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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Informal' Blog Tour: The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  It is day one of year two-in-progress (that's the first day in my second year of blogging...just in case that was as clear as mud there...) here and today's post belongs to an idea created by a fellow awesome blogger wanting to shine the spotlight on a YA book aiming to bring awareness to a people's plight. (Wow, I am SO writing run-on sentences today...)  She came up with this 'informal' tour as a way to connect readers and bloggers to a cause and author she saw worthy of recognition, without actually having it officially sponsored or ruled by the powers that be.  KUDOS to you!  (Who is the "you"?  I'm getting there, hang on....)

The person/site behind this tour is none other than Amy of the My Friend Amy blog!  Perhaps you've heard of her?  If not, I certainly suggest checking out her site when you get a chance (you know, right after reading this post might be time like the present).  As for the focus of today's post, let's get on with the show.  Today's book of choice is....

The Heart is Not a Size
Beth Kephart

Life is full of secrets.  If you are one of the lucky few to harbor less than others, KUDOS to you!  Often times though, the secrets we keep not only affect us but those we hold dear.  It's a fine line between knowing when to speak out and knowing when to hold your tongue...but sometimes, that fine line becomes crystal clear and it MUST be crossed.

Such is the case in this book for our young female lead...Georgia.  For as long as she can remember, her best friend has been one other than Riley...a girl with many talents and charms that never ceases to amaze others.  Sounds like a great friend to have, right?  The problem is that she doesn't see these positive characteristics herself, leaving her self-esteem at something less than zero even if she does present a happy facade to the world.  That happy face is what's going to get her into trouble one day since it belies the hurt and lost feelings she harbors within.  Georgia knows what's going on.  As her friend, she feels obligated to keep the silence, the unspoken truth weighing heavy between them.  As her TRUE friend, she knows that something has to be done if Riley is to be saved. 

In an effort to distract and refocus the situation, Georgia happens upon a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  A posting on the bulletin board of the local Acme (that's a grocery store....we had one where I use to live up North) seems to hold the key to their summer time plans.  Part adventure, part learning experience, a trip to Anapra in Juarez, Mexico to help with a good will project seems to be just what the doctor ordered.  The only trouble is....problems like these don't just go away with a change in location.  They need to be addressed head on and whether they like it or not, it's about to reach the point of no return for one of them....

The title of the story is eloquently explained within the final chapters of the book, much like another work by this particular author (House of Dance).  In essence, it expresses something we see everyday but can't find the words for.  The bond of the heart whether it be in love, friendship, or acquaintance, is not determined by our size or stature.  People of all shapes and sizes, all walks of life can be and will be friends regardless of what they look like when they are together.  It simply doesn't matter...they've found a deeper connection than one of outward appearances.

That's just part of the story though, this friendship between Georgia and Riley.  Author Beth Kephart didn't just set out to write a book to aid teenage girls with image issues that are more often than not experienced at this age....she set out and successfully brings to the fore front the heart of a city in the making (a colonia, or community) and the desperate struggles the people face on a daily basis.  Anapra is real.  Juarez, Mexico is real.  The sand storms that take down the ramshackle dwellings....the las muertas de Juárez or "The dead women of Juarez" referring to the numerous disappearances and murders of young women in the region....the unpaved roads, the lack of water....all too real. 

Do you know what else is real?  Hope.  The hope of the people, of the region, palpable in the pages of this moving story but also found in the various sites and information that abounds online.  A change is sought.  A change is needed.  A change starts with one step in a direction less ordinary.  The aim of this 'informal' tour was not simply to shine a spotlight on a popular author (though hopefully it does), nor simply her recent release (though again, it is worth a read) is also to help spread the author's efforts to support change for this area and the people there.  To find out more about the book, the author, and other stops along this tour, check out the links below....


Special thanks to HarperTEEN for the review copy!  (THANKS)  It was received separately, that is to say not in relation to this tour, however I opted to push reading it to this month so I could participate in this event.  For more information on this and other fantastic titles, check out their site, or follow along on Twitter!  Also, I would like to extend my thanks to Amy at My Friend Amy for extending a welcome hand to participate in this unique tour.  It was definitely an eye-opening experience and one that will hopefully gain the book (and cause) that much more attention.

Until next time....happy reading!


April said...

What an absolutely awesome post!! I love every part of it and it makes me want to check this book out and add it to my TBR wish list!!

Gina said...

April: Thanks! It was a quick read, but definitely went straight to the heart of both matters at hand....pretty hard hitting for a YA book.

Julie P said...

I have an award waiting for you at my blog!

The1stdaughter said...

I was surprised too by how poignant this book was for such a small size. Again, it's not about the size, but the impact/impression. It's always amazing to me how differently everyone see's a book, but I love it. I love reading your review and thinking about what Georgia's story meant to you. Just perfect! A fabulous review for a fabulous book!

Patricia said...

I really liked this one. Great review!

Gina said...

Julie P: Thanks for the award! *smile*

the1stdaughter: Me too! It was fun to finally get to read your review of the title too...great job by the way.

Patty: Another fan! Thanks!

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