3/26/2010

Saint Iggy: Young Adult Book Review

Saint Iggy
K. Going
Harcourt
2008
Realistic

Summary: Iggy Corso, who lives in city public housing, is caught physically and spiritually between good and bad when he is kicked out of high school, goes searching for his missing mother, and causes his friend to get involved with the same dangerous drug dealer who deals to his parents.

I had to review this book on my blog. It came out a couple of years ago, so if you plan to read it, you'll probably need to check out a copy, or find it in one of the larger bookstores.

I read a lot of books, yet the memory of this one is still strong in my mind. It was a gem ... one of those one-in-a-hundred books. If only every book I ever pick up could be as good as this one.   

Sixteen-year-old Iggy Corso is doing ninth grade over for the third time. He’s also about to be suspended for the ninth time, this time for sassing a teacher. He wants to do better, but it’s hard when you’re not very smart, your parents are addicts, and your mom recently disappeared. But when his principal seems to understand what Iggy is dealing with, Iggy takes heart. Inspired that someone actually believes in his inner goodness, Iggy becomes determined to get back into school, and even to be a contribution. That's what his principal wanted him to do, and that's what he plans to do ... if he could only figure out what that would be.

Iggy’s friend, Mo, is supposed to help him, but Mo also has issues. He’s bright and comes from a world of wealth and privilege, and yet he flunked out of law school, and is an addict. Mo needs money for drugs, and so he plans to get it from his mother, who he hasn’t seen in a while.

They arrive at her house, and she's so happy to see them that she invites them to stay. Mo doesn’t want to, but Iggy can’t imagine how Mo could’ve given up all the comforts of wealth. Iggy’s only source of comfort is his daydreams, where he makes a contribution. Where he is a hero.

Finally, in an ending that will take your breath away and make you cry, unforgettable Iggy gets his chance to achieve his dreams and be a real-life hero.

Going has written several other novels. Her most recent, King of the Screwups, will be released in paperback in May. I’ll post a review of that in a few weeks.

3/23/2010

Literary Awards 2010: Sherman Alexie Wins PEN/Faulkner; David Almond Wins Hans Christian Andersen

Sherman Alexie has won the PEN/Faulkner award for Fiction for his short story collection War Dances. The $15,000 prize will be given out at an awards ceremony in DC on May 8. Read an article here.

If you've never had the chance to meet this man, or to hear him speak, you've missed one of life's great privileges. Everyone loves Sherman Alexie.


David Almond wins the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Literature. The Andersen award is the highest award that can be given for children's literature. It is awarded every-other-year by the International Board of Books for Young People. Read about the award here. Read a newspaper article about David Almond being this year's recipient here.  It is said of Almond's works that they are "deeply philosophical novels that appeal to children and adults alike, and encourage readers by his use of magic realism.”