I like the plot idea and the grief Caggie is dealing with, but the pacing was an issue for me. I can definitely pair this with other books my students...moreI like the plot idea and the grief Caggie is dealing with, but the pacing was an issue for me. I can definitely pair this with other books my students are reading and recommend it to them.(less)
This is a smart, sweet book that middle school students will enjoy. I love how Willow grows as a character while making an impact on the people around...moreThis is a smart, sweet book that middle school students will enjoy. I love how Willow grows as a character while making an impact on the people around her.(less)
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, s...moreFlash Review originally posted on YA Love
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, so I was hesitant to read this. I ended up really liking Jody Casella’s debut novel. The comparisonn to Through to You is a good one since both books deal with grief and loss, but the execution and story is so much better in Thin Space. I was completely absorbed in Marsh’s story. For a large part of the book I wondered if a Thin Space was some kind of coping mechanism or if it would turn out to be an actual place. I’ll let you find out when you read it! There’s a great twist in the story and wonderful character development. I understood Marsh and his profound grief. This is an excellent book that I know my students will love. Better yet, it released in paperback so it’s easy on the wallet!(less)
This is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be described...moreThis is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be described (I'm slightly exaggerating when I use the word "everything").(less)
So first of all, I didn’t realize this is a companion to Jumping Off Swings until I started reading it. I gue...moreFlash review originally posted on YA Love
So first of all, I didn’t realize this is a companion to Jumping Off Swings until I started reading it. I guess I wasn’t paying close attention to the summary! Second, I was pleasantly surprised because I wanted more of Josh’s story when I finished reading Jumping Off Swings.
Living with Jackie Chan is an all-around enjoyable read that is full of heart. Josh is a character readers will relate with and probably learn from. He was really suffering in Jumping Off Swings and that suffering is even more evident in this companion novel. He simply doesn’t know how to deal with what he did and what happened to him. His guilt and remorse are eating him up from the inside out, but thankfully he has a supportive family and group of friends to help him. I love his uncle Larry for this reason. Larry is encouraging, enthusiastic, and supportive without being over-bearing. He’s a gem of a character and so much fun to read. My one minor qualm with Living with Jackie Chan is that it felt a little long. Towards the end I was ready for Josh to heal and stop being so remorseful; his narration and feelings began to feel repetitive. Despite that, I really liked this book and am looking forward to sharing it with my students.(less)
To put it simply, I just loved Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith.
Smith’s writing is lively and beautiful. I almost neve...moreReview originally posted at YA Love
To put it simply, I just loved Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith.
Smith’s writing is lively and beautiful. I almost never take notes when I’m reading a book because it distracts me, but I had to write down multiple sentences and paragraphs while reading Wild Awake. If I didn’t want to stop, I took a picture of what I was reading so I would remember it when writing this review. Here are a few of the sections I wanted to remember (quotes taken from the ARC):
“His smile is a jar full of fireflies.”
“…I feel more exposed than I ever have before, like I’m climbing a rock face with only a strand of dental floss for a harness. The music we’re playing is a dripline straight from our hearts, a confession of all that we are.”
“…I’ve traded in a jar full of pennies for a bar of gold. It’s amazing how quickly the things you thought would make you happy seem small once you stumble on something true.”
Hilary T. Smith has lines like those woven throughout her entire novel. I absolutely love her similes and metaphors.
Along with loving the writing, I adore Kiri Byrd. She is alive on the page. I simultaneously worried about Kiri while wanting to be her friend and spend time with her. I worried for her because she is grieving over her sister and what she discovers about her sister. I also worried for her because she’s manic and dealing with it all by herself. (Note–I knew something was mentally wrong with Kiri, but didn’t think of mania–I have no idea why not–until Kelly @ Stacked pointed it out in her review, which is great by the way.) What’s awesome about Wild Awake is that I never felt like I was reading a novel about grief. I understood Kiri’s grief and empathized with her, but I never felt down while reading this. I think the main reason I didn’t feel down is because Kiri is so exuberant. Even at times that she shouldn’t be, she is full of life and wonder and wanting the best for herself and for Skunk.
Speaking of Skunk, his character is wonderful. He and Kiri are both suffering, but they’re life rafts for each other. He’s her “bicycle boy,” her “love-bison,” and so much more. Kiri sees his potential and wants to help him heal. I don’t want to say too much more because I’m afraid I’ll spoil something, but I sure do love Skunk. Especially Skunk and Kiri together.
A couple people have asked me if Wild Awake would be okay for middle grade readers, and I’m honestly not sure. There isn’t anything graphically sexual in this novel, but the themes and issues are deep. I’m not sure if a middle grade reader would grasp what exactly is going on with Kiri and Skunk. My best advice is to read this–because you’ll hopefully enjoy it anyway–then make your decision based on what you know about your readers. I feel completely comfortable offering this to new freshmen in the fall, if that helps at all.
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is a must-read. Based on this debut, I know that Hilary T. Smith is going to be an exciting voice in YA literature. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!(less)