A story that's readable and sweet, but ultimately on the slight side for me.
Positives: I loved the narrative voice and the charming illustrations, wA story that's readable and sweet, but ultimately on the slight side for me.
Positives: I loved the narrative voice and the charming illustrations, which reminded me of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING (and also illustrated several characters as POC, though they're not specifically referred to as such); realistic handling of difficult subjects, especially the mom who abandoned Gertie and Gertie's conflicted feeling about her dad's job on an oil rig; non-nuclear family unit (Gertie lives with her aunt, and her dad is away for his job for long stretches of time); and best of all, the familiar outrages and embarrassments of being in school, including unfair treatment, fixating on another kid who always seems to get her way, not being able to help yourself from doing something wrong, and feeling betrayed by a friend. And Gertie herself, who is not afraid of resuscitating frogs, is just delightful.
Less successful: I was willing to believe in Gertie's unlikely quest to win over her estranged mom, but somehow that never came together convincingly for me until near the end with the play. (Although again, I appreciated how that played out.) Like all kids, Gertie was also selfish at times, but unlike the competitive scenario with Jean, she also rarely listened to Junior, and I don't think that was followed through very well--that is, I don't think she really noticed it. (The Mary Sue lesson was, as expected, a solid one, however.) And although I liked the writing style and dialogue, I think the book and characters start strong but don't finish with as much humor or wisdom or heart as they had the potential to.
So, a quick and enjoyable read, but not something I'd be likely to read again. But I'd check out another book by this author down the road.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Audiobook PS: I listened to about 30 minutes of the audio version and the style of narration was a little too zany for me. But don't let me stop you--I do a lot of audiobook listening at night before bed and generally prefer things a little less exaggerated. I'd guess this is a probably a good audiobook to listen to on a road trip/ or with kids....more
I was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin asI was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin as well, which helped to inspire one of the stories!
I've seen this book classified as both "thriller" and "horror." It's neither thrilling nor horrifying. While the beginning was promising, this felt liI've seen this book classified as both "thriller" and "horror." It's neither thrilling nor horrifying. While the beginning was promising, this felt like a ton of set-up without any payoff; a week after finishing it I'm already struggling to recall anything remotely interesting that happened.
Not horrible, just...extremely underwhelming.
Audiobook notes: narrators were fine. Though the two actors weren't given that much to do, frankly.
Audio review copy was provided by the publisher....more
Started off pretty well, but eventually it became apparent that the characterizations would stay flat and the plot would stay underdeveloped. This booStarted off pretty well, but eventually it became apparent that the characterizations would stay flat and the plot would stay underdeveloped. This book just seemed sillier and sillier and less sincere as it went along, which are the last things I'd want to think of a story about child kidnapping, rape, and imprisonment. I've read plenty on such scenarios, both fictional and real, and ranging from serious explorations to pulpy airport paperbacks, and this one scales low whether you're judging on writing or thrills or compassion or insight.
Ugh. I feel such dislike at this particular moment that I think the 2 stars are rather generous. We'll see if they stay intact. If you're at all interested in this book, I'd suggest reading Living Dead Girl instead.
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Also, what is it about terrible thrillers and their penchant for having the villains be obsessed with dolls? It's not even creepy as it's meant to be, it comes off like a ridiculous attempt to manipulate reader reactions rather than anything based on real menace, research, or emotion.
DNF after 5 chapters. Loved the beginning, which has the heroine literally up to her elbows with a cadaver in an autopsy room. But the deliberate viscDNF after 5 chapters. Loved the beginning, which has the heroine literally up to her elbows with a cadaver in an autopsy room. But the deliberate visceral appeal of those types of scenes, reminiscent of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, are hampered by thin romantic beginnings, mannered dialogue, and an anachronistic hammering of modern feminist attitudes.
Since people love to kneejerk-complain over observations like the last one, I'll spell it out clearly for the trolls in simple language. (view spoiler)[Recycled from previous reviews, but hey, I'm tired and I'm not paid for this. (hide spoiler)]
To build a convincing historical world and heroine, you must acknowledge the mores and manners of the time if you are to subvert them. See MY LADY JANE, A TASTE FOR MONSTERS, The Infernal Devices series, and yes, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER for just a few examples of heroines who defy society without seeming like girls from the year 2016 conveniently transported to another time.
We get it. You're not like other 19th century girls. ...more