Picked this up because of several favorable reviews. This is another of that handful of books for guys that use witness protection (Jack's Run and FakPicked this up because of several favorable reviews. This is another of that handful of books for guys that use witness protection (Jack's Run and Fakie come to mind) as a way to raise issues of identity. And what teen doesn't from time-to-time wonder about chucking it all and becoming someone new? Ty - now Joe - thinks some about how his new identity has advantages, but the book also tackles several other coming of age issues in a fairly taut, plot driven story. Ty is an interesting character, a guy who likes languages enough to learn some Turkish from the shop keeper round the corner, a guy who discovers latent affection for running track. There's a bit of age-appropriate snogging, some new-kid-at-school trouble, and the inevitable boogieman of crooks trying to silence an inconvenient witness.
American readers may struggle with the British setting and slang, but that can be the case with any UK title and hasn't stopped Robert Muchamore or Anthony Horowitz. More challenging is finding an appropriate audience: Ty/Joe is almost fifteen but, as part of his new identity, is in school with thirteen year olds. In the US, that would land this title solidly into middle school, although some ninth graders might manage it. On the other hand, there is a touch of profanity and some truly frightening violence with realistic repercussions. It is a little too long for struggling readers. So while it is worthwhile and interesting, it isn't a must have, especially for Americans....more
This is one book I really wanted to love. We need more great books about kids who are seen as athletes but whose self-image is of something more. We nThis is one book I really wanted to love. We need more great books about kids who are seen as athletes but whose self-image is of something more. We need more books about teens struggling with the realities of survivors guilt. We need more books that show both the bravado and the sensitivity of young men. We need more books that show African-American kids at the center of compelling stories. "Pull" does all of this, just not as well as I would have liked.
At times it moved slowly, setting up a school cast system that seemed unlikely. Sometimes the plot wandered between several interesting sub-plots without real purpose. Often, it felt like a knock-off of a Chris Crutcher book. There was way too much telling, and not enough showing.
On the plus side, the vocabulary won't put off struggling readers. There's violence and profanity and some sex, all of which may appeal to High School teens....more
I really enjoyed this YA thriller. It starts off fast and keeps going, with only occasional slower patches. The third-person narration alternates betwI really enjoyed this YA thriller. It starts off fast and keeps going, with only occasional slower patches. The third-person narration alternates between the titular Cheyenne and her accidental abductor, Griffin, allowing both to be sympathetic. Cheyenne's blindness works well in the story, and readers interested in that particular element will be well served. Although the narrative is about evenly split, Griffin feels more like a supporting character than a co-star, so the book might be a tougher sell to boys. I think this would work for 7th-grade and up; there is very limited profanity, and sexual assault is discussed, so caveat emptor. ...more
Know a kid who's slightly out of the main-stream? Into music, writing, and maybe a little poetry? This is his book, or perhaps her book. Wesselhoeft wKnow a kid who's slightly out of the main-stream? Into music, writing, and maybe a little poetry? This is his book, or perhaps her book. Wesselhoeft writes with unique voice, blending adolescent angst and real poetry. The premise isn't so original: a brother grieves the loss of his golden-twin, teetering on the edge of suicide and mania, unable to tread water and unwilling to swim. But Wesselhoeft is so convincing, even Eddie Vedder's multiple appearances are just another part of Seattle.
Well worth reading, this may play to a small audience. But I suspect its fans will be devoted....more
Seems like too many writers are turning their scripts into YA books (I Love You, Beth Cooper). This one was actually made into a movie ("Sex Drive"),Seems like too many writers are turning their scripts into YA books (I Love You, Beth Cooper). This one was actually made into a movie ("Sex Drive"), and the book reads like a screen treatment. Of course, what wound up in the Hollywood version doesn't much resemble the book beyond the most basic elements, so even if you've seen the film, you can enjoy the book on its own terms. They both wind up in about the same place, but take completely different paths. And as Frost pointed out, that makes a lot of difference.
The characters aren't quite original , and the plot is just what you'd expect it to be. Still, Ian's trip goes down easily. In the same vein as The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, Swim the Fly, "The Sure Thing" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." It is decorated with R-rated sex and scatology, but at its core, "All the Way" is all about real love and realizing the value of truth and friendship. When done well, this genre can be funny and gross and sweet all at once. Behrens' version is adequate.
I'd suggest this to readers who aren't quite up to the demands of Doyle's book, who can't keep up with Audrey Wait or Spanking Shakespeare. I see the perfect reader as being those who want a naughty kick that doesn't demand much. It may be a near-perfect reluctant-boy read.
Lately, there seems to be an uptick in the YA titles about kidnapping. Perhaps economic uncertainty leads teens to characters controlled by forces welLately, there seems to be an uptick in the YA titles about kidnapping. Perhaps economic uncertainty leads teens to characters controlled by forces well beyond their command; perhaps it is just the inherent conflict and drama to be found in Girl, Stolen, Stolen: A letter to my captor,Living Dead Girl and What Happened to Cass Mcbride?. Even older titles (The Girl in the Box, When Jeff Comes Home) are seeing some traffic. This reminds me of April Henry's "Girl, Stolen" in that the narrative alternates between the hapless victim and the not-really-a-bad-guy perpetrator. This one isn't quite as strong a story, but is is still good. I didn't buy the ending, but up to the final couple of pages, I thought it was realistic and well done.
There is genuine insight as to Bree's state of mind; Leo is a bit less well realized, but his confusion and near-insanity are plausibly laid out. Once the crime happens, the book moves along. There's a bit of swearing and there are discussions of violent murder, but even Middle School students would enjoy this fast read. ...more
Several people whose opinions I rely upon raved about this title. While I enjoyed it, I wasn't as excited. There are some great allusions to Alice inSeveral people whose opinions I rely upon raved about this title. While I enjoyed it, I wasn't as excited. There are some great allusions to Alice in Wonderland, and the story moved along quickly. Anyone with a dysfunctional family will feel connected to Small's book, and it was a quick read.
Actually, now that I think about it, there are also some great themes at work here. So perhaps it really deserves more of a 3-and-a-half....more
Great fun. The beginning of this reminds me of my favorite 1950's era Heinlein Robert A. Durango, our strong, young hero who doubts his own skill, recGreat fun. The beginning of this reminds me of my favorite 1950's era Heinlein Robert A. Durango, our strong, young hero who doubts his own skill, recalls Space Cadet's Matt Dodson or Starship Troopers's Juan Ricco. And the 'woman's-voice-in-your-head' device is straight out of another Heinlein story - I Will Fear No Evil. Not so original, but if you're going to steal, take from the good stuff. Then, about a hundred pages in it dawns on me that this is a re-imagining of "Magnificent Seven" (which was a new take on "The Seven Samurai," but I digress...). Even better source stuff. Yep, this is good, old-fashioned Martian adventure with plenty of shoot-em-up action.
The plot is simple: poor miners hire Durango to protect them from canibals that are raiding their feeble outpost. Durango assembles a motley crew of mercenaries. Much mayhem ensues.
I would have appreciated just a touch more background at several points in the story, as Macinnis seemes content to sketch when detail would have helped. The honor bound 'Regulators' deserved more explanation. The tension between the 'CorpCom' nasties and the older religious governors didn't seem real. What is that title about?
"Black Hole Sun" moves so fast that complaints about character development and sketchy world building seem beside the point. Any teen (or adult) looking for a fun ride would do well to check this out....more