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Glass Girl by Laura A. Kurk (2013 edition)

Book Overview:

momsread.comGlass Girl (2013 edition) is the story of Meg and Henry–the first part of their story. Meg is the new girl in town, but she’s keeping a secret–her big brother died in a violent encounter that shattered her family.  Henry longs to comfort the grief he can sense in Meg, and as they draw closer, he helps her to confront her demons and find a new source of strength.

Positive Content:

Glass Girl is the first title by Laura Anderson Kurk, but it’s full of promise for her future success in YA.  She has created some deep characters; the reader will come to love Meg, Henry, and Thanet. Henry is the kind of guy you want your daughter to bring home; Ms. Kurk manages to make him a good hero without making him too-good-to-be-true. The reader will even learn to love Wyatt, Meg’s deceased brother, and grieve right along with her.

This is not just a romance novel.  This is a story about grief and living through the loss of a sibling. Ms. Kurk strikes just the right note of pathos, but out of the sadness, Ms. Kurk also communicates an inner peace and joy to her readers to a degree that is uncommon in YA fiction.

momsread.comWe don’t discover until the story is almost over just how Wyatt died.  The reader winds up piecing together Meg’s past at about the same pace as Henry does.  Even though Meg seems fragile in the beginning of the story, she discovers unsuspected wells of strength inside herself.  In fact, she is the glue that holds her family together against terrible odds.   There is a strong spiritual aspect to the conflict in this book.  Meg has some tough questions about God and about why terrible things happen to people.

 

momsread.comGlass Girl
Laura Anderson Kurk
Playlist Young Adult Fiction
Date:  April 1, 2013
225 pages (approximate count, varies by eBook reader)
ASIN: B00C298XOC
Lexile : 890L (based on short sample)

Content to Consider: (Spoilers!)

Violence: OCCASIONAL, BUT SERIOUS. THREE FATALITIES

  • When Meg was much younger, Meg’s aunt committed suicide (she hanged herself) and the details are revealed through Meg’s thoughts. Meg is afraid her mother will consider suicide.
  • Some students at Meg’s new school taunt and mimic Thanet, a student who has cerebral palsy. This is part of a pattern of bullying that continues later.
  • Meg remembers a time when she was a little girl, and her brother beat up someone who was pestering her.
  • Several football players rough up Thanet in the locker room after school, Meg overhears, and sticks her nose into the situation.  Thanet  has had an “accident” before Meg enters the room.
  • Grayson sets off her temper and she tries to shove him. She winds up stumbling into a pane of broken glass, and is injured. The players simply abandon their victims. Meg and Thanet give each other first aid. They don’t press charges.
  • Meg’s thoughts flash back to an accident she had with a razor the first time she tried to shave her legs.  This is a disturbing memory.
  • Extra Large Spoiler!! Wyatt, Meg’s brother is shot by another student in school, trying to save others, but eventually at least three students die, including Wyatt.

Crude, Vulgar, or Profane Language: RARE

  • Meg has a flashback to a day when several people mock a morbidly obese woman.
  • Grayson calls Thanet a “leg dragger” because of the way he walks due to cerebral palsy.
  • There are a couple of euphemisms used in place of stronger language and two instances of “hell.” (Or maybe more, depending on if you’re paying attention to the story.)
  • Tennyson calls Grayson by a sexually charged epithet.

Sexual Content: MILD

  • Grayson implies that Henry has had a sexual relationship with a girl that used to work for his father.
  • Tennyson, who is crazy about one of the guys at the wild party, retreats to a bedroom with her love interest.  Other couples are more public with their amorous pursuits, but the sex is implied rather than detailed.
  • Henry and Meg don’t progress beyond kisses and cuddles in their physical relationship.

Drug/Alcohol: OCCASIONAL

  • Meg’s mother uses “a nightly cocktail of pills” every night to cope with her grief.  She neglects her medications for depression, so she continues her downward spiral.
  • Tennyson wants Meg to go out with her and “get wasted” as a way to cope with some intense pressure at school.
  • Tennyson talks Meg into attending a cook-out; it turns out to be a wild party, complete with booze, cigarettes, and weed.  Meg is the odd woman out since she doesn’t take part in the action, but she is stranded because her friends, Tennyson, Taylor, and Sara (all under age), have been drinking and/or smoking the weed.  Another guy calls Henry, who is not at the party, to take her home.
  • On a Christmas trip to Jackson Hole, a few of Meg’s friends drink beer; they are all underage.

