This book was a major surprise. A friend of mine is friends with Eric Bell, the author, and we went to his signing a fewFull review at A Writer Reads.
This book was a major surprise. A friend of mine is friends with Eric Bell, the author, and we went to his signing a few weeks ago. I didn't know much about the book going into it, but reading the cover I knew it was perfect for reviewing here. I had high hopes...
And I wasn't disappointed.
The voicesare authentic, from the way Alan narrates the story to Zack's random outbursts. Since I work with middle-school students, I'm always wary about the voices in fiction. Bell, however, writes the characters in such a way that I was actually assigning students to the roles. It make the book immersive and real for me in the best way possible....more
High-school English classes are always concerned with “canon.” You know the books: typically written at least fifty yearFull review at A Writer Reads.
High-school English classes are always concerned with “canon.” You know the books: typically written at least fifty years ago, mostly by old (dead) white guys, thought to express the Most Important Wisdom that any reader might need to know. It’s true—some of them do have either cultural or thematic significance. Unfortunately, so many of those classes are so concerned with what those (old) (dead) (white) authors had to say that they ignore amazing new authors and their messages, many of which are stated just as eloquently and are more meaningful to our world today.
Allegedly is one of those books.
It frustrated me so much. I spent most of it just completely angry at the injustice of Mary’s situation and upset that I can't change the words on the pages. I've read some difficult books for this blog, books that deal with horrible situations and unhappy characters, but Allegedly is definitely the hardest. I hate all the girls in the group home, I hate the idiot people who are supposed to be taking care of everyone, I hate that nobody is listening to anybody and that we have all these examples of how she's actually a good kid, but everybody in the system is “too tired” to do their jobs and actually see justice be done....more
I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes because it was making me feel so sad! I wanted to reach in and give Jensen a massive hug, then gI actually had to put the book down for a few minutes because it was making me feel so sad! I wanted to reach in and give Jensen a massive hug, then give all the bullies detention until they turned thirty! That is how to make a reader care about your characters. Update: did cry at the end. Happy tears only. And genuine tears of genuine happiness, not tears because the author manipulated me. There’s a difference! *glares at The Warden's Daughter*
Quick caveat before I go any further: Brave is actually the second book in Chmakova’s Awkward series (the first book being, unsurprisingly, Awkward). Why, then, would I review Brave? Well, the series is really only a series in name; it operates along the same principle as James Howe’s Misfits books, where they’re all connected via setting and character crossover, but they can be read on their own without anyone feeling like they’re missing part of the story. Granted, both Awkward and Brave are so freaking amazing that if you have space for both on your shelf, definitely put them both on it. But if you only have room for one, Brave is just a little bit better.
Wow, this book is kinda..boring. Predictable, too. I could see where was going the entire time, and that place was just kinda “meh.” It’s a fairy taleWow, this book is kinda..boring. Predictable, too. I could see where was going the entire time, and that place was just kinda “meh.” It’s a fairy tale, so there’s some level of “been there, done that” that is acceptable. However, I think most middle schoolers would be like me and see the “twist” coming from a few hundred pages away.
The action was sometimes hard to follow in the art. That being said, the art was pretty to look at. The big scenes offer enough detail to catch the eye, and Rosado does an amazing job capturing characters’ expressions. There’s one sextet showing Claudette’s reaction to Gaston and Marie, and you can tell exactly how she’s feeling in each frame. It’s cleverly done. Too bad that the writing itself isn’t as good.
This is one of those stories where you wonder if serendipity really does exist. Pierre Haski, the man who originally translated and published Ma Yan’sThis is one of those stories where you wonder if serendipity really does exist. Pierre Haski, the man who originally translated and published Ma Yan’s diaries in a newspaper, was really just there to take some photos of backwater China, which in 2002 had barely changed in hundreds of years. Ma Yan’s mother was the one who actually gave him the diaries, and he said when he read them, he knew he had to do something to help the teenager achieve her dreams.
The diaries cover only a few months of two different years of Ma Yan’s life, but they’re more enough to give readers a glimpse of the harsh realities of life for Ma Yan and her family. Her parents are often gone, working in places like Inner Mongolia or in fields hundreds of miles away to make enough money to buy new clothes, some food, and pay school fees for the children. The schools that Ma Yan and her brothers attend are often so far away that they live in dormitories during the week, only returning home on the weekends. They walk many miles home on Friday, only occasionally able to afford the 1-yuan (15-cent) fare tractor drivers charge for a ride. Even when they do have the money for it, she and her brothers often walk home anyway, just to save it for when they genuinely need it.