“Last Meeting Of The Gorilla Club” by Sara Nickerson

Image result for last meeting of the gorilla club by sara nickersonThe Plot In 5 Sentences Or Less:  Josh has had his imaginary friend Big Brother since kindergarten.  They stayed close and played together until mom lost patience and forced Josh to perform a burial ceremony for Big Brother in the backyard.  He hasn’t seen Big Brother since then, but now, entering 5th grade at a new school, Josh’s imaginary friend has returned.  At the school a boy named Lucas has noticed Josh and also the strange shadow that follows him, even on cloudy days.  Lucas will play an important role as Josh grapples with his new life in 5th grade and the return of Big Brother.

My Take:  The strength of this book is how is takes the inner lives of young people seriously.  When Josh was younger, Big Brother was mostly a playmate with whom to build LEGO creations.  Now as Josh is entering 5th grade, Big Brother serves as that voice to push him out to football games, to go on bike rides with friends, and into the general social scene.  Clearly this imaginary friend serves partly as a vehicle for Josh’s growing psyche that is waking up to the world at large.  Without revealing any spoilers, Lucas’s imaginary friend serves more as a conduit for the grief and shame from an event many years prior.  Nickerson should be given credit for finding a way to explore the anxieties of young people without making it too overwrought or artificial. I found the author’s presentation of the imaginary friends convincing and I never found myself bothered by this narrative device.   Nickerson’s well crafted book asks the reader to consider and respect the complex inner lives of young people.

One Interesting Note About The Author:  According to her website, Sara works part time in a library (yaaay!) and advises that one of the best steps to becoming a writer is to be a reader first.

 

 

 

The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

The Plot In 5 Sentences Or Less:  Polly lives in a bustling house full of children and loves to read and think about ghosts.  Ruby has the opposite problem in that she feels abandoned by her family but has the unwanted power of seeing the dead.  By accident one day, the girls discover that they are neighbors and that their attics connect.  As they began to secretly visit each other through the attics, they began to learn about the tragic past of Ruby’s family.   An aunt that passed away years before begins to visit the girls and brings with her a frightening message.

My Take:  This was great children’s book to read in the fall.  I appreciated the rotating narration between the two girls and also how the author kept us in suspense as to whether Ruby was actually a ghost or not.  I did feel that the book bogged down in certain places, but overall I would recommend this to children looking for a ghost book.

One Interesting Note About the Author:  Charis Cotter lives in Newfoundland and has an abiding interest in ghosts.