The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: a novel by Jenny Wingfield

Each year, on the first Sunday in June, the Moses family gathers for a reunion on their farm in Arkansas.  For daughter Willadee, with her preacher husband Samuel Lake and their three children, the chance to be with her parents is precious.  This year, however, the entire family must cope with the loss of their father and the Lake family faces additional stress when they learn that Samuel will not have a church to pastor in the coming months.  As the summer unfolds, the children thrive on the farm and become friends with the son of a brutally cruel father on an adjacent farm.  By summer’s end, Samuel and his family will find their faith and family tested as tragedy strikes.

This beautifully told story demonstrates the power of family, faith, and a belief in the possibility of miracles.  Its spirited young heroine, Swan Lake, is a child who captures the reader’s  imagination, alternately making you want to laugh, then cry with her audacity.  A powerful read!

Uglies: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld

This book is yet another addition to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies universe, a dystopia in which people are given surgery to become impossibly beautiful and suspiciously complacent once they are teenagers.  Shay’s Story adds even more illustration to the tale, literally.  This book is a graphic novel interpretation of Shay’s side of the events which take place in the novel Uglies, as well as the story of Shay’s experiences even before she meets the main character, Tally, in Uglies.  After reading all four books in the Uglies series, it was really interesting to see the Uglies universe in pictures, and the extra details from Shay really fill out the story. This graphic novel stands alone and you do not have to read all of the Uglies books to enjoy or understand it, but Westerfeld’s characters and plots are so intriguing that Shay’s Story may inspire you to delve into the novels right away.  Another Uglies graphic novel is coming out this fall and will continue the story of this strange and captivating future.