Summary: This book follows a young man, Andre Battel, in his journey from child to teen to young man. Andre's skill on the basketball court may be his...moreSummary: This book follows a young man, Andre Battel, in his journey from child to teen to young man. Andre's skill on the basketball court may be his only way out of the life of drugs and danger that has been the fate of others before him.
Review I'll admit, that has to be one of the worst summaries I have ever written, but part of my problem is that I just didn't care for the book and couldn't wait for it to be over.
I want to make this clear, it my not liking the book had more to do with me not caring for the genre than it did for the writing. Burke is a talented author, his voice is authentic and unique. I can admire the quality of the writing and the realism of the novel he created. Unfortunately, that knowledge and skill can't make me enjoy the book.
Like I said, the book is incredibly well written and I can definitely see the teen appeal. It will be an easy sell to many of the teens that come to our library.
I guess I am just not a big fan of the urban fiction genre--very few have held my interest. I can tell you though my kids love it and will no doubt be picking up this book.
Audiobook Review: I purchased the audiobook from Audible. It was produced by Dreamscape Media, LLC. The audiobook is 8 hours and 48 minutes and is narrated by Arnell Powell, Simone Cook, and James Shippy. All three narrators did an amazing job with this novel and were brilliant with the voices.
Overall: While I can admire the quality of the writing and the authentic voice of the novel, I can't make myself like it. Urban fiction just isn't my genre of choice. Still, this book will have readers and fans of urban fiction will love it.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: Recommend this book to mature readers.
Language: Yes (prolific, though realistic) Sex: Yes Drugs: Yes (both using and selling) Violence: Yes(less)
Shon Hopwood was a young man from a good Nebraska family. He enjoyed basketball and joined the military after graduating high school. After le...moreSummary:
Shon Hopwood was a young man from a good Nebraska family. He enjoyed basketball and joined the military after graduating high school. After leaving the military he found himself hurting for money and out of options. It was then that he and his best friend concocted a plan to rob a bank. After five bank robberies he was finally caught and would spend the next twelve years in federal prison. During that time he would begin to find himself and discover an interest in the law that would later change his entire life.
I am not usually a nonfiction reader, but I found myself eagerly flipping the pages on this book. Hopwood's writing style is engaging and easy to read. He is brutally honest, which I can imagine was very difficult to write at times. His honesty and his approach to this book make it a very enlightening read. It is ultimately a story of redemption and hope. Prison didn't end his life, it is where his new life started.
This was an interesting work of nonfiction. It was honest, and at times expressed the difficulties of prison life, but in the end it was a story of hope and change. The writing is accessible and the topic was interesting. It held my attention and was a surprisingly easy read for a nonfiction book.
I the town of Oleander, Kansas, people aren't who they seem to be. After the killing day, the day when several town residents go mad and start...moreSummary:
I the town of Oleander, Kansas, people aren't who they seem to be. After the killing day, the day when several town residents go mad and start killing people--the town may never be the same. Then the tornado comes, destroying the town and killing many. After the tornado the town isn't the same. The town is blockaded, surrounded by armed military who are ordered to kill anyone who tries to leave. People you thought you knew begin turning against you, and you turn against ones you love. Nothing in Oleander will ever be the same.
This suspense novel was definitely intriguing. You are never quite sure what is going to happen, and surprises await around every turn. It had some slow spots though, and times when it just wasn't holding my attention.
The narration switches between several teen characters whose stories intertwine. The characters are well drawn and believable. Ellie King is the reformed Christian girl who is compared to a saint, but may hide some very un-saintly secrets. Daniel is the son of the preacher and protector of his brother Milo. West is a football star whose life seems to be defined by his friend Nick's death. Jule Prevette is the niece of the local meth cooker and considered no good by the whole town. Cass murdered a toddler on killing day, but has no memory of the event, and finally Gracie the sister of the murdered toddler all take turns telling this twisted tale. With so many narrators, sometimes, especially in the beginning it was hard to remember who was who. Eventually, they click into place and you can follow along.
There is a lot going on in this novel. A lot of characters, a lot of back stories, and ultimately a lot to remember. It is interesting and readers who like suspense novels will find a lot to interest them here. There are no easy answers, and Oleander will leave scars on characters and readers alike. Recommend this to teens who are looking for a suspense novel or fans of Stephen King.
I purchased the audiobook from Audible. This unabridged production was 13 hours and 40 minutes long and produced by Listening Library. It was read by Mark Deakins who does a great job with the narration. I like the audiobook of the novel. I have a feeling if I hadn't been listening to the novel I would have put it down without finishing.
Usually I like suspense, but for some reason this one didn't hook me the way I suspected. I read Wasserman's Book of Blood and Shadow last year and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was hoping the same would be true here. This book was a little slow for my taste, and a bit to similar to others I have read in the past. Long before we got to the big reveal, I had already figured out the big secret. Also keep in mind this book is for mature teen readers as there are some hot button topics that could cause problems for less mature readers. All in all it was okay, but not my thing.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Sex: Sex is present in the novel and there are references to rape, an attempted rape, and molestation. Violence: Explicit in some cases. Drugs/Alcohol: Meth and alcohol both make appearances in this novel. Language: Some (less)
Amazing! I love Morgan Matson's books and this has to be one of my favorites. Matson's writing is amazing and I can't wait to read what she writes nex...moreAmazing! I love Morgan Matson's books and this has to be one of my favorites. Matson's writing is amazing and I can't wait to read what she writes next. In many ways her books remind me of Sarah Dessen. You have a teen struggling with a problem and trying to figure it out with the help of friends and sometimes family. This was a fantastic summer read. (less)
This is a hard one to review because I know this book is nonfiction and the events depicted in this book are real. My rating and review of this book i...moreThis is a hard one to review because I know this book is nonfiction and the events depicted in this book are real. My rating and review of this book is not meant to diminish her experiences. My rating comes from the fact that I know Elizabeth Smart to be a talented speaker, but the book somehow fails to convey this. The writing style is flat and overly repetitive. Given her talent as a public speaker I was hoping for a book that was better written. (less)