a whole lot of writing and reading and learning, especially during the two years I spent earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at a magical place called Vermont College of Fine Arts. And I am still writing and reading and learning today.

I write realistic books about flawed, loving, lovable characters who make mistakes and bounce back and grow in messy, beautiful ways. I am especially drawn to writing upper middle grade books that appeal to 10-14-year-old readers, which is no surprise, since I spent ten years teaching middle school students and think they are some of the funniest, smartest, most fair-minded people around.

If I’m not writing or reading, you can often find me taking long walks even when it’s cold or rainy outside, making fancy pizza, or cheering on an odd blend of New York sports teams I grew up rooting for and Philadelphia teams I’ve adopted since settling here. I love iced coffee, just-out-of-the-oven pastries, and the ocean.

Links

Website // Twitter // Instagram

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Every Shiny Thing, a bookmark and stickers from Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

29 comments:

  1. Every Shiny Thing sounds like a beautiful and uniquely structured novel using prose and verse to share each character's alternating point of view.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting story about issues that face a lot of people--and the cover is incredible!

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  3. i really need to talk to you, please: email me! mii.mingotti@gmail.com

    please

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  4. What a beautiful cover as it really stand out.

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  5. Stand out cover! I love it and it reminds me so much of a book of stories I used to read at school many years ago :)

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  6. This sounds like a story of complicated lives of loveable teens, a very interesting book I think that a lot of people will be able to relate to.

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  7. Sounds interesting; thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  8. The subject matter sounds great but I have to say it's the format that really has me intrigued, I've yet to read a book that's part prose, part verse.

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  9. Fascinated by the idea of using different compositions for the two characters

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  10. This sounds like a really good book, and the cover is just stunning!

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  11. dang i posted the goodreads things wrong...put the shelf in my link and vice

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  12. Thanks so much for the chance! I've heard about the book ALL OVER social media and everything has been so positive! As a parent and teacher, I can't wait to get into this one further! Fingers crossed for a copy for my classroom! Thanks!

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  13. Yes! I do love moving YA stories, thank you!

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  14. collaborations are often much better as two minds can be better than one, would love to read this xx

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  15. Every Shiny Thing sounds like an awesome read. Love the cover! Can't wait to read

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  16. This story has the messy complexity of real life.

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  17. Sounds like a great read and the cover is cute - thank you

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  18. I really don't want to miss this. Sounds great

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  19. This sounds a thoroughly enjoyable book

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  20. I have a 15 year old grandson that has aspergers so I think this story would appeal to me.

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  21. I loved Judy Blume too, and like the author, I reconnected with her books when I started working with young people. This book sounds great.

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  22. Must admit I've never read any books about people with Autism although I have friends who have varying ranges of it from mild to extreme. Would be interesting to read.

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  23. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

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  24. Sounds like a lovely book. Fingers crossed I win for my holidays :)

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  25. am so glad to have found you, love love love books of all kinds, hope I have done everything right, perhaps you will let me know if I have made any mistakes on your competition, sounds a wonderful bundle of goodies to win, good luck everyone!

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  26. What a wonderful book--it sounds like a book that will encourage compassion and understanding, which we need more of in this world.

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