I might have been the right reader for this between the ages of 12-20, but sadly I'm not right now.
I love fairytale retellings, but primarily those tI might have been the right reader for this between the ages of 12-20, but sadly I'm not right now.
I love fairytale retellings, but primarily those that imbue the characters with depth and complexity that they don't get in the plot-driven originals. This is another flavor entirely: the sort that uses the original elements and plot but imbues them with a self-consciously fantastical/grotesque atmosphere in the transformation. I think Gaiman works best for me when that particular flavor is balanced with the specific and the mundane (ie Neverwhere) . Here it falls flat and feels eye-rollingly self-indulgent.
What worked: it's beautifully made, especially that dust jacket overlay! Most of the illustrations weren't my style, but a few were really beautiful (especially the full page Snow White/Sleeping Beauty kiss). I liked future!Snow White being a warrior who lives with the dwarves, both her drive and her agency. The rest, eh.
PSA: not for most younger readers. If your kiddo's the age and disposition to be enchanted by Weetzie Bat or Neverwhere, then this is about right. Also, FYI, no happily ever after (or, in fact, romance/love/relationship) for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty here: this is not the queer princess fic you've been waiting for. ...more
well, that was not the book for me. I spent half the time trying to figure out if Dinah was neuro-atypical or if it just suffered from MFA-YA syndromewell, that was not the book for me. I spent half the time trying to figure out if Dinah was neuro-atypical or if it just suffered from MFA-YA syndrome. folks whose opinion I respect thought this was affecting, powerful, and beautifully written, so I'm afraid it just wasn't my cup of tea....more
I'm scandalizing myself by giving this two stars, but I just couldn't stand it. Florid, purple prose and metaphors that often came across as nonsensicI'm scandalizing myself by giving this two stars, but I just couldn't stand it. Florid, purple prose and metaphors that often came across as nonsensical. Forget the vocabulary overkill, this read like a parody: obscuring an interesting life with obtuse verbal fussing. Even in the endnotes, for heaven's sake! Felt both pretentious stylistically and condescending in its content. I love biographies because they illuminate a life, and this felt like Fleischman considered his prose stylings to be the star of the show.
I am just not the reader for this book. I hesitate to even give it a star rating because I know that my opinion of it is shaped by my appreciation ofI am just not the reader for this book. I hesitate to even give it a star rating because I know that my opinion of it is shaped by my appreciation of it rather than any sort of objective rating.
I liked: the relationships
I disliked: the prose the structure (the alternating chapters)
I bet if it had been the same story with a different writing style, I would be waving it around and trying to get everyone I know to read it. But really, I disliked it for the same reasons that I disliked The Underneath -- faux-folksy language, overwritten, rhymy, heavy-handed poetical prose -- and I think that this is most likely a book for adults. I'd love to be proven wrong, however! In fact, I have a reader in mind that I'd like to hand this to, and I will update my review as soon as I get it in her hands and hear her response... ...more
This is really a 3.5 star review. I did finally finish the book, after months on the shelf -- and I started again from the beginning, so it's all fresThis is really a 3.5 star review. I did finally finish the book, after months on the shelf -- and I started again from the beginning, so it's all fresh in my mind. Maybe this just wasn't the book for me, but the overly wrought writing style, the setting, Calpurnia's voice, just didn't work for me. I did appreciate the ambiguity at the end, and I was moved (or just saddened?) by the futility of the mother's world and work.
When I first started this book, I thought, "what child am I going to find that will actually get excited about this book?" Since then I've found two girls who adored it and asked for more just like it: one an awkward fifth-grader with anachronistic sensibilities and the other a second grader (whose mother read it out loud to her) with a passion for science and classification. This is two more readers than I've found that adored When You Reach Me, which I preferred. So I'm hesitant to be too critical. I'll be thinking more about its quality rather than my enjoyment as I go over it again before the Mock Newbery! ...more
My goodness, why not? It's not as if there were no lips in your life before the symbolic (if pointless) oneI never imagined that lips would be warm...
My goodness, why not? It's not as if there were no lips in your life before the symbolic (if pointless) ones on the first page of this book.
I really had high hopes for this book - it was an interesting premise, and Naomi Shihab Nye is a lovely poet. But it was just terrible: clunky, unbelievable characters, and contrived writing. I just couldn't believe that the father would have put so little thought into the trip; that Liyana was so clueless; that the mom didn't object or apparently have any difficulty adjusting to life in Palestine.
Also, what fifteen-year-old copes with her anxiety by whispering assonant nonsense syllables, like "whillydilly ping pong"? ...more
Meh. I wanted to like Savvy, but it felt manipulative and overwritten to me... the same vibe I got from The Underneath and The Higher Power of LuckyMeh. I wanted to like Savvy, but it felt manipulative and overwritten to me... the same vibe I got from The Underneath and The Higher Power of Lucky. This one, not surprisingly, is a Newbery contender as well. A florid style, faux vernacular, and over-the-top alliteration (and cutesy vocabulary) does not equal literary merit! I felt like it lacked both strength and authenticity.
The story itself could have stood on its own, and with a different writing style I might have enjoyed it. I like stories of adolescents coming into a hereditary talent or power, though that's hardly an original idea. And I enjoy stories with strong families. But the bulky writing had me rolling my eyes the whole time, keeping me from enjoying the potentially exciting plot.
I can't think of a single child I can give this to. I can think of some parents who might luxuriate in it as a read-aloud, and children perhaps enjoying it that way.
I've heard only good reviews of this, though, and from friends and colleagues I greatly respect -- so my dislike of it is probably a matter of taste. ...more