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Book Review: Music From The Dead by Bebe Faas Rice

Music From The Dead by Bebe Faas Rice is a young adult horror novel originally published in April 1997.  Marnie and her cousin Peter drive up to the mansion that Marnie's father rented for the summer ahead of her father.  When the cousins arrive at the mansion called Stonycraig and settle in, Marnie is nervous because she thought she saw a shadow in one of the windows.  Then, she starts hearing a woman crying late at night.  Are the stories about Stonycraig being haunted true? This is a book I originally read as a teenager, and I remember being impressed by the storyline and writing.  I recently decided to reread it as an adult to see if it was as good as I remembered.  I have to say it was phenomenal.  Well-written and unputdownable.   Even though there were parts that came back to me as I made my way through Music From The Dead , I still found it to be perfectly eerie and creepy.  There was even a little bit of romance but nothing inappropriate for a tween or teen.  The only com

Book Review: Best Friends (Sweet Valley Twins, #1) Created by Francine Pascal

francine pascal's sweet valley twins
Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are twelve years old and do everything together from sharing a bedroom to dressing alike and even doing the same things after school. When they start Sweet Valley Middle School, Elizabeth and Jessica realize that their lives are changing. Elizabeth wants to work on the sixth grade newspaper aptly named The Sixers, and Jessica is eager to join the Unicorn Club, a snobby club of the most popular girls. Will they continue to do everything together or begin to explore their individuality?

In elementary school, I so desperately wanted to win the Book It Program sponsored by Pizza Hut, but I found chapter books so boring. Every book my teacher recommended was so tedious that I found myself struggling to finish. I never made it to the minimum amount of books required to win a personal pizza from Pizza Hut through their reading program because books just weren't holding my interest. 

Around age 10, my mom and I stopped at a garage sale on the way to my grandmother's house. I saw a bunch of colorful books in one corner, so I went over to check them out. Noticing that I was showing interest in these books, my mom came over and told me I could pick out two of the books . . . these books were the Sweet Valley Twins book series. I ended up leaving with Best Friends (Sweet Valley Twins, #1) and Keeping Secrets (Sweet Valley Twins, #2). These are the books that made me an avid reader.

As an adult, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to read the first book again, and I was sucked into the twins world yet again. One of the best things about Best Friends is that it dealt with the very real topic of bullying and that it isn't acceptable. And, I love that someone stood up to the mean girls and made the culprit apologize. It is hard to believe that this was published in 1986, and the subject of bullying is still relevant 33 years later. 

Another thing I thought was great about Francine Pascal's Best Friends (Sweet Valley Twins, #1) is that it dealt with general growing up issues such as the twins realizing that they want to explore different hobbies and that it is okay for them to explore these interests and be themselves. I think it is super important for girls to realize that they don't have to be just like their friends.

My adult self gave Best Friends 4 stars out 5 stars. If you have a child that is struggling to find books they like to read, then definitely let them give this book a read. Where it might be a little dated for kids today, it still is an engaging read and has such great life lessons.


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