Negative Content:

  • Meg’s mother implodes as a result of her grief after her son’s death.  There are a few ugly episodes in the book when she acts out, screaming at her husband and even turning her anger on Meg.  Eventually, she abandons her husband and daughter to wallow in her grief and depression.
  • Tennyson, Sara, and Taylor, some girls at Meg’s new school, talk her into going camping.  What they don’t tell Meg is that they will be trespassing on private property.  Tennyson has chosen Henry’s ranch in hopes of attracting the attention of one of the wranglers.
  • At Thanksgiving, Meg and her father have to fly to Pittsburgh because her mother goes missing. Meg’s father leaves Meg to go find her mother. Meg’s mother returns in such poor condition that they are forced to commit her to a rehabilitation facility for six months.
  • Grayson takes a snowmobile out for a joy ride and ruins the machine by driving it illegally on cleared streets.
  • We learn that Grayson, the bully, is a product of his upbringing.  Grayson’s father created a scandal by messing with a girl in the town; Grayson has spent the rest of his childhood trying to live down what his father did.

Spiritual Content:

  • Henry is the son of devout Christians; his faith is his own, though, and he’s a realistic example of a young man trying to live his life according to his beliefs.
  • Meg has serious questions about the nature of God, suffering, and death.  Most of these issues are discussed with Henry whose views are far different from hers.
  • Meg is deeply influenced by her experiences with Henry and his family.  She learns to trust in Henry, and by extension, in God.
  • Meg, who is learning about mercy, extends some much-needed mercy to Grayson.

My Personal Opinions:

Ms. Kurk doesn’t shy away from describing mental illness or the difficulties of dealing with depression and grief.  The death of a young person is so hard to bear and tears many families apart.  The story of Meg’s family is tragic and true-to-life, and their reactions to grief are believable and gut-wrenching.  Meg’s struggle to live through the experience and emerge on the other side will draw you in and cause you to consider the sorrows of those living around you.

Readers, ninth grade and up, will identify with Meg and Henry and want to know what happens to them next.  Fortunately, Ms. Kurk has written a sequel, Perfect Glass, which tells of the surprising twists and turns Henry and Meg encounter in the next year of their lives.

Readers of the 2010 version of Glass Girl will want to pick up the 2013 version to see the new characters and settings and how they shape the story leading up to the sequel. Perfect Glass will be available for purchase on June 1, 2013; a sneak preview is included at the end of Glass Girl.

About the Author:

momsread.com

Laura A. Kurk

Laura Anderson Kurk is one of those lucky souls who gets to live in a college town. In fact, it’s her college town—College Station, Texas, where she drove in under cover of darkness when she was way too young and proceeded to set the place on fire. She majored in English for the love of stories, and due to a massive crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald. She continued on to receive an advanced degree in literature.

She writes contemporary books for young adults, a genre that gives her the freedom to be honest. Her debut novel Glass Girl is an unconventional and bittersweet love story, and its sequel Perfect Glass makes long-distance love look possible.

She’s crazy about her husband and her two ginger-headed kids. Laura blogs at Writing for Young Adults (laurakurk.com). She’s a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries, where she writes On Hollywood. On twitter, she’s @laurakurk.

Book Trailer:

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NOTE:

Related Post: Meet Laura Anderson Kurk

Since I wrote my first Book Report for Glass Girl, Laura Anderson Kurk has become a very dear friend. She invited me to be her critique partner during the first and second pass through her sequel to this book, Perfect Glass. Then, we went through the re-write of Glass Girl together. She, in turn, has served as my critique partner on my WIP and continues to mentor me as a pre-published author. We even roomed together at a recent writer’s conference. She’s an inspiring writer and mentor and a joy to know. I did receive the ARC for this book, but I have no financial stake in this work other than if you click the link to Amazon (where I am an associate.) That said, click the link and buy this book. You won’t be sorry.

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About the Author

Kathrese McKee started life as a Systems Engineer at EDS, spent time in real estate, taught middle grade Reading and ESL in Texas, and settled down to blog and write speculative fiction for Young Adults.

As a teacher, she fell in love with books written for Teens and Young Adults. Her favorite books are “coming of age” stories about young people on the difficult road of self-discovery.

Comments

  1. Kathrese, this is beautiful. Thank you so much for your deep reviews. And your layout is gorgeous. You’ve changed things around. Love the library backdrop!

    • Thanks! I gave momsread an overhaul, changing it to a magazine layout, cleaning up the categories, and trying to make it user-friendly. Reviewing books like yours makes all the work worthwhile.

  2. a beautiful review for a beautiful writer and a beautiful book!

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