Ugh. This book was just okay. I kind of forced myself to finish it just to find out how the "mystery" of the story ended. The frustrating thing aboutUgh. This book was just okay. I kind of forced myself to finish it just to find out how the "mystery" of the story ended. The frustrating thing about the book was that after introducing the so-called mystery, absolutely nothing happens for about 200 pages.
Also, all the weird names really bugged me. I know it's supposed to be 1930 Appalachia, but come on --Freethinker, Pilgrim, Seth, Pharoah's Daughter?? (Okay, so "Seth" isn't that weird. Just shows the author is capable of coming up with a normal name, too.)
Then, when the author finally decides to reach the climax, it was so blah and uneventful. The ending didn't really seem in keeping with rest of the novel.
The main character, who the author works very hard to make the reader like, was pretty unlikeable. I had no sympathy for her, which made it hard for me to care what actually happened to her....more
What a great find! This book was very cleverly written, and I enjoyed the strength of each character who was so very different from each other. I espeWhat a great find! This book was very cleverly written, and I enjoyed the strength of each character who was so very different from each other. I especially loved finding out about Constance's background at the end of the book. I really think this would be a great book to read aloud with the kids....more
This book was based on the brutal torture and murder of Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi during the summer ofThis book was based on the brutal torture and murder of Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi during the summer of 1955. The infamous trial, in which the two men who only months later admitted to murder in a magazine interview, found both men innocent of the crime. These events played a crucial part in setting off the Civil Rights Movement in the following years.
So was this an important event and one worthy of retelling from the standpoint of a fictional character? Absolutely. Did Chris Crowe do a great job with it? In my opinion, not so much.
Crowe's main character, Hiram, is a 16-year-old boy visiting his grandfather in Mississippi. He meets Emmett Till and then is witness to the entire trial following Till's murder. Even though Hiram's story is told from a 1st-person perspective, I had a hard time getting very involved with the character or his problems. Maybe it's that there is so much more telling (and believe me, there's A LOT) going on than showing. Maybe part of the problem is how much of the story is just straight dialogue with very little description. Maybe it's just difficult to write your own story while trying to relate actual historical events, so only the very talented can pull it off. I haven't read any of Crowe's other books, so I can't really compare it.
The other thing that bothered me was that when you weren't getting just dialogue, you had to suffer through Hiram's "thoughtful" meditations that were so shallow that he flipped his feelings on any subject from one sentence to the next. For example, he HATES his father SO much and doesn't agree with ANYTHING he says or does. Oh wait, maybe Dad's not so bad and knows exactly what he's talking about. Literally, in the very next sentence, he changes his mind. And this type of quick change of feeling happens constantly through the whole book.
In addition, after Hiram comes home from the last day of the trial, and we're told how absolutely devastated he is by the verdict, the next minute he has forgotten all about that because he's going to see a girl he likes. Yeah, he's a deep one.
I get why so many teachers use this book in their classrooms as it is an extremely easy read and teaches about an important historical event. But is it too much to ask that students get good writing, too?
I really agree with Jenni's review of this book. There were parts in it that were really fantastic, and the author definitely has talent, but so muchI really agree with Jenni's review of this book. There were parts in it that were really fantastic, and the author definitely has talent, but so much of it was contradictory and offensive. I hated how Beck wrote that she detested the arrogance and superiority at Harvard, but she makes it VERY clear how very intelligent and gifted she herself is. She goes on and on . . . really beating the reader over the head with it.
She is too intelligent, in fact, to fall for the religious beliefs she and her husband were both raised with, but she attributes her experiences with her son to "magic" or some other form of mysticism. She is so clearly confused about herself and her family, that I felt uncomfortable reading the book, despite its redeeming qualities. Knowing more about her background since reading this book has only made it worse for me.
Okay, never was their a more deceptive title for a book. I think whoever came up with it really should find a new line of work. This is not a story abOkay, never was their a more deceptive title for a book. I think whoever came up with it really should find a new line of work. This is not a story about a girl whose mother was a peppy little cheerleader in high school and tries to live out her dreams in her daughter's life, or something like that. Um, no. Instead, this historical fiction depicts the events of 1960 New Orleans when the 9th Ward elementary school was first integrated. Not exactly what you were envisioning when you read that title, was it?
