I'm wavering between one and two stars, so my rating might change.
I had the ARC for this book, and normally I think nothing of commenting on a properl...moreI'm wavering between one and two stars, so my rating might change.
I had the ARC for this book, and normally I think nothing of commenting on a properly published title, but I do notice that the name of the main character changed from Billy to Zach. So I'm not sure what else has changed. I'm not sad to see "Billy Ball" go away, though.
I'm beginning to think I've lost my touch with the very YA, in that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking for, but I'm not thrilled at what I'm seeing. But I'm also not the primary audience. I assume that the focus is on action as much as possible, because that gets the story moving. But there's so much missing here. Character development is absolutely bare. I feel like I know so little about Billy/Zach, and I know you can still do good character development from a third person perspective. And Billy/Zach has some good lines, but that's about it. A lot of what happens in this book happens in quick, unhelpful summaries of time passing. Even the action sequences are really not descriptive.
The book moves incredibly fast, and I think that's part of the problem. The book focuses on several very specific instances, but the mundane is where we sometimes learn more about the characters and, perhaps, how we might cope right along with the characters as they go along. But that's missing here, so it makes it that much harder to relate to anyone in this book. When reading most of the dialogue, I feel like someone took scissors to it and left about 1/8th of what is supposed to be there.
I also have no idea what the heck happened. So Billy/Zach has abilities, but there's never any explanation about where this came from. We don't even have a clear idea about what the powers are, and we don't have a clear idea about what Tom's role was prior to this happening. I mean, we sort of know: the enforcer sort of spy who takes people out before they can hurt other people. But let's not say that because that could come off badly. The lack of explanation about anything makes so little sense.
And the Bads? Don't even get me started. I think we can give kids a little more credit than this. By the end of this book, I was about as frustrated as Billy/Zach because nearly everyone seems to know what's going on and won't tell him. I think the difference is that Billy/Zach is taking it better than I am.(less)
I keep moving this book from my currently reading tag to my to-be-read tag. I can only read one depressing/intense book at a time. The only switch now...moreI keep moving this book from my currently reading tag to my to-be-read tag. I can only read one depressing/intense book at a time. The only switch now will be from currently reading to read!(less)
This is my first book by Wrede, and I'm not sure that's terribly fair in terms of assessing the author (or that I would have preferred starting with s...moreThis is my first book by Wrede, and I'm not sure that's terribly fair in terms of assessing the author (or that I would have preferred starting with short stories; I'm inclined to try to read the bigger things if an author has done those as well). That said, this was a pleasant enough read. Nice pacing. I'd be interested in reading something else by her, perhaps Dealing with Dragons, since it's the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles.(less)
This is my first Matt Taibbi book, and I am completely sure it's not my last.
I picked up this book because Taibbi did an interview with Rachel Maddow...moreThis is my first Matt Taibbi book, and I am completely sure it's not my last.
I picked up this book because Taibbi did an interview with Rachel Maddow and talked about this book. (At least I think that's where I found it. The only ones I can find online are with Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell. Go figure.) Had to read it.
I really like Matt Taibbi's writing style. Normally a bunch of the financial stuff would be over my head, but the explanations were really helpful. A really clear, direct writing style. The explanations of inequality are spot on. I'm surprised there's not more sourcing in the book, but that's probably my only concern. Great book. Will read more by him.(less)
Granted, it's been quite some time since I read either Wicked or Son of a Witch, and having Son of a Witch in mind is important. I've forgotten most o...moreGranted, it's been quite some time since I read either Wicked or Son of a Witch, and having Son of a Witch in mind is important. I've forgotten most of it, but if you remember almost nothing, the book eventually fills you in on details you need to know. (Somewhat.) Unfortunately, I don't remember a lot about Liir, so that doesn't help. The book starts really slow, to the point where I wasn't sure I'd finish it. After the first third, though, the book picks up a bit. I'm invested enough to want to read the last book in the series.(less)
A really interesting and concrete collection of short, concise essays that demystify some crucial misconceptions of education. I picked up this book b...moreA really interesting and concrete collection of short, concise essays that demystify some crucial misconceptions of education. I picked up this book because my pedagogy professor was reading it and recommended it to me. I really appreciate the organization and appearance of the book: you don't really know who wrote which section, but each section stands on its own, and there isn't a sense of repetition here (except to call attention to other myths previously discussed). There are at least two or three citations for each myth. A lot of the citations nod back to the main author, which could really go either way in terms of how it turns you, but he seems highly qualified, and we do need to publish.
There are a lot of the topics you would expect; vouchers, charter schools, private and public schools, testing, merit pay, etc. There are also a lot of refreshing topics that connect to tax credits, savings accounts, portfolio management, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), limitations of learning, poverty, and equality. The sections about finances and equality really made my blood boil.
One thing I really appreciate is how the authors focus on America's fixation on competition and being the best. With globalization comes competition, or so it seems, and it really seemed to heat up after WWII/Cold War. I also like that the authors go into the purpose of education, particularly while looking into claims that state-funded education should stop at the 6th or 8th grade (Not their claims, obviously.) and the idea of education serving as job training.
Obviously people who are engaged in teaching and administration should read it, and I think they will. But I think the book also exceeds this audience, and it should. It's well-written in addition to being scholarly, but this book takes the research out of the academic journals and into language for everyone. Voters need to read this when politicians make claims about how education isn't working. I read this book pretty soon after the CA court ruled against teacher's unions and tenure. The authors get into this topic very minimally, but I'd be interested to see how they would react. (I'm not a K-12 educator, but I certainly know enough of them.)(less)
It was a random sales book at my favorite indie bookstore. I like folktales, and my expectations were pretty even. Given that these were collected and...moreIt was a random sales book at my favorite indie bookstore. I like folktales, and my expectations were pretty even. Given that these were collected and published in the 1950s, I thought it was decent. Probably not totally accurate, but it seemed respectful enough. Worth the read.(less)
Another book club read with Carrie! Entertaining start.
The line I like best in this book: "You can park your snark at the gate, Omaha." I think I bl...moreAnother book club read with Carrie! Entertaining start.
The line I like best in this book: "You can park your snark at the gate, Omaha." I think I blame Peyton Manning.
I mean, overall, decent read. Granted: I was looking for something light and breezy to read, and this is it. There are times I think it's a little too light and doesn't get into the important things that the author sets up. I'm also kind of on the fence about this version of fanfiction writing, but a.) it's one interpretation, and b.) it's fiction. So I'm not going to get all up in that business.
A bit Suey, certainly. And the Harry Potter reference felt unnecessary. In addition to all of the quotations from the book and from Cath's fanfiction. Those made absolutely no sense to me. But I suppose they added color, and if they served no other function, no foul.