Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Dessen, Sarah
New York : Viking, 2004
ISBN 0670036390

(4 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews


Booktalk #1

When asked how she is dealing with her father’s death, seventeen-year-old Macy Queen automatically answers, “fine”, although nothing could be further from the truth.  Macy bears her grief silently, as she attempts to be the perfect daughter, student, and girlfriend.  Macy’s brainy boyfriend is off at “brain camp” for the summer, and Macy takes over his boring job at the library reference desk.
                    At one of her mother business parties, Macy meets pregnant Delia, the owner of Wish catering and her quirky and chaotic crew.  Macy takes a part-time job working for Delia and gets to know Delia’s nephews Bert and Wes, and her neighbors Kristy and Monica.  Through Wish catering, Macy sees what unscripted life is like, and she begins to understand that life does not have to be perfect.
                    She and Wes become friends and through a game of Truth, Macy learns to feel comfortable expressing her feelings.  They seem to be falling in love, but each has a commitment to someone else on hold during the summer.  Suddenly, Macy begins to wonder if she was better off keeping her feelings to herself.  (Elaine Meyer., School Library Media Specialist, Colonia High School, NJ)

Booktalk #2

“For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count…What you have to decide is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you'd want to have spent it?” A year and a half after the death of her father, Macy is the perfect, in-control child, who is her workaholic mother's dream. But when her boyfriend leaves for summer “Brain Camp,” and Macy spends all day at the boring library desk job, she begins to wonder if she really likes this quiet, controlled, and supposedly perfect life that she has shut herself into. On a quiet weekend, she steps away from her routine and gets a job at Wish Catering. But the Catering job turns out to be much more. As Macy forms unexpected friendships with her co-workers, she not only learns something about herself, but also about moving on. In one of her best novels, Sarah Dessen explores grief, friendship, and the emotions of a teenager who is trying to figure out who she really is and how she wants her forever to be. (Prepared by: Mollie Carter, SCASL Young Adult Book Awards)

Booktalk #3

When Macy’s father dies, her mother buries herself in her work, expecting her daughter to do the same. Macy has always been responsible and well-behaved, but she finds herself wanting more than high SATs and her mother’s approval. A summer waitressing job introduces Macy to handsome Wes, a former reform school student, and to his relatives and friends who work at blue collar jobs and live a very different life from Macy and her mother.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2006-2007)

Booktalk #4

Macy’s super-smart boyfriend, Jason, is going off to Brain Camp and Macy has to figure out how she's going to live without him for a whole summer. He seems to have his life all planned out while she is struggling to get by. She needs the comfort of the stability he provides, and, she might even love him. Yes, she's taking over his job at the library information desk. Yes, they can always email – but it’s not the same as actually being there.

After losing her father almost two years ago, Macy and her family have been trying to cope with their grief, and it hasn't been easy. Her mother is consumed with work; her sister is busy with her new husband; and Macy, well Macy is just trying to be perfect. It takes the arrival of a chaotic catering crew to shake up Macy’s orderly existence. As she gets to know Delia, the disorganized caterer; Kristy, the burned beauty; and brothers Bert and Wes, Macy finds new ways to deal with her grief and her life. As she begins to find strength in herself, she learns about life, love, and the “truth about forever.”   (Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award Nominees 2007-2008)

SUBJECTS:     Grief -- Fiction.
                        Death -- Fiction.
                        Caterers and catering -- Fiction.
                        Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.