Inspired by the Steubenville High School Rape Case, Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw deftly handles topics like consent, slut shaming, teen drinking, andInspired by the Steubenville High School Rape Case, Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw deftly handles topics like consent, slut shaming, teen drinking, and social media. I think this book would be perfect for a book club or novel study because it’s bound to generate discussion.
In What We Saw, the main character, Kate, is driven home by a friend after getting intoxicated at a party. Another girl at the same party, however, isn’t so lucky – and suddenly, there are allegations that she was raped by a few members of the school’s beloved basketball team, while unconscious. Despite the fact that it appears there were tons of witnesses and a video of the rape is briefly posted online, nobody comes forward to support the allegations. Kate wonders who to believe – a lone girl considered a slut or the rest of the student body?
I really liked Kate as a character because even though she was confused about where her loyalties should lie and was repeatedly told to not get involved by adults and peers alike, she still decided to seek the truth. Then, when she does find out what happened, she’s courageous enough to make some tough choices. It amazes and disgusts me that people can see terrible stuff like this happening and not do anything to stop the situation or speak up about it!...more
Way back in elementary school, I loved reading Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club and Babysitters Little Sister series. So, when I saw her name onWay back in elementary school, I loved reading Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club and Babysitters Little Sister series. So, when I saw her name on Rain Reign, I didn’t even bother reading the summary to see what Rain Reign was about.
When I began Rain Reign, I was a little worried that it might be too simplistic for me because it’s told from the perspective of a girl in Grade 5 who has Asperger’s syndrome and narrates her story using the rules she’s been taught about narrative writing. Rain Reign, however, did end up dealing with more mature themes. Rose, for example, has a mother who left her and an alcoholic father who doesn’t understand her. She has no friends at school due to impairments in social interaction (e.g. she constantly talks about prime numbers and homonyms, she needs everyone to follow the rules, etc.), and has been held back a year because her school isn’t equipped to deal with her needs. The only good things in Rose’s life appear to be her uncle and her dog, Rain.
Martin makes it really easy for the reader to root for Rose throughout the story. While I enjoyed Rain Reign, I know my younger self would have loved this book. I highly recommend it for kids in elementary and middle school!...more
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was a book that I wanted more from. For example, although it addresses the fact that transgendered teens arThe Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was a book that I wanted more from. For example, although it addresses the fact that transgendered teens are often bullied and are more likely to have mental health issues, I would have liked this to have been done more through showing than telling. As well, despite the book beginning with David wishing that he was a girl, David didn’t end up being as interesting a character as Leo, who appears to have a huge secret for at least half the book. Unfortunately, I knew what this secret was because of the summary on Goodreads so I was frustrated by how long the secret took to be revealed. Finally, I thought that some parts of the story were rushed (e.g. I personally didn’t feel that Leo and David were that close when the two decided to open up to each other) whereas other parts weren’t explored enough (e.g. we never find out Leo’s mother’s side of the story with regards to his dad and how her opening up to Leo then changes Leo’s relationship with her). ...more
Cat Jordan’s The Leaving Season was a book I decided to read because I was in the mood for something predictable. And it was ... until an unexpected pCat Jordan’s The Leaving Season was a book I decided to read because I was in the mood for something predictable. And it was ... until an unexpected plot twist, which kind of ruined the rest of the story for me because it created unnecessary tension. (To be honest, even then there was hardly any drama since Nate is supposed to be a great guy.) I knew going into The Leaving Season that it would be cheesy, but I wish there was more to the plot than Meredith missing Nate and discovering that she’s wrong about Lee’s reputation. I didn’t feel like I got to really connect with the characters, and felt that Meredith’s relationship with Lee was more of a rebound situation than her actually falling in love with him....more
Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City was a book that I picked up because I was in the mood for something action-packed. It certainly delivered in that regarRyan Graudin’s The Walled City was a book that I picked up because I was in the mood for something action-packed. It certainly delivered in that regard because there were plenty of action scenes and Graudin’s setting was inspired by Kowloon Walled City, a densely populated, walled city in Hong Kong that was famous for crime. I think the book would have been even more exciting, however, if the danger aspect in the climax had panned out so that the book remained realistic. Imagine my disappointment to find out that Graudin didn’t take the gutsy route and kill a character that would have most likely died in real life!
Another reason that I lowered my rating of The Walled City was that the characters could have used more depth. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance because it seemed like the romantic interest was only attracted to Dai due to his physical features. Realistically, there was no reason for her to trust Dai and risk putting her life in jeopardy. ...more