. Athena's Books: On the 7th and 8th Day of Christmas
Monday, December 21, 2009

On the 7th and 8th Day of Christmas

On the 7th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Feels Like Home by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

I read a review of this recently that critiqued the writing for including stereotyping and derogatory language toward whites and Mexican-Americans, but when I read the novel sometime back, I did not find anything offensive. This story takes place in a small Texas town below San Antonio, and I will tell you that more than likely the views presented in the novel are probably true, and they are even more true as you go into deep South Texas...I live here. To me it's not stereotyping--it's just reality as to how many people think in these regions. As for me, well, I love this novel and actually think of as a model I want to use because it takes place in a small Texas town--one that I recognize. I also love all the references to The Outsider.

Growing up in a dead-end South Texas town, Mickey had two things she could count on: her big brother, Danny—the football hero everyone loved—and a beat-up copy of The Outsiders. But after the accident—after Danny abandoned her to a town full of rumors and a drunken father—all Mickey had left was a smoky memory, her anger, and the resolution to get out of town for good.

But Danny is back—and he's not the golden boy who left six years ago. He's altogether a different person, and the life Mickey has worked so hard to rebuild seems to be falling apart. Danny's anger is something Mickey just can't forgive, and his best friend's mysterious death six years ago keeps coming back to haunt the edges of her mind. No matter how hard she tries, she can't remember what happened that night—and she's starting to realize that remembering is the only way she can move on. She'll have to face the brother who broke her heart, and that beat-up book that will never again feel like home.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

Deb Caletti is one of my favorite authors! I'll admit I wasn't crazy about the title, but the title gives the total wrong impression. I love how this novel weaves in the stories of several women and their search for Prince Charming, a.k.a. the perfect man.

Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing.

Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist -- after all, she's the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.

It doesn't help that she's gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He's a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy...but he's her dad, and Quinn's just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he's treated the many women in his life, how he's stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father's wrongs...and in doing so, begin to uncover what they're really looking for: the truth.

Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy -- in other words, real life.