One of my favorite books ever. I have problem with suicide books. Generally I don't think the authors are ever honest about their characters feelings,...moreOne of my favorite books ever. I have problem with suicide books. Generally I don't think the authors are ever honest about their characters feelings, and they tend to trivialize the act and turn it into a gimmick. Summers writes the best, most realistic, most honest teen characters in YA ... period. There is not another author who is writing better teen characters. Sloane broke my heart. I cried. This book finally helped me, somewhat, deal with my own personal feelings about suicide (and about a family member missing from my life). It doesn't make it better, but it was some comfort. And I AM SO GRATEFUL. (less)
This isn't a bad book. It just always rang false. Somethings are little, i.e. Butter is speeding through Phoenix and doesn't get a speeding ticket. Ph...moreThis isn't a bad book. It just always rang false. Somethings are little, i.e. Butter is speeding through Phoenix and doesn't get a speeding ticket. Phoenix has areas where they use cameras to catch speeders. Maybe he didn't go through one of those spots. Also, it isn't important to the story. Still ... Then, he and his friends go to an NFL game on a Saturday morning. Nope. And the author calls a football scrimmage a match. It annoyed me enough that it magnified other flaws. I could just never buy the characters or the main character's pain. Still, it'll be an easy sell to teens and it is a suspenseful read that will challenge readers to think critically about bullying, body image, and the price of popularity. (less)
Ok. So this is a book you just have to own. Maybe the lists are online. Doesn't matter. Buy this book. It's brilliant. It deserves to be read and rere...moreOk. So this is a book you just have to own. Maybe the lists are online. Doesn't matter. Buy this book. It's brilliant. It deserves to be read and reread. Plus, sometimes it is late at night and you can't sleep … so you flip it open to a random page. And then you stay up all night reading it and it doesn't matter that you didn't sleep because you read this book and you are happy. (less)
**spoiler alert** *There are spoilers and some coarse language in this review*
Alright, so I am on the fence about this book. It is easily one of the w...more**spoiler alert** *There are spoilers and some coarse language in this review*
Alright, so I am on the fence about this book. It is easily one of the worst books I have read. Hands down. The writing is terrible. It is gritty and edgy, but without any grasp on reality. Yet as I wrote before, it's kind of this oddly readable trash . . . like Nicholas Sparks was asked to rewrite No Country For Old Men as a trashy teen soap for HBO. Like a horrid teen soap, not something with some weight that people wanna watch. No this is a gag-me-with-a-spoon after school special meets Lifetime only without the heart or moral compass. One wonders who the audience is? Who are we supposed to root for? It's a young adult book, but the only character that is really sympathetic is the town sheriff (who is in his 50s or 60s). One would think we could feel sympathy for Gina, the girl who is raped, then murders her attacker, then is raped again, then kills herself. But the author treats her like such a slut that I felt more sympathy for him. Like, does he think this is how women act? Are they ready to just start screwing again after being brutally raped? I mean, seriously, what happened to Evans that his characters behave this way? Dru, his main boy, isn't much better. He's mean and angry, which is nice, but then he's mushy putty the next second . . . well, horny mushy putty. I can't believe I continued reading this book. I mean, I almost stopped after 5 pages. Then I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Then I almost stopped after the author kept referring to Gina's vagina as her pussy during and after her rape. I mean seriously? Seriously? Have some respect for women dude. So why did I keep reading? Well, it's a spectacular train wreck . . . and did you not read that part about Nick Sparks/No Country for Old Men/Soap? Don't read it. But then again . . . do read it. You will regret either choice.(less)
Alvarez, J. (2009). Return to sender. New York, NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers. 336 p. 978-0375858383. $16.99. Gr. 4-7.
Tyler Paquette’s family farm...more Alvarez, J. (2009). Return to sender. New York, NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers. 336 p. 978-0375858383. $16.99. Gr. 4-7.
Tyler Paquette’s family farm is in trouble after the death of his grandfather and an injury to his father. When his family hires some migrant workers from Mexico, Tyler is torn between saving the place he loves and upholding the law of the country he loves. As Tyler wrestles with his feelings, he begins to develop a friendship with a daughter of one of the workers, named Mari. Alvarez’s book is timely and sometimes incendiary. She has written two thoughtful characters, Tyler and Mari, with authentic voices. Unfortunately, Alvarez interjects too much of her own voice, thoughts, and beliefs into the adolescents. The result is a wildly uneven, preachy book that condescends its young audience. Alvarez seemingly doesn’t believe her readers can think for themselves or understand the big concepts. It’s too bad, her writing is lyrical and tender enough to have made this a better book.
Additional Thoughts: Really there are few things that annoy me more than an author who doesn't have faith in young readers. Alvarez probably spends 200 pages of a 320 page book, explaining every little thing. I get that maybe some readers won't understand the Spanish words, but it is really obnoxious to read things like, "Hola! That means hello in English" for every single Spanish word used. But she also does it for English words, for every big concept she tries to introduce, and just for squeaks and giggles. This is also a tough sell for young readers. More so because they are being force-fed Alvarez's own agenda. It's an agenda I agree with, but most of the time I was rolling my eyes at how heavy handed she was. Jeez. This book has already won quite a few awards, and it is up for a William Allen White award in Kansas. My only thoughts on that . . . I hope it doesn't win. I haven't hated a book this much in a long time. She is a good writer though. So there's that.(less)
I like the story. I like the magic. I like the writing. But it all seemed a little sexist too me. That made me uncomfortable. I do, however, recommend...moreI like the story. I like the magic. I like the writing. But it all seemed a little sexist too me. That made me uncomfortable. I do, however, recommend it. It builds a cool world of magic and explains lots of fantastic creatures and phenomena.(less)