The "Cheerleaders," as they were called, were a group of women who gathered at the elementary school each morning and afternoon to yell and scream horrible things to little 1st grader Ruby Bridges -- the first black student to be integrated into the school. Thirteen-year-old Louise is the narrator of the story, and her mother was, in fact, one of these so-called "Cheerleaders."
The story was incredibly interesting and pretty well-written, but it does include a rather violent scene when Louise's mother is raped by some "good old boys," and a few other implied acts of violence, so I was surprised to see this book marketed to readers as young as middle school. Maybe I'm just naive in thinking middle schoolers are still naive? Overall, though, it was thought-provoking to get this story from a very different perspective....more
I liked this book about an 8th grade boy who is stuck at home with mono and begins keeping a poetry journal to chronicle his thoughts. The whole bookI liked this book about an 8th grade boy who is stuck at home with mono and begins keeping a poetry journal to chronicle his thoughts. The whole book is written in free verse, along with some specific poetry formats that he tries out as he experiments with poetry.
The story was nice, and I can see it being an interesting way to introduce poetry to young adults. Was it very realistic? Well, I'm no 8th grade boy with a passion for baseball, but it seems unlikely that a kid in his situation would suddenly start a journal and choose poetry as his means of expression. I'm just saying....more
Wow, had to add this book for the title alone. For some reason, the word "snogging" always makes me laugh.
Oh my goodness, this book was so irreverentlWow, had to add this book for the title alone. For some reason, the word "snogging" always makes me laugh.
Oh my goodness, this book was so irreverently hilarious, it had me laughing out loud through the whole thing. I know I've mentioned many times that I'm a sucker for all things written by our friends the Brits, and this was like a teenage Bridget Jones's Diary. So very, very funny! I can't wait to read the next one....more
Um, I'm a little embarrassed to give this four stars, but I admit it -- I really liked it, okay? It's just that, okay, first of all, the cover . . . iUm, I'm a little embarrassed to give this four stars, but I admit it -- I really liked it, okay? It's just that, okay, first of all, the cover . . . it just kind of screams "trashy romance novel," doesn't it? Which, don't get me wrong, there is definitely a trashy aspect to this series that I will admit is a guilty pleasure, but it does not fall in the romance novel category. At all. Okay, maybe just a smidge. But seriously, that is not the genre we're working with here.
And there were definitely some frustrating aspects to the story, characters, etc. Yet somehow . . . it was super addictive, and I just wanted to read the next book immediately. I recognize it for what it is -- semi-trashy escapism -- but it was a really fun read with some pretty cool world-building. Left me wanting more. ...more
I've read a few of Laurie Halse Anderson's books (some I've liked, some not so much), but this is by far the best one. It was amazingly well-written,I've read a few of Laurie Halse Anderson's books (some I've liked, some not so much), but this is by far the best one. It was amazingly well-written, and I felt like every page had layers and layers of meaning.
It is told from the perspective of a 9th-grade girl who earlier in the summer was raped by a senior boy at a party. She'd had too much to drink, but she realized what happened, was scared, and called the police. When the police got there, though, everyone panicked and ran, and she was too frightened to speak up and explain what happened. Now, during her first year of high school, she is completely ostracized by her classmates because they think she called the police to get everyone in trouble.
She is unable to tell anyone what really happened, and instead, turns into herself and almost completely stops speaking at all. The book chronicles her metamorphosis during the year as she develops courage and the ability to speak for herself....more
Overall, it was disappointing. Yet another book that I grabbed at random because it looked interesting. It wasn't. VERY poorly written, the charactersOverall, it was disappointing. Yet another book that I grabbed at random because it looked interesting. It wasn't. VERY poorly written, the characters were unbelievable, and the ending was too sappy . . . like a fairy tale where everything magically works out....more
I loved this book just as much as I did Zippy, even though it definitely dealt with more serious issues. Haven Kimmel is so hilarious, it's impossibleI loved this book just as much as I did Zippy, even though it definitely dealt with more serious issues. Haven Kimmel is so hilarious, it's impossible to not love her writing....more