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The Half Life of Ryan Davis
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message 1: by Angie (last edited Apr 24, 2012 01:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Use this thread to discuss The Half Life of Ryan Davis by our fellow group member, Melinda Szymanik.

If you intend to read this book during March or April, could you please post a message below. I'll then add you to this list :)

Participating:
Angie
Kathleen
Sue
Ngaio
Tui
Melinda
Polly
Sharlene


Kathleen Dixon (kiwikathleen) | 1471 comments Library-dependent, but hopefully.


Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Melinda - Could you please let us know how best to track down a copy of your book. I tried Dunedin Libraries, but they don't have it, which surprised me.


message 4: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue (tog1) | 47 comments I'm in for the read - I already have a copy as I bought it for my kids. It's available on Fishpond BTW.


message 5: by Angie (last edited Feb 23, 2012 11:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Thanks Sue! Just bought my copy from Fishpond for $14.98.


message 6: by J (new)

J (ngaiob) I'm with Kathleen on the library-dependent (I love that description Kathleen!)


message 7: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Hi folks

Auckland libraries have copies. Don't know about other centres yet though. Whitcoulls will be selling it in March and other bookshops can order it in but is also available on Fishpond or Mighty Ape and from the usual e-book sellers

cheers


message 8: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Christchurch Library also has a copy


message 9: by Melinda (last edited Mar 04, 2012 01:37PM) (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Just a few words about the book for those planning to read it...

This fast paced contemporary novel for young teens is a dark and tense read with plenty of twists to keep you off balance. Growing up can be even harder than you thought and danger can come in the most unexpected form. Everyone keeps secrets...

I've also prepared an educational resource to accompany the book if anyone is interested.


Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Yes please! Do you have some discussion questions that you could post for us to answer once we have read the book?


message 11: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Can do. And I can send the resource to whoever wants it in April.
cheers
Melinda


message 12: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue (tog1) | 47 comments I'm about halfway through this and really enjoying it. It's well-paced and a real page-turner. It's written from the point of view of 15-yr-old Ryan, and his voice is so credible that you completely forget it's written by, like, a grown-up. That takes real talent. But Melinda doesn't overdo the teenage voice, which is why it works so well. Ryan is very likeable; the author clearly relates well to teenagers and I would guess enjoys their company - when most people do nothing but moan about teenagers it's nice to see someone speaking from their point of view and not making fun.
I have a 15-yr-old son who, like Ryan, loves his BMX bike, has an annoying but loveable younger sister and a best friend called Alex. Bit spooky that.
Anyone who's put this on their 'to read if I get the time' list should promote it to their 'read next' one. It's well worth it.


message 13: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Wow, thank you Sue Copsey.Glad you have been enjoying the story. Hope you have survived the ending. Will post discussion questions shortly


message 14: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Warning - Discussion Questions contain spoilers


1. Why do you think Ryan is so alone?
2. How do you think the situation (Mallory running away) could have been avoided?
3. Should Ryan have told his mother he had a girlfriend? Should he have told her about the job?
4. Why do you think the author introduced the character of Kim?
5. Should he have told someone what was happening with his mother? Who should he tell? Why didn’t other people notice what was happening in Ryan’s family?
6. What advice would you give Ryan
7. What positive things occur in Ryan’s life as a result of everything that happens?
8. What clues can you find in the text to Mrs Davis’s state of mind


Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Thank you for posting the discussion questions, Melinda. I haven't read them, because I saw your spoiler warning, so will avoid eye contact with them until after I have read the book. Which, by the way, arrived this morning from Fishpond. Yay!


Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments I started reading The Half Life of Ryan Davis this afternoon. I'm already well over halfway through. Ryan is a very likeable character and Gemma is a sweet wee sister. It is a really refreshing read. I'm keeping an open mind as to what will happen in the remainder of the book. Could go a variety of ways.


message 17: by Angie (last edited Mar 31, 2012 12:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments My thoughts/answers to some of the discussion questions

(view spoiler)

Congratulations Melinda! A stunning young adult novel.


message 18: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments Wow, thanks Angie. Glad you enjoyed the book. It does centre on a rather challenging topic which can be a bit of a shock I guess. Its very interesting for me as the writer to see your responses to the discussion questions


message 19: by Tui (last edited Apr 01, 2012 01:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 282 comments I have just grabbed the kindle version and will be reading soon and participating in this discussion.


Kathleen Dixon (kiwikathleen) | 1471 comments Excellent book, Melinda!

Here are my thoughts on your discussion questions:
(view spoiler)


message 21: by Tui (last edited Apr 01, 2012 03:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 282 comments I got about one third through the book last night. Very interesting. I'm hooked. The "voice" of the young boy narrator is extremely authentic.
Can I please be added to the "participating" list above?
Thank-you.


Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Tui wrote: "I got about one third through the book last night. Very interesting. I'm hooked. The "voice" of the young boy narrator is extremely authentic.
Can I please be added to the "participating" list abov..."


Sure thing. I've added Melinda as well!


message 23: by Tui (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 282 comments I finished the story and was hooked from start to finish. It was an unusual and clever plot, the touch where Ryan glimpsed the younger sister and thought it was the missing older one and then the reverse happened later when he saw Mallory and thought it was Gemma. I wasn't too sure about the ending though. I didn't find it fully satisfying. I felt I needed a little more info on what actually happened to the mother and also needed to know if Ryan got to grips better with the difficulties he was having with his dad. Just seemed to be left a bit hanging there.


message 24: by Melinda (new) - added it

Melinda Szymanik (writermel) | 160 comments thank you so much for all your comments. It is great having so much feedback and interesting to see different responses.

cheers


Polly (pollyo) | 4 comments Bit behind on this - I read it earlier in the month but I've been on holiday!! I really enjoyed this book and found it, like many others a really compelling read. I was hooked and couldn't guess the ending. Again, like other comments one of the main things that I noticed was the realistic 'voice' of Ryan as a teenager. I really empathised with Ryan and felt frustrated with his mother as he seemed like a pretty good kid all things considered! Great little read for Young Adult Fiction.


Sharlene (sharlenehuriwai) | 584 comments Mod
I've requested this from the library. Hoping to pick it up soon & tag along in the discussion.


Sweetp-1 | 402 comments Joining in late :) Just bought the kindle version tonight.


message 28: by Lesley (last edited Apr 26, 2012 10:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lesley | 1569 comments This was a very surprising and totally enjoyable read. Even though the theme was pretty heavy, the author balanced it by injecting the right tone of humour making the read lighter just when it needed to be. I sort of guessed who ‘Mallory’ was when Ryan saw her at the dance and wondered how much effect his controlling, over-protective Mother was having on his mind – was I surprised at the end?!I just never expected either of those aspects at the end.
Yes, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and writing style.Can’t help wondering what happens to the family now.


Sweetp-1 | 402 comments 1. Why do you think Ryan is so alone?

What the others have said I guess. Feeling like he is 'different' because no one else would know how it felt to be in family suffering that kind of loss - not having anyone you could go to who would understand what it was like. I would also imagine there might be a bit of self protection, no attention is better than attention because of Mallory. Do you think people avoided him - not knowing what to say or how to treat him, saying nothing is better than putting your foot in it type situation?

2. How do you think the situation (Mallory running away) could have been avoided?
If Mallory had got help from someone else (a teacher perhaps), if she'd gone to her Dad for help (though how you could be married to someone and not see how they were becoming unhinged left a ? for me), or if the mothers behaviour had become more obvious to others in the family it might have pre-empted some earlier help for her.


4. Why do you think the author introduced the character of Kim? I really liked how this aspect was handled. I liked how they mucked around but he knew he wasnt ready for sex yet but all the adults immediately assumed they were. It felt very 15yr old to me. His reactions to liking her and then not being sure if she was his GF and then the humiliation of being caught. It was a really authentic feeling part of the book for me. I also really liked teh scene were he confessed what had happened at the dance, and her reaction. I was pleased he had someone in his life he could go to when it was all beginning to fall apart - she was his glimmer of hope.

5. Should he have told someone what was happening with his mother? Who should he tell? Why didn’t other people notice what was happening in Ryan’s family?
This part of the plot happened quite fast. I mean, the mother was odd and controlling but I think some of that would have been a valid reaction to having a missing child. The part with Kim was the point where I thought something was clearly not right, but before that, she just felt...odd.... without being so crazy you would have to tell someone. Then by the time it escalated to hitting there wasnt a lot of time (plot wise) before the phone was ringing etc and the next part unfurled.


I'm pleased to have read this. A real page turner that I sped through in 2 sittings. I loved the believable teenage voice and the palpable sense that he was forever living in Mallory's shadow. I wondered at the plausibility of Mallory's name change/never being identified (this is a small country after all) but apart from that small niggle I really enjoyed the book.


message 30: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Danilo (jodanilo) | 53 comments I'm really really late on this one, but have just stuck a review up to say how much I enjoyed it. Ryan Davis was easily one of the most credible characters I've ever come across. I really felt for him, trying his best to handle so many issues at once.


Sharlene (sharlenehuriwai) | 584 comments Mod
I've just read it! lol. A great lil read Melinda.

My thoughts...(view spoiler)


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