What I’ve Been Reading

August 13, 2008 at 5:07 pm 4 comments

I somehow managed to end up reading three tween lit books this week. Fancy that.

Endless Quest – Claw of the Dragon: At first I was excited about a choose-your-own-adventure, because I remember loving them when I was younger. (Some more than others, of course; plot is everything in this genre, and some of them definitely fall flat.) But the story really didn’t reel me in well enough to do what I used to do when I was younger–keep my thumb on the decision page so that I could back up and try again if things ended too early.

Flight: This is possibly the most heavy-handed book I’ve ever read. Older brother who probably has dyslexia! Illiterate mother who dropped out of high school while she was pregnant and now probably has an eating disorder that her daughter is currently internalizing! Lady in a wheelchair! Completely irrelevant side character who has to work two jobs as a teenager! Divorce! ZOMG, people. Seriously, I’m glad Ellison wanted to write a book about learning disorders (or illiteracy? The two are sort of conflated here, which is also frustrating), but I felt like I was being hit in the head repeatedly with a big pillow marked Important Issues. Took a lot of the fun out of reading this one.

Catcall: Eh… I did some skimming here. A mildly interesting premise (is Josh’s little brother actually possessed by the spirit of a wild cat, or is he just jealous of his new little sister?) that got bogged down in the rhetoric of Families Change And It’s Important To Adapt.

(Okay, I lied. It was four books.)

Star Sisterz: Nova Rocks: Apparently this is three years old, so I’m not really sure why I have a copy. Anyway, I threw up in my mouth a little several times while reading this, but I’m clearly not the target audience for this brand of Girl Power. Also, all three user reviews on Amazon gave it five out of five stars.

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Review: Company of Liars What I’ve Been Reading

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. katie  |  August 27, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    you are insane! this book is absolutly amazing. The writing is superb, the description is great. You really feel like you’re with the characters. You can relate to them. This book is a great read and a great find. The important issues pillow you were talking about, do us all a favor and take it to sleep on it. Think about what she’s really trying to do. It’s a great way to show kids how different issues really effect people, and that their problems (eating disorders, illiteracy, etc.) can effect the people in their family far greater than it effects themselves.

    Reply
  • 2. pandanose  |  August 27, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Nope, I stand by my review. It’s entirely possible to write about these issues without being so heavy-handed, or trying to give every single character a heavy issue to grapple with. Think of anything written by Chris Crutcher or Robert Cormier. Those are authors who can introduce pretty heavy themes for younger readers while developing their characters well, creating pacing that doesn’t seem quite so rushed, and offering genuine story arcs with resolution.

    Reply
  • 3. katie  |  August 30, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Based on your word choice, I’d say much time has passed since you were a younger reader. And even if you were a specialist, or an expert on that age range, you don’t interact with the students on an equal level. They aren’t your peers. The fact of the matter is, is that when one family member has an issue, it’s a ripple effect on everyone else they’re close to. She captures a real family with real problems living in a real world. These issues are heavy, and I think it’s great that an author is finally willing to sit down and present those issues in her book as they really are. Heavy. She does it in a great way to make you empathize for the characters (which can only happen if the characters are well developed). It’s a great book. Re-read it and try to see something new.

    Reply
  • 4. pandanose  |  August 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Well, the great thing about books is that we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

    Reply

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