The Voice Inside My Head

cover artS.J. Laidlaw’s The Voice Inside My Head is a mystery that’s packed full of  emotions. The novel has adventure, comedy, and a deep sadness.

Luke’s quest to find his missing sister results in him getting to know her better than ever. He sees what she would have been like if she wasn’t burdened with all the responsibilities of caring for him and his parents. His love for her, and unwillingness to give up on finding what happened to her drives the reader to NEED to know too. You can’t put the book down without knowing.

Pat is the absent character, who we get to know without truly meeting. Everyone and everything in the novel is framed by their relation to her. She is adored by some, and despised by others, but everyone feels passionately about her disappearance

For a book  primarily about the loss of a loved one, with a heavy focus on alcoholism, The Voice Inside My Head is a light, enjoyable read. The characters speak in diction that allows you to hear them as individuals. There are quirky, funny people making their way through this serious story.

Luke has internal dialogue with Pat that could cause some debate for readers. Is it his subconscious feeling guilty about the way things were between them? Is it her spirit speaking to him? There’s no definite answer but we learn a lot about their relationship either way.

Family dynamics are contrasted on numerous occasions. Luke’s dysfunctional family makes Jamie’s look wonderful, but then Luke is grateful that he has more than Zach.

I look forward to discussing the characters and the issues they face in my book club this summer. This book has been selected as an honour book for the CLA Young Adult Book Award.

Winners of CLA Young Adult Book Award

The winners of the award I chaired this year have officially been announced today so I’m free to tell you all how amazing they are!!

The official press release is on the CLA website.

The winner is This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.

The honour books are:

I wrote the blurbs for the press release so you have a taste of my thoughts but I have also linked each of the titles to my more detailed reviews.

There are some fantastic Canadian authors and awards like this help us raise awareness of their books. I hope public libraries, high schools and teens will invest in these books.

CLA Young Adult Book Award Shortlist

As the Chair of the CLA Young Adult Book Award, I am proud to announce our finalists for books published in 2014. There were so many amazing books this year! Canada has some fantastic authors.

Congratulations to all the authors and publishers who won us over with your fabulous books.

The official press release is on the CLA website.

Now that I’m caught up on my reading (well my “assigned” reading anyway…) and the shortlist has been announced I am free to blog. So you can expect reviews of those books that didn’t make the cut but caught my attention. My reviews are my personal opinion and not the CLA’s. Some really great works aren’t mentioned but deserve some attention. One of the great things of being on this jury is I get exposed to new  books and have the opportunity to promote them. The shortlisted books will be reviewed once the winner has been announced.