The book was cute, but it didn't work for me. The problem is simple: this is one of the rare YA novels where I am absolutely not a part of a the targeThe book was cute, but it didn't work for me. The problem is simple: this is one of the rare YA novels where I am absolutely not a part of a the target audience.
As an adult that reads YA, I consider myself a part of the audience for most YA books. I am familiar with the genre tropes that shape the books. While I am far older than the average reader, I can still suspend my age-related disbelief long enough to enjoy a visit into that world. This book might have worked quite well as an introduction to Regency spy novels for YA readers, but I know far too much about the period and the genre to truly enjoy this book. I don't think it was bad, per se, but it felt like putting on training wheels on a bike when I'm capable of reading something closer to a Harley-Davidson level. So, for all intents and purposes, this book was not for me, but my reaction should not be used as a ready reason to dismiss it....more
This was my first time reading this title in the series, and I must say that I did like it. The characters are coming into their own a bit more, but HThis was my first time reading this title in the series, and I must say that I did like it. The characters are coming into their own a bit more, but Harry is still too much of a worrier. I thought the plot worked well, but I was less than thrilled with the denouement. Also: I dislike Dobbie intensely....more
This is the second time that I've read this book, and I have to say that I did like it better this time around. I still feel like the book spends tooThis is the second time that I've read this book, and I have to say that I did like it better this time around. I still feel like the book spends too much time in Harry's head (he's always so nervous and dreading his interactions with adults). Thinking about Harry as an abused child helped me get beyond some of that incessant worrying. I know that this book was not anywhere near as revolutionary as people claimed when it came out back in the 90s. There's a long history of fantasy literature for children, a long history of boarding school books, and there's plenty of books that combine the two. Perhaps the revolutionary aspect of the book was less its setting and more Rowling's ability to see the world through the eyes of an abused child....more
I dearly, dearly love this book, but I did not love Rachel McAdams' narration. There simply wasn't enough differentiation among her characters. I've lI dearly, dearly love this book, but I did not love Rachel McAdams' narration. There simply wasn't enough differentiation among her characters. I've listened to it as an audiobook twice before, and I kept hearing other narrators in my head. That's not a compliment....more
My friend Shannon recommended this book to me after learning that I've begun a research project into my family history. It was a great recommendation.My friend Shannon recommended this book to me after learning that I've begun a research project into my family history. It was a great recommendation. As a writer, it showed me possible ways to explore what I'm doing, but as a reader, it was a stunning, heartbreaking story.
I want to write a longer review, but I don't know that I can right now. As I said, this book spoke to me as a researcher. But more than that, it spoke to me as the daughter of a woman that was institutionalized for bipolar disorder in the 1960s in the Detroit area (at Eloise? probably not--her parents were middle class, and Eloise was for the poor) and given shock treatments. I have not truly cried over this book (yet) but I can feel the tears, waiting....more
This book had character types that I typically enjoy--a female detective and a professional athlete. But I did not enjoy this book.
I stopped reading iThis book had character types that I typically enjoy--a female detective and a professional athlete. But I did not enjoy this book.
I stopped reading it half way through.
Piper, our detective, works multiple jobs. One of the jobs is working security for the ex-quarterback, Cooper. One of the other jobs is working as a chauffeur for a visiting princess from an Islamic nation referred to only as the "Realm" and her entourage.
The book was irritating enough--Cooper having developed an inexplicable attraction to Piper, takes her out clothes shopping so that she'll fit in better as his employee. He invites his manager along for the trip, expressly so that he can see his agent become bored with this woman so that she'll lose value in his eyes so that he won't lust after her anymore. Yuck. Talk about treating someone as a trophy--he wanted his agent to devalue the woman so that he could lose respect (and lust) for her. No matter what he thought of her, the opinion of other men was that important to him.
The part that really turned me off was the Islamophobia of the "Realm" sequence. Piper drives an abused servant girl, whose passport has been taken from her by her employers, all around the city in order to find each color of a certain shoe. The girl's irrational fear of disappointing the princess, as well as a bruise Piper sees later, clearly tells readers that she's abused. Cooper is roped into helping "free" the girl by offering one of the princes his Super Bowl ring in exchange for the girl and her passport. He explicitly explains that he wants the girl for sex so that the prince will not be suspicious. To top it all off--he uses a replica ring for the exchange, showing this prince is too stupid to know fake diamonds from real.
That scene trades in so many Islamophobic stereotypes that I don't even know where to begin. It presents these royals as abusive, as sexual perverts, as gullible and wrong. These are stereotypes that have been used repeatedly in the past--whenever it was politically expedient to view Muslims as the "Other." If you don't believe me, read Edward Said's Orientalism.
I feel violently sick after reading that passage and writing about it here. I wasn't happy with the first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book I'd read years ago. But I gave her chance. Now that I see her trafficking in these disgusting Islamophobic stereotypes, I will never give her a chance again....more