Things I liked: Savvy. George. Their relationship. The focus of a book with themes of weight being about a person who was too thin rather than overweight. Savvy's ultra-supportive and fun best friend. The "it's not even worth addressing" fact that heThings I liked: Savvy. George. Their relationship. The focus of a book with themes of weight being about a person who was too thin rather than overweight. Savvy's ultra-supportive and fun best friend. The "it's not even worth addressing" fact that her sister is gay. Portrayal of a character who has panic attacks. Condemnation of a reality TV show. Most of the book.
But then.... I was thoroughly enjoying all of this book - even with the typical back and forth of a romantic relationship - up until the last couple of chapters where everything suddenly just ended. Was the author under a high pressure deadline to wrap it all up? Threads that were unsatisfactorily concluded for me:
Savvy's mom crashes which was not a surprise with the foreshadowing that had been included, but then she goes to the hospital and that's about it. We hear third hand that she's going to to have spend a couple more weeks somewhere, but there's no real resolution between her and Savvy. And with her eating disorder, is she suddenly just all better? That's not usually how such things work. George's problem is his insecurity about getting too attached but he says that and then Savvy says it and now they're all good? The initial panic attack was nicely written and Savvy mentions having a history of them at other times in the book, but otherwise that issue is dropped. Savvy's article for the newspaper! She goes to the award ceremony at the end of the book because her article was such a great thing but as readers we see so little of how she got there. She interviews the coach, they crash a practice, and she talks to a former player. But we are not let in on the writing and publishing of the article nor on the fallout from it other than a quick mention during the award scene. George tells her how proud he is because she has worked so hard on it, but I didn't see that hard work, just a few threads that were leading to something explosive.
I wish the conclusion of the book had been as well done as the first three quarters. The more I reflected on the story, the more unhappy I was with it overall....more
A few chapters into this I had to run an errand and decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a case of bottled water just to have on hand because the speed with which society falls apart in the book felt entirely too realistic. So in terms of makingA few chapters into this I had to run an errand and decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a case of bottled water just to have on hand because the speed with which society falls apart in the book felt entirely too realistic. So in terms of making me think hard about how close most of us are to dropping civility in the face of a crisis, this book is right on target. Unfortunately, after that good opening for a scary survival story, it was just fairly dry. I wasn't invested in any of the characters and felt that they often made poor choices. Not the kind of poor choices that lead to interesting story developments, just some fairly illogical choices. It seemed that Shusterman was going for a picture of the greater scene by including quick scenarios of the girl in the Target parking lot and Alyssa's uncle and the "saint" on the freeway, but I would've preferred more connection with our main characters....more
As an overview of teaching strategies this is a worthwhile title for educators. I have been a public school teacher for 26 years and I've seen a lot of "new" initiatives in that time. This book references a lot of them - differentiation, learning byAs an overview of teaching strategies this is a worthwhile title for educators. I have been a public school teacher for 26 years and I've seen a lot of "new" initiatives in that time. This book references a lot of them - differentiation, learning by design, the work of Ruby Paine, SMART goals, multiple intelligences, and more. In fact, I started keeping a list of all the prior theories that were going to revolutionize education as they were mentioned in the book and that list was long! So in that respect, this book provides a decent summary of many teaching philosophies and strategies. But when it comes to laying out a coherent new idea, I am underwhelmed. I read this book because my school district started learning walks last year. I was highly skeptical of what the walks were supposed to do to improve education and I asked several questions for clarification of the people in my building who were charged with training the rest of us. The responses I received were either snippy or vague and not illuminating. I went along with the walks for the rest of the school year, but this summer I decided to read this book, assuming I had been missing something or that my trainers had not been able to articulate the practice clearly so getting the information directly from the source might give me insight to what I should be learning. Obviously, that didn't happen and I feel that the reason I couldn't get my questions answered this year is because there's not a clear program spelled out in the book. But now I can say that I gave it my best shot to grasp what I could and I can move on with my life. I'm also annoyed by the totally fake journal entries from Jerrod that were presented as observations of a real 7th grader....more