I was drawn to this book because of the creepy paranormal factor, and it didn't disappoint in this regard. At the beginning, we are introduced to Quin...moreI was drawn to this book because of the creepy paranormal factor, and it didn't disappoint in this regard. At the beginning, we are introduced to Quinn as she attempts to stay awake, something most of us would love not to have to do. My friends and I talk about how we need to have a national naptime. Of course, the human body can't resist sleep forever, and Quinn does fall asleep, and we find out why she doesn't want to sleep. Enter her dark world.
This is a tension-filled book, as Quinn tries to figure out what's going on and how she can solve the mess that is her life. She's a decent enough character, and it's fairly easy to sympathize with her. However, she does tend to wallow in self-pity. It's not like she was always like this. She was a normal teen before her life fell apart. I think I would have been able to relate to her more if we saw more of her other side even as she slips into her tendency to pity herself. Though she does tend to rely a lot on the people around her though, she isn't a total damsel in distress. She has her moments.
My favorite character does have to be Aaron. He goes through a lot as well, and he still manages to be so supportive of Quinn even though she pushes him away. I really wanted to see more of his character and abilities developed--and, well, more of him in general.
The characters and their relationships feel like one big high school drama, something I'm not particularly fond of, and the characters lack the depth that would help me sympathize with them more in a high school drama setting.
On the whole, the best part of this book is the paranormal focus, which we really start getting into midway into the novel. I really enjoyed exploring the dark world that consumes Quinn. By the end, I was engrossed enough into this that I would read a sequel if there were one. (Though I do admit this is partly also because a new twist was added at the end that I wasn't expecting and I feel should have been introduced earlier if this is going to be a standalone.)
I recommend this book if you love a good creepy paranormal book.
Reconstructing Amelia is about the importance of open communication between parents and children. It's also a book about the dangers of...moreAlice's Review
Reconstructing Amelia is about the importance of open communication between parents and children. It's also a book about the dangers of keeping secrets and the need to feel fit in at school. The book teaches us that we need to get more involved in our children’s lives and listen to them. We can't take our relationships with them for granted.
Amelia is smart and funny. She is the intellectual girl that every mother dreams of. Kate is a single mother and a litigation attorney at a big Manhattan law firm. Kate thinks they are as close as a mother and daughter can be. That is, until she gets a call at work that Amelia has been accused of cheating on a paper and has been suspended. The school wants Kate picks up Amelia as soon as possible. When she finally gets to the school, police officers have surrounded school. Amelia has jumped off the roof and killed herself.
Later, Kate receives an anonymous text said Amelia did not jump. With the help of a lieutenant from the NYPD, Kate begins going through Amelia’s email, texts, Facebook posts, and the Gossip Girl-eque school blog called gRaCeFULLY. Kate finds out Amelia was tapped to join a secret society of girls, that she fell in love for the first time, and that she had a Manti Te’o-type correspondence with a gay boy Ben. All of these happened without Kate’s knowledge. Kate soon realizes there is a lot she doesn’t know about Amelia.
I can feel Amelia’s pain on the pages. I also can see why Amelia makes bad decisions, because all she wanted deep down was to belong. Her experiences are eye opening.
As a mother of two teens, it makes me wonder that what they do on the internet, who they chat with on Facebook, and who their friends are. I don't really know. I want to trust them and let them grow up without me nosing into their business, but this book shows just how much about parents don’t really know about their own children. It scares me that I may not be able to protect my children from all the horrible things out there in the world.
Reconstructing Amelia is a heartbreaking story. I enjoyed this book from beginning to the end. The book addresses many important issues such as bullying, single parents, posh private schools, homosexuality, ethics, secret clubs, adultery, and role of technology and social media in teen culture. It is a good read, and I highly recommend this book to read and share with your teens.
Love this book!!! The poems are cute, whimsical, and such fun to read. My brother laughed several times while I was reading aloud. It takes some good...moreLove this book!!! The poems are cute, whimsical, and such fun to read. My brother laughed several times while I was reading aloud. It takes some good humor to really amuse him :)
Ry, his mother, and little sister are trying to recover from a nightmare: Ry's abusive father Marvin Burke. Back when he was only ten years old, Ry sa...moreRy, his mother, and little sister are trying to recover from a nightmare: Ry's abusive father Marvin Burke. Back when he was only ten years old, Ry saved his mother and had Marvin put away in prison for the unspeakable abusive things he did to them. At that time, he got help from his childhood toys, the Unnamed Three (who are actually different facets of Ry's personality): Mr. Furrington, which is a small teal teddy bear; Jesus Christ, which is a robber figurine, and the Scowler, which is the ugliest: a disgusting hunk. Nine years later, Ry needs Unnamed Three’s help again because Marvin has broken out of prison and threatens their family once again. He never wants his father to do what he did to his mother and little sister ever again.
I really feel for Ry. Knowing what it is like ot live in an abusive home, he wants nothing more than to not be like his father. However, he knows there is a chance that he could become like his father. That's why he can't let himself get angry. If he does, he will let out the Scowler within him, and Scowler is dark and brutal. However, it becomes crystal clear that his father will continue to hurt, haunt, and manipulate the family until he gets what he wants. And Ry knows that he needs to become Scowler to protect his family.
Scowler is bloody, frightful, and shocking, filled with tension and driven by Ry's fear of his father's return. This novel is all about how ugly humans can be, and sometimes are, to one another. Also, it deals with spousal and child abuse. Kraus knows the horror genre well. He leaves you guessing whether Ry will become a good person or if he will turn into the kind of man like his father.
