Wednesday, May 18, 2016

100 Days


In short:
I can't say much about this book without giving too much away. Very early on, you will figure out where this book is going to end barring any surprises so I don't need to say too much about the plot. I think it is like driving to work or riding to school. You know the route right away. This is not a journey, it's the same route and you can take that route in your sleep, so just look out the window and enjoy the company. 

My thoughts:

I liked the cover until I finished the book and re-looked at the cover. I am not fond of the cover at all. With alternating perspective chapters of the three characters, I have a distinct vision of each character based on what they say, feel, experience, as well as what the remaining two characters feel and say about themselves and each other. This type of writing technique hones in on character and rounds each character out which is probably why the generic Leggo people look of the cover is now unacceptable. I would rather have an abstract cover.

Despite that major complaint, I did not hate the book. I thought it was fine, even if the end was obvious. The characters were likable, complex, teen angsty, easy to read, sweet, sentimental, sad. It has all the elements that my students will want. It should do well.

Publication date: August 23, 2016. Advanced copy provided by Net Galley dot com for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What a little boy can teach the old


From the acclaimed author of When We Were the Kennedys and Any Bitter Thing, the incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house—a friendship with unexpected reverberations for the boy's unmoored family.

My thoughts:
This is a perfect book for the middle reader. Miss Ona Vitkus is a 104 year old hermit, but the local boy scout troop sends her boys to help around the house and she usually chases them away until one awkward boy with an obsession for lists, questions and Guiness World Records wedges himself into her life and changes the way she sees herself and her history. But then the boy is gone and his father, Quinn fulfills his sonʻs obligation and a new friendship is formed.

This book is about a boy who is invisible, bullied, misunderstood. It is about a quest. Most importantly it is about the lessons the 11-year old boy is able to teach Miss Ona and his father Quinn about life, and what it means to be truly living. 

The writing style took me a while to get used to, but I like that it does not resort to syrupy sweetness or clean redemption wrapped up in happily ever after. Finally, Wood writes one of the best last chapters I have read in a long time. I am glad that I kept reading because that last chapter was so unexpected and hauntingly divine. 

Advanced copy provided by Net Galley and the publisher for an honest review.

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