Neshama’s Choices for August 29th

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Lucky Turtle

Cindra, 16, is shipped from Massachusetts to Montana when she screws up. At Camp Challenge she meets the eponymous fellow who serves as a jack of all trades and they do a bunk along with another camper, Franciella, once from Haiti. They manage to evade pursuers due to Lucky Turtle’s wilderness skills but their plans eventually collapse and split them apart. 20 years later Cindra, with her grown son (Lucky’s), goes to San Francisco in search of him. Reconnection is doable though complicated.  The book sometimes read like a fable, but I suspended disbelief and got caught up in the story.  

Why Fish Don't Exist

Subtitled A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life.  The title grabbed—and perplexed—me, but the subtitle offered clues beyond “science.” (That subject is not my usual stomping ground.)  It’s the story of driven taxonomist David Starr Johnson, and also of Miller’s personal struggles. In the early 1900s Johnson pursued his passion, ended up as president of Stanford, got kicked out in the ensuing scandal of founder Jane Stanford’s death by poisoning, and embraced eugenics. Miller finally lay her losses to rest and found the right partner. Incredibly juicy material, enhanced by exquisite scratchboard etchings. A wild ride, bigger than life characters and concepts. Note: Miller is a science reporter for NPR and really knows how to tell a tale.  

A Mirror Mended

Harrow is at it again with time-traveling Zinnea rescuing other Sleeping Beauties like herself. Until she gets snared by an evil (desperate) queen who grabbed her through said mirror. Back in “our” time her buddies Charm and Prim come to the rescue but along the way it’s touch and go with dangers and bargains galore. Fiercely feminist, bracing, and fun. 

Heartbroke

Short stories set in the Central Valley. The cover features candy necklaces and these hang around the necks of the ranch’s denizens, young girls in trouble. In this tale, Nevaeh (Heaven backwards) is the daughter of the founder who has some peculiar, intense notions of the nature of God. Pretty is featured in two stories; he’s an abusive, elusive dad. These tales are disturbing and compelling. 

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