Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wisconsin Becomes a State: Books by Cheeseheads

One this day in 1848 Wisconsin became the 30th (and so far, the best) state. California can run all the happy cow commercials it wants, everyone knows Wisconsin is the Dairy State. So grab some cheesecurds (they squeak when they're fresh!) and curl up with one of these books written by a Cheesehead author.


Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Bick. Jenna's been sent to a special school because she's been cutting. But school doesn't help, because that's where she meets Mr. Anderson, her science teacher, and they have an intense relationship. But nothing is clear and Bick challenges what's right and what's wrong. She lives in rural Wisconsin.

What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Allie and her friends are fatally allergic to sunlight. Parkour lets them explore the world by night, but then they see a dead body, and maybe the murderer. Parkour let them feel alive, but it might not keep them so. Mitchard lives in Madison.

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. Amy is spending time with her Aunt Claire to help her clean out her grandparent's house. In the attic, Amy finds Claire's old dollhouse, a perfect replica of the house. The dolls never stay where Amy leaves them, and when she goes up at night, there is light and noise coming from the house. Do the dolls hold the clues to solve the grisly murders of Claire's parents? I read this one in 6th grade and it still freaks me out. Wright lives in Racine.


The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. After the accident, Paige was shipped off to France so her mother could do damage control. Paige is expected to step back into her picture-perfect life when she returns, but she finds it has shifted and moved on without her. From her new prospective, she's not entirely sure she wants to step back into it, anyway. Backes grew up in Oregon.

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes. After Olive dies in a car crash, her neighbor, Martha, discovers the girls had more in common than Martha ever knew. Martha also discovers that Olive really wanted to be her friend, and now it's too late. Henkes was born in Racine and currently lives in Madison.

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore. The frame story is about a woman in Paris whose marriage is falling apart. But, while in Paris, Berie remembers high school, when she was a cashier at Storyland amusement park, and her best friend, Sils, who played Cinderella. Published for adults, teens will enjoy the Berie/Sils storyline which makes up most of the book. Moore lives in Madison.


Hunger: A Novella and Stories by Lan Samantha Chang. All of these short stories focus on immigrant families (mostly Chinese) and lost love. Published for adults, many feature teenagers and they will enjoy the book. Chang grew up in Appleton. Other famous Appletonians include Joseph McCarthy, Harry Houdini, Edna Ferber, and me.

Our Town: A Play in Three Acts by Thorton Wilder. This play is a perennial favorite of high school stages. It examines the life of one woman, and therefore all people, set in a small New Hampshire town. Wilder was born in Madison.

Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer. Best friends Emily and Robin sneak into a theme park after closing and end up in the hospital. Robin wakes up and has to remember everything that happened in the hopes that her memories will help Emily wake up and recover. Sawyer is the pen name of Laura Schaefer, who publishes middle grade novels with traditional publishers. She lives in Madison.

Who are your favorite authors from Wisconsin?

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