I like the story, and I usually really like Jorjeana Marie's narration, but I find the broad, exaggeratePutting this audiobook on hold 8 chapters in.
I like the story, and I usually really like Jorjeana Marie's narration, but I find the broad, exaggerated accent she's doing for this 1920s book too distracting. I keep picturing a little girl playing dressup/make-believe imitating gangster/mob movies. :/ I guess I'll try to get ahold of the book eventually......more
Audiobook narrated by Ryan Gesell and Michael Crouch (along with an author's note), who do an excellent job of portraying LBook 3 for GLBT Book Month.
Audiobook narrated by Ryan Gesell and Michael Crouch (along with an author's note), who do an excellent job of portraying Lily and Dunkin. This is a pretty straightforward story; it's kind of cute at first, and transgender rep is definitely very much needed, particularly in MG. (I'm also curious about how some of the bipolar symptoms manifest, which I wasn't familiar with before.)
But neither kid's story ended up being as insightful or emotional or compelling as I'd hoped, and somehow the voice never struck me as sounding hugely authentic. Sometimes the voice sounded true, particularly in Dunkin's humor, but I was very conscious of the adult writing the story in other parts. It's not even being spoiled by books like George, which was written by a transgender person; there are plenty of middle grade books written by adults that didn't strike me this way. There was also a bit of a tonal disconnect for me--the kids are in seventh grade, which I think is usually younger YA age? But the language and plot and emotions and characters made it feel like a middle grade book (which also seemed to e how it's marketed). Aside from a couple of different elements that could've been tweaked, it sits firmly in grade school in my mind.
It's a very positive book, and it's a positive thing that it exists and perhaps might be of some help to a child going through similar experiences. I especially appreciated the frank discussion of hormones and other particulars that you don't always see, and any book that might open a kid's heart to empathy and compassion is something I'm all for. But if you've read a fair amount of glbt lit, or even a lot of contemporary fiction for kids, this might not be a book that leaves a huge impact.
An audio review copy was provided by the publisher....more
I bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party andI bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party and to find out whether this children's book published by Scholastic would actually mention the cannibalism.
Kudos to the author for writing about a tricky subject with responsible sensitivity. I'm curious and surprised that this book was written and published (was it commissioned?) for middle grade students, though--I hope most kids get to last beyond elementary school before they have to learn all the gory details of what human beings can be pushed into. Probable futile hope, but still.
Anyway, this gave adult-reader me just the right amount of information and even gives this sad period in history a bit of context and hope. One of the photographs also mentioned that Donner party survivors put items into a time capsule buried at one of the memorial sites back in 1918, and it's supposed to be unearthed a hundred years later. That's just two years away, and you can bet I'll be watching to see what that capsule contained.
Recommended for fans of The Long Winter if you are weirdly drawn to awful stories of survival, if you like the pioneer era, or if you just have a somewhat morbid curiosity in general. I'm always interested in learning about people pushed to their limits and how they cope, and this is an extreme example of that for sure. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars I liked most of this book very much. Set during World War II, it's the story of Annabelle, whose idyllic farm life and friendship with an ol3.5 stars I liked most of this book very much. Set during World War II, it's the story of Annabelle, whose idyllic farm life and friendship with an older war veteran named Toby is threatened when a bully (view spoiler)[and really, sadist (hide spoiler)] named Betty moves into town.
Things I enjoyed: the rural Pennsylvania setting, Annabelle's family (particularly her parents), the friendship with Toby, and the explanation behind the title Wolf Hollow, which is also the name of the town. My favorite thing about the book was the way it makes you feel deeply for veterans of war, especially the way trauma can change someone and how little sympathy and patience we sometimes extend to those we don't understand.
Even as I experienced sadness and pity, however, I couldn't help being conscious of being maneuvered into feeling that way; it's not overly written, exactly, but perhaps some of the "teaching" moments were emphasized a touch too much or a touch too often for me to dissolve into the kind of grief or tears that I think a story like this would normally elicit. Betty the young villainness is also so cruel, and the scenarios so involved (view spoiler)[REAL spoilers, so don't read if you don't want to know (view spoiler)[she starts out as a regular bully, but then wrings a bird's neck and uses a wire to hurt Annabelle's brother, then she lies about seeing Toby doing something terrible, and THEN she falls into a well and publicly blames him for it and THEN she dies because of gangrene (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)] that I sometimes had a hard time suspending disbelief. It's not that children can't be cruel, but within the context of this story and our limited understanding of Betty, I didn't feel entirely satisfied with her portrayal or her role in the way things play out.
On a more positive note: I don't know the exact inspiration behind this book, but I definitely felt shades of To Kill a Mockingbird as I was reading it, and seeing the blurb afterwards confirms that those echoes aren't unfounded. The parallels are strongest for the unjust accusations and mob mentality (view spoiler)[though in true modern form, our heroine is allowed to take more action (hide spoiler)], the mockingbird/wolf analogy, and the feel of a childhood disturbed. Whether this was meant to be a reimagining of TKAM, or just strongly influenced by it, the author really does pull off the difficult trick of giving us a Boo Radley figure, as well as tracing the way a friendship with an adult can be an important basis for our formation. As a child, I had strong relationships with adults that help make me who I am, and I'm glad to see that books like this and Tell the Wolves I'm Home explore that. We see so many stories, real and imagined, about the dangers adults can present to kids that it's nice to enjoy a positive experience as well.
Worthwhile reading? Most definitely. I was moved by it and appreciated what it set out to do. I just wish it had pulled back just a little, and that Betty was better realized, and that some of what happens didn't feel quite so inevitable.
I might've even cried if the story didn't work quite so hard to make me do so.
An audio review copy was provided by the publisher.
Emily Rankin does a lovely job narrating the story, by the way. Perhaps a few too many meaningful pauses, but her overall reading (and the different voices) were very enjoyable to listen to.