I love big furry creatures, and dogs rank high up on the list of my favorite animals. It was an absolute joy to read about Search & Rescue and to...moreI love big furry creatures, and dogs rank high up on the list of my favorite animals. It was an absolute joy to read about Search & Rescue and to see Emily's passion for the job. The story opens in the midst of a search, allowing us to get to know key people in Emily's life and how much she values the job. I love how Emily is a strong character in that she stands up for herself without going so far as to get into trouble that she can't handle despite her insistence on clearing her own name. At the same time, her youth and vulnerabilities also come out in moments of weakness, such as when the topic of her mother comes up and with her fear of the Windigo.
Add to that the strong support from those around her. Emily's younger brother Timmy and best friend Olivia are always there to cheer her up and help her out. I also love Bree and Emily's step-mother Naomi. In time, I grew to like her father as well, though I can't forgive him for being so quick to suspect Emily of stealing Mary Dancer's necklace initially. I don't want to believe that a parent can put down his or her own child like that, but he does. And she still loves him.
I do feel as though the relationships in the novel could be straightened out more, especially early on in the novel. We never do find out why Emily's father is so suspicious of her initially when she is accused of stealing the necklace, and Josh is never more than that boy Emily is interested in. I also never really felt a sense of urgency about Emily's biological mother. Though Emily fears her mother, we don't find out until late in the book why she is. I also wonder what role Greg plays in the novel and why he bothers to make an appearance in the novel when he was never brought up before and he doesn't play much of a role in the story.
The emotions could come off a bit clearer as well. It falls flat at times, which is especially noticeable because there are times when Emily's emotions really come off the page, like when she feels betrayed by her father and when she remembers the time she went to the beach with her mother.
On the whole, this was a solid read with strong dialogue and an amazing cast of characters. The novel does get a little too much on the religious side for me in the second half with the subject of God coming up more frequently; it isn't over the top, but there were too many similar references, especially in such a short novel. The ending is a bit anticlimactic. After all the searching for the true thief, Emily stumbles upon the truth by chance, and everything wraps up pretty nicely afterwards. I would have liked to see more suspense and action surrounding the mystery. At the same time, the ending is believable. Not every mystery has a big bad guy waiting at the end.
Vinnie is a high school student with a face full of acne and an extremely awkward personality that makes you sympathize with him. To make matters wors...moreVinnie is a high school student with a face full of acne and an extremely awkward personality that makes you sympathize with him. To make matters worse, his mom divorces his father and marries his gym teacher, and they decide to move to Long Island. There, he goes right from mourning his old relationship to crushing on Patsy, the gorgeous girl next door, whose room he can see through his window. Then, Vinnie accidentally finds Patsy's number in locker room. He decides to call her at midnight but can't bring himself to say anything. At his third call, Patsy answers acidly, and Vinnie says something rude in response. Vinnie feels badly about his racy comments to Patsy and continues to call her every night at midnight trying to apologize to her. In the process, a strange friendship is born between them.
Vinnie's actions border on stalkerish, and yet I couldn't help wanting to support him. He's in an awkward stage of life and is like every other teenager looking for happiness in life. I like the connection that Vinnie and Patsy form during their late-night calls. Talking to each other anonymously allows them to chat freely and without fear of judgment. I'm sure Vinnie and Patsy wouldn't have gotten to know each other so well if they just met each other in the class. They come from such different backgrounds.
Still, I don't like how Patsy entertains a mysterious male caller every night. It's also strange that her parents never hear her on the phone. I wonder where Vinnie and Patsy's parents are because not once does any of them interrupts their child talking during such late hours or brings it up during the day. I also would have liked to see Vinnie make some regular friendships at school and do something other than listening in on Patsy's friends' conversations. It would help round out his character and add more to the story than the blooming romance between him and Patsy.
Not Exactly a Love Story is a book about a regular guy's quest for the girl next door and, in the process, his exploration of his identity. What I love most about this story is how Vinnie is able work through his emotions about the divorce of his parents and how he understands that he loves both his parents even though they are not together anymore.
Sidekick is a fun, humor-filled read about the ups and downs of life as a superhero and the growth of one teen as he struggles to fulfill the legacy l...moreSidekick is a fun, humor-filled read about the ups and downs of life as a superhero and the growth of one teen as he struggles to fulfill the legacy left by his predecessor. I can't remember the last time I read a superhero book, but this is what I look for in a modern superhero book (at least, it's one of the types): it makes fun of cheesy old superheros and introduces modern innovations, it's fun, and there is a wide cast of lovable characters.
Bobby is your typical American teenage boy, and he knows it. He talks in a matter-of-fact way about his two lives and doesn't make a big deal of things, unless he's trying to make a point, which he often makes aside to readers. I enjoyed getting to know him as he searches for his identity--is he Bobby the teenage boy, or is he the new Scarlet Knight? Many superhero books are about the adventure, but this one focuses primarily on the human factor and how being a superhero impacts Bobby, morally and as an individual trying to get through high school and college apps at the same time. The only thing I felt was missing was more on Bobby's life at school, outside of superhero work, though given his situation at the beginning of the novel I can understand why so much of this is missing.
What I do wish is that the other characters were developed just as well as Bobby. There are so many interesting characters surrounding Bobby. I would have liked to see more of them, especially the superheros and how they work together. It would also have been nice to see more mystery and tension surrounding the circumstances of the intrigue surrounding the new supervillain in town. At the same time, I feel that the lightness of this novel fits the novel overall. This is a read that didn't have me hiding under the covers at night; rather, it made me laugh and relax. I recommend this for middle-grade readers, but this is still a fun read that readers of all ages can enjoy.