Saturday, July 29, 2006

On a Roll

As you read my reviews today, you'll notice I seem to have a beef against swearing. And I do, when it feels like the swearing is added to artificially inflate the maturity level of a book. I have defended books with swearing before. Oh well! Let me know if you feel differently!

Wiess, Laura Such a Pretty Girl, 224 p. Simon Schuster – Meredith has been safe for three years, but now her rapist – her own father – is getting out of jail early for good behavior and her mother insists that Meredith welcome him back with open arms. In the few dramatic days following his release, Meredith discovers some unexpected supporters and the strength within her self to survive. Very engrossing and a speedy read that will generate lots of word of mouth among students. The book does mention, of course, the rape, without describing it. Meredith also is pretty cozy with her older boyfriend, but again the descriptions are fairly limited. The “F’ word is used once, and other swear words less than half a dozen times. MS, HS-ESSENTIAL

Page, Katherine Hall Club Meds, 166 p. Simon Schuster – Jack, Mary and Sam call themselves and other kids who troop to the nurse’s office each day “Club Med”, as they get the medication they need to survive another day of school. Now they are in high school and Jack’s old tormentor has decided to use Jack as his personal supplier for his drug deals around campus – forcing Jack to turn over half of his medication for each day. Since Jack needs that medication to make it through each school day, he and his friends hit upon a plan to thwart Chuck and assert themselves against the school bullies. I have to wonder if someone told the author that the book would never sell unless she included some swearing, so she went back and add a swear word about every other page. I kid you not – that’s just about how often they are. They add absolutely nothing to the narrative and instead feel like great big clunker sin the middle of the story flow. It’s too bad – the story is very goos, but the sheer amount and variety of swear words, with no purpose, make this off limits for public schools. NO

Dowswell, Paul Prison Ship, 300 p. Bloomsbury – Sam Witchall survived the epic battle in Powder Monkey and has a new berth on a new ship. Unfortunately, He raises the ire and suspicion of the ship’s purser and the purser’s son, who frame him and his best friend Richard for cowardice in the midst of battle. The two are sent to Australia for punishment and continue to get themselves into trouble time after time, even though they have good people trying to help them. I really enjoyed the descriptions of ship life and colony life, but I got tired of watching the boys continually make horrible mistakes and be saved from their own follies in a deux ex machina fashion. I haven’t read the first title, but if it is the same then I have a hard time being enthusiastic. MS-ADVISABLE


Lopez, Jack In The Break
, 192 p. Little, Brown – Juan and his best friend Jamie spend the best part of their days catching waves at their favorite breaks up and down the shore. When Jamie’s stepfather forces a confrontation, Jamie beats him until he is close to death. With Amber, Jamie’s sister, the pair head to Mexico to find a place for Jamie to hide out. With the help of an old Mexican man, the friends head out to a sheltered island with gorgeous waves and pods of dolphins playing in the surf. Danger lurks right around the corner. Part of the blurb on the back of the book calls the author’s writing “lyrical”, and it might be, but its hard to tell through all of the swearing. Clunky and jarring, the large amount of swear words – totally without purpose – interrupt the reading and spoil the novel. NO

Umansky, Kaye The Silver Spoon of Solomon Snow, 304 p. Candlewick - One fateful day, Solomon Snow discovers that he truly is a foundling, left in the snow with only a napkin and a silver spoon as the keys to his origins. Along with Prudence, a girl too smart for the village, he ventures to Town in search of spoon, which his stepfather pawned more than a year earlier. Along the way they acquire a little girl, a rabbit and chimney sweep – all of whom are key to solving the mystery. Written after the author was inspired by Dickens, the parody of old Victorian novels. I know adults would appreciate the book, but I am not so sure about children. EL-OPTIONAL

1 comment:

laura wiess said...

Hi Cindy,

I'm so glad you enjoyed Such a Pretty Girl, and I appreciate the good review!

All Best,

Laura Wiess