Numbers

Summary- Certain parts of this numbersbook are inappropriate and is not for younger audiences.

Jemma Marsh, a.k.a. Jem, is fifteen years old and living with a foster mom, Karen, when she meets a young black boy named Terry, who is called Spider by his friends. Jem initially tries to stay away from Spider because she sees numbers associated with the death date of every person she makes eye contact with.  Jem already knows that Spider is going to die in just a few months. However, Spider intrigues Jem, and he is like no one she’s ever met before. Soon, she finds herself accepting an invitation to his house. There she meets his grandmother, the only family Spider has, who sees auras and recognizes Jem as a kindred spirit, but she doesn’t initially realize the depth of Jem’s gift or exactly what it does.

Jem and Spider begin spending a great deal of time together and Jem finds herself liking him more and more. One day, she and Spider spend the day in town, at an amusement park with a huge Ferris wheel- the London Eye. While waiting in line, Jem  begins to realize that every single person has the same number. It leads her to believe that something at the park will be the cause of their death. She urges Spider to run away, and they are nearby when a bomb explodes, killing several people.  Some people remember Jem and Spider running away before the explosion, and it makes them first on the suspect list.

Spider and Jem begin to go on the run of their lives away from the police, and away from dangerous gangs. Can they survive their ordeal or will tragedy befall them?

Review

I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was a very different perspective on the world. It showed that sometimes people are stuck with their lot in life, and that life is not always butterflies and happiness, it can be dark and painful. This book is the first in a trilogy. I really only like this one, the others seemed unnecessary. I would give it a 8.5 out of 10 in total. You should really take the opportunity to read this book.

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The House on Mango Street

house on mango streetSummary-  Certain parts of this book are not for younger audiences. You must be in at least in high-school before reading it.

Esperanza is a little girl who moves with her family of six to a house on Mango Street. It’s  not the beautiful house her parents promised. It is nothing but a small, crumbling red house in a poor urban neighborhood especially meant for those like her. Esperanza, who’s often followed by her younger sister Nenny, meets the other residents of Mango Street. These include Most of the neighborhood’s residents are Hispanic, including Esperanza, whose father is a Mexican immigrant and whose mother is Latina.
Esperanza is ashamed of her family’s social status. In many instances she lies or ties to hide signs of her family’s poverty.  Esperanza’s adolescent years are even worse than her younger years.  Esperanza faces sexual aggression in two instances one in which an old man at work forces her to kiss him, and another in which some boys at a carnival rape her. Esperanza’s friends also suffer hardships: Alicia, whose mother is dead, is forced by her father to rise early every morning to make tortillas for her family; Sally, a beautiful girl at school, endures abuse from her father; Minerva, a teenage mother of two children, is constantly being  either abandoned or beaten by her husband.
Esperanza’s mother, a key figure in her life encourages her not to let men hold her back, and to not sit and wait for life start. If she wants wants she can do it on her own, she needs no man. Witnessing the fate of countless female schoolmates who marry young to escape the abuse of their fathers, only to suffer abuse at the hands of their new husbands, Esperanza resolves to leave Mango Street with her books and her papers. She dreams of having a beautiful house all her own, where she can write, and be free. Can Esperanza accomplish her dreams or will she be forever fated to stay in Mango Street?

Review

You cannot confidently say you have read heartbreaking and moving books until you have read this one.  The author has written the book as a series of vignettes of short stories. These stories while only a couple pages each have such beautifully descriptive language, and words that invoke the humanity in the world, and in our beings, that is so rare to find today.  This book is a 100 out of 10.  Even though there is only  110 pages in the book is has a powerful meanings and themes behind. It is one of a kind.