Saturday, March 19, 2011

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Identical by Ellen Hopkins describes the lives of identical twin sisters named Kaeleigh and Raeanne. Kaeleigh is the misplaced focus of her father's inappropriate affections starting from when she is a child, intended for her politician mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. Raeanne sees this is as her father ignoring and mistreating her, and that he loves Kaeleigh more than her. She tries to get his attention in other ways, like sex, drugs, anorexia, bulimia, and self-mutilization. Although Kaeleigh has the entire focus of her father, she is not perfect. She binge eats, has intense problems coming close to people, and like Raeanne, cuts. She is very similar to her mother, unlike Raeanne, who is definitely the more aggressive of the two. The two could not be more opposite inside. Kaeleigh has a best friend named Ian who is in love with her and really wants to be with her. Raeanne is in a relationship with a high school drop out named Mick, who she smokes and has sex with frequently.
At the climax of the novel, Raeanne is at Ty's house, a boy she met at a party she went to with her boyfriend, Mick. Raeanne and Ty smoke some meth, and start to have sex. In this scene, Ian busts in the door and screams, "Kaeleigh, what the hell are you doing?"
Kaeleigh/Raeanne replies that she isnt Kaeleigh shes Raeanne in a dream-like state.
The next chapter is Kaeleigh waking up in a hospital room with Ian there. She asks what happened. Ian explains. Kaeleigh slightly remembers. Ian then tells her Raeanne died in a car accident when they where both very little. Kaeleigh then enters the psychiatric ward of the hospital to discover she has a multiple personality disorder, and the whole book was just her, then entire time. With the help of doctors, she has the strength to bring her father's abuse to light, and to seek help in suppressing the Raeanne side of her personality. She does really well for a long time.
The last chapter is Raeanne speaking, giving a heads up: shes not gone, and she will take over when she needs to.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you believe Raeanne's way of trying to get her father's attention was acceptable or okay?

2. Do you believe Kaeleigh will ever be able to get over the abuse from her father or her multiple personality disorder in order to develop a relationship with Ian?

A Child Called "It"

A Child Called "It" is an inspirational story of a little boy who suffered through severe chid abuse. Dave Pelzer lives in a nightmare every second of his life and there is no way out of it. His achoholic mother beat him and played unthinkable "games" with him that almost killed him. David slept on a army cot in the basement of their house and ate from the scraps of the garbage can. The outside world had no idea, and he could do nothing about that. His mother threatened his life if he opened his mouth to the public. David's mother made him do extreme things such as put his hand on a burning stove, drink ammonia, eat unedible foods and re-eat them if his body refused to hold it down. She even stabbed him. He was beaten almost everyday. His family did nothing to stop this even though they were well aware of what went on behind the walls of their home. His father tried to help but the mother refused to let this happen. His own brother did not seem to care to watch everything happen because their mother made him think that David was simply an "it". He did not matter.

1) At one point in the story, David almost lost his will to live. If you went through what he did, would you give up on life?

2) Child abuse is a common and serious problem even today. What do you think should be done to the adults abusing these children like David's mother abused him? Should they be sentenced to death?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Kira-Kira is a novel told in the point-of-view of it's narrator, a young Japanese-American girl, Katie. At first, Katie and her family (her mother, father, and older sister, Lynn) live in a small town in Iowa and own a small Asian store. Upon the store going out of business, Katie and her family abruptly move to Georgia where they begin to struggle even deeper with fiances and discrimination because of their race. Soon, Lynn developes severe anemia. And Katie, who shares a close bond with her sister, begins to spend almost all of her time with her. Katie's family move into a small house (to accommodate their now-larger family, with the addition of Sammy, Katie and Lynn's baby brother). This makes Lynn feel a lot better, despite her illness. After an incident involving Sammy getting caught in a bear trap on the property on Mr. Lyndon (the owner of the hatchery that Katie's parents work at), things turn worse for Lynn and she now becomes fatally ill. Katie stuggles to keep her sister happy and healthy, and deal with family and issues in society.

