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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: Love Shack (Ocean City, #2) by Katherine Applegate


Since I reread Ocean City (Ocean City, #1) by Katherine Applegate, I decided to continue rereading the series and continued on to Love Shack (Ocean City, #2). I honestly do not remember most of what happened in the series even though I read it at least twice, so it's kind of like reading it for the first time. The major theme in the second installment was alcoholism. Underlying themes include illegal immigrants, racism, premarital sex, sexual advances, and suicide.

Katherine Applegate did a phenomenal job in portraying the struggles of what an alcoholic might go through to have just one more drink and that no matter how many people try to help them, people with an addiction have to want to change. I'm not sure how I feel about an eighteen year old already being an alcoholic as I feel like someone that age would be more likely to have a drug addiction, but regardless, I felt like it was a great teaching moment for teens. I thought it would have been beneficial if the publishers and/or editors had supplied information at the end of the book for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon for teens that might be in a similar situation as the character Grace.

The underlying theme of illegal immigration was glossed over a little in this book, but I think that it does a good enough job of making teens think what it might be like to be an illegal immigrant and how they constantly have to be looking over their shoulder. I know as a teen I never really gave it much thought since I've never been in that position, but I imagine it must be a scary situation, especially when it's a kid that had no choice in the situation.

I felt like the other underlying themes of racism, premarital sex, sexual advances, and suicide were a little glossed over as well, some more than others. I don't know how I would've reacted if I had been in Chelsea & Connor's situation, but I do know I would have been extremely upset that someone could be so hateful.

Applegate did do a great job of promoting safe sex for those who do have premarital sex, so I hope any teens and young adults who read Love Shack (Ocean City, #2) paid attention to that particular lesson. What did crack me up about Kate's parents showing up at her rental house at the wrong moment prompted a big discussion about her boyfriend Justin, and her father called the house a "sleazy love shack". That made me think of the song "Love Shack" by the B-52's. Kate's discussion with her parents did segway into why her older sister committed suicide. I felt like the publisher and editors missed another opportunity to provide information at the back of the book for suicide prevention.

All in all, Katherine Applegate did a great job with Love Shack (Ocean City, #2) as it kept me engaged the entire time, even as an adult. Unfortunately, the themes in the books are still current themes for today's youth. With that being said, I feel like tweens and teens would relate very well with the book. I gave it five out five stars.

Synopsis of Love Shack (Ocean City, #2):  Grace thought being on her own would fix all of her problems. Kate is still in love with Justin but worries she can't compete with his ex. Chelsea learns to stand up for herself, but is she ready for someone like Connor? Find out in Katherine Applegate's Love Shack.

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