Could have been great, but just turned out so-so. The first third really intrigued me, showing that going to lockup is a real experience, that one day...moreCould have been great, but just turned out so-so. The first third really intrigued me, showing that going to lockup is a real experience, that one day a person is driving her motorcycle, and then later that day she's getting a red jump suit. Sadie has a fascinating, warm relationship with her three year old niece; the relationship with her sister didn't quite work as well for me, but these are real people. There are great issues raised - families, trust, the difference between guilt and innocence, who is a friend - and some memorable moments.
Then, "Juvie" bogged down. There were too many girls in the block, or perhaps they weren't distinct enough. The flash-backs didn't really build tension or enrich my feelings for the characters. By the end, there wasn't any momentum, and the book coasted to the finish. I suppose that I wanted to see Sadie have some profound shift, take some really responsibility for her part in enabling her sister AND mother AND father, but Watkins didn't play it that way. All the pieces fall into place, feeling a bit too convenient for my taste.(less)
If you're putting together a required list for HS wrestlers, this should be on it. Martino alternates his story between Bobby (Italian, well-off, fami...moreIf you're putting together a required list for HS wrestlers, this should be on it. Martino alternates his story between Bobby (Italian, well-off, family troubles) and Ivan (Polish, poor, family troubles) as they struggle on their separate paths to the New Jersey State Championship meet. There's plenty of wrestling lingo and several matches, which is where the book shines. The non-wrestling portions of the story need much tightening up.
Unfortunately, "Pinned" doesn't go beyond YA-Problem novel territory. Issues are hinted at - self-doubt, loss of faith, the nature of romance, the inevitability of loss in competition - that aren't explored. Neither boy is particularly likable or deserving, so the story never builds up much emotional steam. The ending won't satisfy those looking for a winner and a loser, which would be fine if some other climax had been bridged. I must have missed it.
Keep it on hand for your HS mat-rats. I don't expect it to have a reach beyond that.(less)
Tough to know what to think about this. This is the only book in this series I've read, so perhaps familiarity with the earlier volumes might temper s...moreTough to know what to think about this. This is the only book in this series I've read, so perhaps familiarity with the earlier volumes might temper some of my comments about lack of characterization. Bobby and Susan Carol are fairly thin characters, beyond loving sports and being reporters of uncommon, precocious skill. They are paired with adult journalists who are even less substantial. The 'plot' in this book takes more than four-fifths of the book to unfold, and the climax comes quickly and deffies serious scrutiny. There are named coaches, players, faculty, and alumni from both Army and Navy, making for lots of activity. Might be tough for less-skilled readers to penetrate.
On the other hand, there's a genuine love of football throughout the book, and the significance of the Army vs. Navy game shines in Feinstein's story. Players and fans will appreciate the gridiron action, which is absent from some 'football' books (I'm looking at you, Payback Time). I can imagine HS juniors enjoying the football in the book, even if the protagonists are fourteen. There's a tremendous amount of history and reporting in this book, making it a worthy option for fans of the game.(less)