1.) What are the possible the reasons for the discrimination against Japanese-Americans?

2.) Do you think its capable for a young girl like Katie to be able to handle the responsibilites that she faces within the novel?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In Ray’s high school, the Polish kids to go out for wrestling and the black kids to play basketball. Ray has tried out for the basketball team but gets cut all the time. Pruze, Ray's friend, wants Ray to play in a summer league to practice for the upcoming tryouts. During the summer Ray meets some good players such as Robert. Ray’s mom expresses concern that he’s hanging out with black people from the basketball team. Ray’s best friend, Walter, doesn't like Ray’s teammates either. But Ray wants to play varsity basketball his final year in high school. This time Ray has a chance. The new coach seems to pick guys who can get the job done instead of picking favorites. Ray makes the team! However, Rudy a star black player was cut. People thought that Ray took Rudy's spot. After the cuts, Rudy and friends make fun of Ray during the games which Walter answers with racial chants. Throughout the book Robert and Ray have trouble with each other due to the fact they are equally good ball players but they are of different races. Also Robert is mad that Ray took Rudy's spot on the basketball team. Throughout the struggle Coach Thomas tries to maintain peace between the two races, punishing whoever steps out of line. Racial tension fills the school school between the Poles and the blacks, and Ray is even accused of being prejudice when his former coach tells him,"'You think because you play some basketball with a few African American students you aren't prejudice'"(245). In the end, Ray is forced to choose between his black friends on the basketball team and his ethnic friends in his neighborhood.

1. The book is filled with racial tension and focuses on the fact that it is prevalent in high school. In your opinion, do kids at Mentor High School actually racist and have prejudice views, or do they mostly joke around with the matter?

2. In the story a huge racial tension builds up. Ray must choose between the people he has more in common with but are racially different and the people who share his race but have different characteristics. Who would you side with and Why?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Down is divided into three individual books. Part one is about Bella’s wedding and marriage to Edward. They spend their honeymoon on an island near the coast of Brazil. Shortly after, Bella becomes aware of her pregnancy. She contacts Carlisle who confirms her suspicions; the couple makes plans to return soon after. Part two is written from Jacob Black’s perspective, it documents the pregnancy of Bella right through to the birth of her child. The werewolves in the novel are unsure of the child and fear of the danger it poses prompts them to make plans to kill Bella to prevent its birth. Naturally, Jacob is strongly opposed to this and revolts. He cuts all ties to the pack and forms his own, with Leah Clearwater and Seth. Four weeks after conception, Bella has the child. In the process she loses a great deal of blood and suffers multiple broken bones. To save her life Edward is forced to embrace and turn her into a vampire. Immediately after the birth, Jacob imprints the newborn baby girl, Renesmee. The final part of Breaking Dawn reverts back to Bella’s view point, continuing her story as an excited Vampire who enjoys all the abilities it brings. Irina, another Vampire mistakenly identifies the baby; she believes Renesmee is an immortal child, one that has been changed to a Vampire. An act the Volturi outlawed previously. Irina informs the Volturi of the act, they then decide to destroy the Cullens and baby Renesmee based on Irina’s story. To prove their innocence and save the life of their baby daughter, the Cullens gather vampires to stand up as witnesses and help prove to the Volturi the child isn’t an immortal child. The plan works, and the Volturi realize they have been lied to by Irina and immediately sentence her to death for the mistake. Soon after, the arrival of Jasper and Alice, who too had a human-vampire child return. They prove the child presents no threat with Nahuel, their 150 year old crossbreed son. The Volturi see the truth in these words and promptly leave, safe in the knowledge that vampire-human crossbreeds can co-exist without bringing any undue attention on the vampire’s existence. Bella, Edward and their new daughter, Renesmee, return to their home.

1. Why do you think Jacob decides to leave his pack?

2. Do you think Jacob will ever forgive Bella for becoming immortal?