I wanted to like this more, because I adore Ally Carter, but if anything, Grace becomes even more one-note and grating in this book. There are major pI wanted to like this more, because I adore Ally Carter, but if anything, Grace becomes even more one-note and grating in this book. There are major plot holes, even for a story that requires so much suspension of disbelief in the first place. The ending should be satisfying (and in one way it is), but the previously mentioned plot holes just left me with questions and a faint sense of annoyance. I got the sense that the last quarter of the book was rushed. Looming deadline? Burned out and just wanting it over with? Written into a corner? I don't know. But it's disappointing. Still plenty of action, though, which kept me turning pages. ...more
I love Kasie West. I really want to love her books. But I can't get over the most basic premise of this one: girl and guy get locked inside a libraryI love Kasie West. I really want to love her books. But I can't get over the most basic premise of this one: girl and guy get locked inside a library over a holiday weekend.
Where is the emergency exit?? Yes, the computers are locked down with passwords. Yes, one cell phone is gone and the other is dead. Yes, the library has its only landline locked away in an office. I suppose these are all possibilities if you really stretch it, although in my experience there are phones at every reference and service desk, easily accessible by a stranded overnight patron. But there is no way this big, beautiful public building has no fire exit. No way. Somewhere there are doors that always open from the inside. I'm pretty sure that's a law.
Beyond that it's a pretty typical YA book, but the main character has an anxiety disorder. Props for that, Ms West. It's a widespread issue now, so I appreciate the effort. ...more
The first ten pages had me worried that I was about to have the evils of animal cruelty and the general inferiority of humanity preached at me for sevThe first ten pages had me worried that I was about to have the evils of animal cruelty and the general inferiority of humanity preached at me for several hundred pages. Happily, I was wrong. This isn't an agenda book. That element is there, certainly, but not in the way I feared.
The story is charming and poignant, and might elicit a few tears. Ivan is naive and sensitive and loving. I never thought I'd recommend a book written from the point of view of a talking gorilla, but here I am. Despite its 300-page length, it's written simply, in short bursts, with lots of white space and the occasional illustration. I read it easily in one morning.
When my daughter, the one who hates to read, saw me with this book, she said, "Oh, you're gonna LOVE it, Mom!"
There isn't much higher praise than approval from a reluctant reader. And of course, you can never go wrong with a Newbery winner.
Content warning: Animal lovers and very sensitive children might be distressed by a few instances of animal abuse in the book, but most middle readers will be okay. ...more
I wish Dick Van Dyke's writing was as entertaining as he is. I expected a funnier, livelier book. Still, it was interesting to take a behind-the-sceneI wish Dick Van Dyke's writing was as entertaining as he is. I expected a funnier, livelier book. Still, it was interesting to take a behind-the-scenes look at his life, both professional and personal. For all his claiming to be lazy, he worked very hard, especially at the beginning of his career. And he's never really stopped since, even now (in his 90s as of this writing). I greatly admire him for sticking to his early decision to do only projects that he could watch with his children without embarrassment. He turned down a lot of work as a result, but the work he did take on was high quality. More people in Hollywood should have his high standards (or any standards at all, really).