The Romanov sisters : the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

From  Eileen Effrat

Author:  Helen Rappaport

Title:  The Romanov sisters : the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra 

The four daughters of Tsar Nicholas were the most talked about royals of the early twentieth century—–think Diana or Catherine.  Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, and archival sources from private collections, Rappaport focuses on the their daily life, and the recollections of those closest to the girls. The daughters—Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia—referred to themselves as OTMA, while Alexandra called them her “girlies”. As the author states, “the girls never bristled against being a collective”.  What emerges in this biography is the unique individuality of each sister.   The book does not dwell on their final days in Ekaterinberg.  For that, you will have to read Rappaports previous book, The Last days of the Romanovs.   For those with an interest in Russian history, this is a meticulously researched and quite readable account of four sheltered girls  in the twilight of the Tsarist regime.

Beautiful Malice

From Mary, Teen Book Reviewer
author: James, Rebecca
Beautiful Malice
Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, was definitely, if not the best, then at least one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s about a girl named Katherine, who meets Alice; a beautiful, popular, live life to the fullest-type of girl. But what Alice doesn’t know is Katherine’s past. Rebecca James tells the story in such a way that makes you want more and as if you, the reader, are actually experiencing it. There are so many twists and unexpected resolutions, which is what makes it such a fantastic book. This book is amazing and is like an addicting bag of chips; keeps you wanting more.

September Sisters

From Alex, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Cantor, Jillian
September Sisters
For the Teen Review Blog, I read the book September Sisters written by Jillian Cantor. In this wonderful book, Abigail and her younger sister Becky are always fighting and bickering. Their mother always pretends they’re friends but they aren’t. Then one day Becky disappears at  night. Abigail and her family are upset and are calling everyone including police. Abigail feels it’s all her fault but it really isn’t.
I would recommend this book to all girls because its about a girl going through life feeling lost because her sister isn’t there. I doubt boys would  want to read this book but you never know. September Sisters is an amazing book. The details are vivid and very descriptive. You can really use  your imagination in this book. I could barely put it down, that’s how good it was for me. September Sisters is a very enjoyable book and I hope  you all enjoy it too.

Promise me : how a sister’s love launched the global movement to end breast cancer

From Lisa Kropp
author: Brinker, Nancy
 Promise me : how a sister’s love launched the global movement to end breast cancer
 Part memoir, part non-fiction battle against breast cancer, this book tells how the author lost her beloved older sister, Suzy, to breast cancer at the age of 37. In one of her final conversations with her sister, she vowed to do everything she could to fight breast cancer and raise money in her sister’s name. Thus, the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation was born.  Thirty years after the death of her sister, the Susan G. Komen For the Cure is one of the most influential and respected health charities in the world, raising over 1.5 billion dollars towards education, research, and community programs.  This was a fascinating read on how literally one person CAN make a huge difference when they put their mind to something.

Survival of the fiercest : a Sloane sisters novel

From Sarah, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Carey, Anna
Survival of the fiercest : a Sloane sisters novel 
In the second Sloane Sister Novel, “Survival of the Fiercest,” Cate and Andie are still living on New York’s Upper East Side and their father has just got married to their friends’ (Stella and Lola) mom. When their parents leave for their honeymoon, things heat up! Cate is determined that she and Stella will form their own High School sorority. This is because they had a fight a few days earlier with their former best friends Blythe, Priya, and Sophie that resulted in Cate and Stella being banned from their own sorority. Cate’s number one goal is to form an even more popular sorority by herself! Cate recruites Stella to help work on starting the sorority and they make a new friend on the way! Additionally, Andie is dealing with a major crush problem. She likes this guy named Kyle, but her new stepsister Lola likes him too! Lola is, of course, trying to impress Kyle, but she is also meeting with a famous fashion designer to become a model!!!! I love this book, and I can’t wait to read the next one! This book is exciting, has good story lines and is full of drama! I will definitely recommend this book to any girl 8 and up!!!

The merry recluse: a life in essays

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Knapp, Caroline
The merry recluse: a life in essays 
This was published posthumously in 2004. The compiler is Sandra Shea, her former editor. The author died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 42.  Ms. Knapp was a columnist for the Boston Phoenix, an alternative newspaper, and her essays also appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Siren magazine, and New Woman magazine. She wrote honestly about her struggles and her innermost thoughts and feelings.  She admits to feelings of jealousy, anxiety, grief, loneliness and rage that many of us deny. Her essays about her obsessions and addictions are truly brave. In “A letter to my father”, she states “I’ve come to see drinking as a relationship, as full and rich and sensual and complex as the kind you have with the key people in your life, as the kind I had with you.  I loved drinking, for a long time. I loved it so much I could have died for it, literally.  But you died first and in many ways, I guess that spared me.  On some key level, you see, I couldn’t give up drinking until I’d given up you.”
      “Life without anesthesia” is about how exposed one feels after giving up an addiction.  In her case, she hid behind anorexia and alcoholism.  In conquering a food disorder and alcoholism, she was sometimes flooded with too many emotions, but also experienced an authentic life.  Ms. Knapp was also a fine social critic.  The piece entitled “Teddy Bear II” is about a case where a woman abandoned her father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  She argues that we as a nation do a very poor job of caring for our elderly.  She could be funny, too.  How many of us can relate to spending inordinate sums of money to furnish our homes in “Notes on Nesting” I saw myself in “I hate money”: “I hate money.  I hate dealing with it, thinking about it, managing it, planning for it, and accounting for it. On the other hand, I don’t have too many problems spending it, which complicates matters considerably.” ” Bills? What bills? I don’t see any bills. Who’s Bill? Let’s talk about something else.” Some essays might appeal more to women.  In “Barbie does death”, Ms. Knapp states that “The big walk down the aisle  is allegedly something a girl starts dreaming about as soon as she’s old enough to dream”.  She did an informal poll of 15 of her friends, and only two had the wedding fantasy.  The majority fantasized about being rock stars or superheroes.  The title essay “The merry recluse” is about the joys of living alone, and how this flies in the face of societal expectations.  It would have been amazing to see what other issues she would have tackled, if she had lived.