Read this in one marathon sitting. As YA problem novels go, this is a solid one, though not at the level of the best. Rainfield isn't a poetic writer.Read this in one marathon sitting. As YA problem novels go, this is a solid one, though not at the level of the best. Rainfield isn't a poetic writer. Or especially original. But, dang it, she keeps her plot moving along and her character's voice strong, and that's more than many of her contemporaries can manage. Fans of Ellen Hopkins will probably enjoy this. As molestation stories go, I prefer Such a Pretty Girl, but for cutting, this is way more engaging than Cut. The language is easy to read, even if the subject matter is difficult.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Kendra's Lesbianism is comfortably integrated without feeling preachy or sensational. And the focus really is on her abuse survival, revealing how cutting, while alarming and problematic, is a strategy that can soothe and make the intolerable tolerable.
On a side note: I've read that the image on the cover is of the author's arms and the author is thrilled with the image. I think this detail, not mentioned in the book, is another selling point. The author is a survivor....more
This is a good read for younger HS or MS kids looking for wholesome, Midwestern fun and fluff. There were several good moments sprinkled throughout thThis is a good read for younger HS or MS kids looking for wholesome, Midwestern fun and fluff. There were several good moments sprinkled throughout this earnest story, including a single-A baseball practice and a painful first time driving that will resonate with kids at that stage in life. Although there is some light profanity, it isn't mean spirited or beyond common public school hallway banter. It reads a bit like Project Sweet Life (this is shorter, and substitute some romance for the mystery in "Sweet Life"), appropriate for young teens, but relevant for sophomores.
Where "Summer I Got a Life" falls short is in characterization. All of them - the protagonist, his lout of a brother, 'The Girl', the crazy Aunt and Uncle - were faintly drawn. Instead of knowing them and revealing them, the book dashes them off with a few broad strokes. I saw lots of ways I might have improved this with judicious editorial support. The plot moves along, propelled by action and events, not people and relationships.
Given the audience for this book, that may not be a bad thing. I'd hand this to boys looking for some realism with their fun, and who aren't interested in ribald affairs like Carter Finally Gets It and Swim the Fly....more
Having just finished "Ship Breaker," I can see why it has received so many accolades. Bacigalupi constructed a fully-realized world, at once fresh andHaving just finished "Ship Breaker," I can see why it has received so many accolades. Bacigalupi constructed a fully-realized world, at once fresh and understandable. And who doesn't like genetically-engineered crosses between dogs and men, environmental catastrophe, murderous thugs, intrigue, and a kid with a tattoo on his face? The action starts quickly and rarely lets up, the characters are memorable. Comparisons to The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Uglies all fit, although I think Bacigalupi's action is as well-paced as Patrick Ness's, and the whole book reminded me most of the Mortal Engines series. I'll be reading the sequel....more
Several other reviewers appraise this book by comparing it to others by the authors - especially the lauded works of John Green. Having not read anythSeveral other reviewers appraise this book by comparing it to others by the authors - especially the lauded works of John Green. Having not read anything by either Green or David Levithan, I can only say that I'm looking forward to correcting the oversight. I do know a guy who's a ringer for Tiny, and that made this one a hoot to read, as I kept hearing and seeing him every time Tiny flounced across the page. This is a solid story built on several characters many teens will recognize. It is full of kids who are funny and sharp and wise and foolish and ultimately human.
Readers who are put off by gay characters probably won't pick this up, but these are also the readers who really should check this title out. It is about friendship and love, and not necessarily the kind that involves heavy breathing but the kind that endures and means something. And if you're a friend who lives in the shadow - literally or figuratively - of someone larger than life, this will be cathartic. All and all, an enjoyable read with some laughs and insights about big ideas.
A creepy little tale. Grief does weird things to Jessie - maybe even horrible things. The third-person narration might turn off some reluctant readersA creepy little tale. Grief does weird things to Jessie - maybe even horrible things. The third-person narration might turn off some reluctant readers who prefer the immediacy of first person story telling, but otherwise this is a good book for readers who don't want more than 88 pages. The opening page does a great job of hooking readers. A fast read, or one for reluctant readers, it is a fair psychological thriller. ...more
What an odd story. A class of Danish seventh graders are told by a classmate that "nothing matters," and does progressively more evil things to proveWhat an odd story. A class of Danish seventh graders are told by a classmate that "nothing matters," and does progressively more evil things to prove him wrong. I wanted to delight in a cautionary tale, or perhaps tremble before an existential crisis, but instead I kept thinking about how foreign the translation sounded. And how long it took to get going. The detached narration didn't help, either.
I might offer this book to someone who's ready for a didactic novella, as it is the kind of book not interested in telling a story as much as it needs to make a point. If a reader is really casting about for what-it-all-means, I prefer Genesis. The first act of this one takes a little too long....more
This is a powerful story of a suicidal narrator who's days away from another attempt, one she expects to be more successful than her prior attempts. IThis is a powerful story of a suicidal narrator who's days away from another attempt, one she expects to be more successful than her prior attempts. I read it in a couple of evenings. The opening takes a while to find its way, but Daelyn's voice was irresistible. Yes, there are some large plot holes involving computers and those old parents who can't-figure-how-to-make-em-work. Still, the tension built well and by the end, I felt a kinship to a sort of character I don't know well outside of fiction.
A big complaint about the cover: the girl in the tub gracing my copy is eye catching. The narrator plainly states that she isn't thin and is treated badly because she is unattractive (p. 111). She's uncomfortable taking off her shoes, let alone posing nude in a tub. The cover isn't really true to the character, and seems to feed the very beast Daelyn abhors.
Back to the story. Peters doesn't offer simple answers to the hard issues at work in this book. The destructiveness of bullying is made painfully clear, but the antidote is only hinted at, to name my biggest frustration. Still, I think many teens will read this for its emotional grip and realistic grit....more
A good zombie book in the first half, which becomes a little slower in the second half. Too bad the pace didn't keep up, as the first pages were justA good zombie book in the first half, which becomes a little slower in the second half. Too bad the pace didn't keep up, as the first pages were just what a zombie reader wants: death, puss, mindless and relentless killers. But as human villains appear, they just aren't as compelling as the mindless hoards. By the end, there isn't much momentum, and the climax isn't ghoulish, its political. At 440 pages, Higson could have picked up the pace and ended a hundred pages sooner and still offered up a satisfying read.
I wish I could offer this to reluctant readers, but I think the length, combined with the third-person narration that shifts between multiple characters will make this one a tough sell for weaker readers. Probably not the place to start if you're intimidated by Alexander Gordon Smith or Darren Shan.
In spite of the topic - and the carnage that comes with such things - "The Enemy" would probably be fine for young teens, as well as older kids seeking out a "Zombie Land" fix. There's barely a hint of romance and zero profanity or drug use: just good, ol'fashioned undead mayhem. There's room for a sequel, although I'm not certain I'll need it....more
Great cover and opening scene, both of which could hook teen readers. Slows down a bit as the characters are introduced, but this allows some genuinelGreat cover and opening scene, both of which could hook teen readers. Slows down a bit as the characters are introduced, but this allows some genuinely touching scenes. This is a straightforward look at racism, complete with an attack, a remarkably quick recovery, and a trial. And yet, some characters are more nuanced than you'd expect in a 150 page story.
I liked this more than the last Volponi I read, The Hand You're Dealt because the pace moved along faster and the conflict is a bit more sensible. There is language that might give middle school libraries pause, or make it a risky book to teach whole-class (the n-word, f**k, and so on), but none of it is gratuitous, and there are several passages that look at the use of these words. Reminds me of Down, a bit longer....more