Colleen Mondor has started a new series at Chasing Ray called Wicked Cool Overlooked Books. The idea is to feature those great books that never quite reached a wider audience. That never got the buzz going. Books that we think deserve more attention. Books that didn't win any big awards. Colleen's first book is Amaryllis by Curtis Crist-Evans. Kelly Herold at Big A little a starts with The Unresolved, by T. K. Welsh, linking to a previously published review. Kelly Fineman starts with Your Own, Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill. (And I'm sure that there are others, but I haven't had a chance to check around.)
I would like to point you to a book called Behind the Eyes, by Francisco X. Stork. I reviewed Behind the Eyes back in November. It's about a troubled youth from a housing project in El Paso who, despite his best efforts, gets into trouble and ends up in a harsh military school. It's a dark, gritty story, but one that I found compelling. The characters felt real to me. I haven't heard much about this book, perhaps because the protagonist is so far from the mainstream, and I think that it deserves wider attention. Here is the conclusion from my previous review (you can read the full review for more details):
I think that Behind the Eyes will appeal to kids looking for edgier stories, and will especially appeal to kids from Chicano and other immigrant families. There are many Spanish phrases sprinkled throughout the book, with no translation, but they are mostly clear from content, and are essential to the realism of the dialog. If I was a librarian working with kids at risk from gangs, I would definitely hand them this title. And if I was working with any set of kids who could benefit from seeing a different perspective, I'd hand them this title, too.
What excellent books do you think have been overlooked?
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.