Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kid Konnection: Viola in the Spotlight

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you some newly released picture books.

Summary: I am in the midst of a conundrum. 

Viola is finally where she belongs—back home in Brooklyn, where there are no khakis or sherbet-colored sweaters and people actually think her yellow flats are cool. With two whole months of nothing to do but hang with her two best friends, Andrew and Caitlin, this is going to be the best break ever! 

But her BFFAA, Andrew, has started acting weird around her, and a new boyfriend has her friend Caitlin ditching her every chance she gets. When Viola's roommates from Prefect Academy show up for a visit, she starts to wonder—is Brooklyn where she wants to stay? When a tragic event shakes everyone's world, Viola realizes it's not where she belongs that matters—it's who she's with that really counts. 

In this heartwarming follow-up to bestselling author Adriana Trigiani's teen debut, Viola in Reel Life, Viola just may be ready to get out from behind her trusty video camera and take the starring role in her own life. -- Harper Teen

If you have visited my blog much over the past three years, then you know that I am a huge fan of Adriana Trigiani's adult books. She's one of my all-time favorite authors -- I love her books and I just adore her as a person. So when I learned a few years that Adriana was starting a series of books for the young adult audience, I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn't help but love the idea that Booking Daughter would be able to experience Adriana's writing sooner rather than later.

So after I read the first book in the series VIOLA IN REEL LIFE (my review), it came as no surprise to me that I adored it. I fell in love with Viola and her friends; and truthfully, I was super-excited because this was exactly the type of book that want my daughter to read. Needless to say, I've been anxiously awaiting the second book in the series VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT for what seems like forever. (Of course, Adriana has been working on a few other projects in the meantime., but she just can't write fast enough for me!)

VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT picks up right where VIOLA IN REEL LIFE ends. Viola is returning home to Brooklyn right after finishing her first year at boarding school. She can't wait to see her parents as well as her her best friends Caitlyn and Andrew, and she's certain she's back where she belongs. However, Viola quickly realizes that things have changed with her "old" friends and that she desperately misses her "new" ones. After a life-changing event occurs, Viola is forced to re-examine her actions and ultimately decide what's best for her.

I truly love Viola, and as a result, I loved this novel. It had a great cast of characters along with an interesting storyline; and as a mother, I really appreciated so many of the messages in this novel. Viola grew up a lot in this book and I love how much wisdom she gained through her experiences. Viola has survived her first crush and truly has a pretty good handle on her relationships with boys. Her perspective that she doesn't need a guy to "complete" her is fantastic, and I only wish I had learned it at her age. In addition, Viola discovers some incredibly valuable life lessons. In this book alone, she learns about love, loss, honesty, and obligations.

One of my favorite storylines in VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT had to do with Viola's good friend Caitlyn. Caitlyn comes from a very strict family, and because of this, feels like she has to sneak around when she meet a boy she likes. Caitlyn is constantly asking Viola to cover for her and Viola is placed in awkward situation. She wants to help her friend, but she's also not comfortable with misleading Caitlyn's parents. I really think that some girls will relate to both Caitlyn's and Viola's positions in this story. Now this is probably me with my "mom hat" on, but I liked the various messages that came about as a result of this storyline.

And that brings me to my next point. I love how sweet VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT is. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either of the Viola books to my friends and their daughters because the stories are not only clean, but also include some wonderful messages. I am so grateful to Adriana for writing such great stories with so many valuable life lessons. It's apparent to me that she is a mother and writes these stories with her daughter in mind!

I highly recommend VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT (and VIOLA IN REEL LIFE) to moms and daughters alike. In fact, both books would make great mother/daughter discussion books.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Karlie said...

As you know, I love Adriana Trigiani too. I think I am going to have to start this series.

bermudaonion said...

You know I loved this book too!

Beth F said...

I love Viola too. I can't wait to get to this one.

Laura Fabiani said...

I love when you put your mom hat on. Your mom perspective is good for moms like me seeking good books for our daughters. This one sounds like a real winner. Thanks for a great review, as always.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It does seem there is always a Caitlyn type who is going to impose on a Viola type for help with lying! It's good to have it in a book so the issue can be considered and discussed!

Louise said...

I've never read any of Adriana Trigiani before. I don't know that I've heard of her all that much actually. Your review sounds interesting. I read a lot of children's book, and blog quite a few but haven't got organised to do a Kid Konnection post before.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I especially liked this line in your review "Viola has survived her first crush" :)