Quick review for quick read. So a few confessions on my read of “Perfect Escape” – I read this book in a matter of a 2 hour marathon reading session and it was a random read I picked up from my library. I loved the other books I’d read from Jennifer Brown, so “Perfect Escape” was a definite pick up for me for the author as well as the promise of a roadtrip family story with coming of age leanings and a character with a disability (OCD).
Initial reaction: Probably one of the most original and engaging stories I’ve read of its measure. Sarah’s story and different personalities really held my attention throughout the read.
It’s on an ironic note that while that the protagonist of this book (Sarah) was worried about being “original”, “Still Life with Tornado” is truly one of the most original reads I’ve seen in the YA spectrum to date. I honestly have never read a story quite like this – blending a bit of speculative fiction/magical realism with a rather heavy coming of age tale.
Quick review for a quick read. This isn’t the first “Great Courses” audiobook I’ve listened to, but it was one of the ones I was most disappointed by. A shame because the topic is very fascinating in terms of how self-control is regulated by the brain. It touches on several topics with support from several studies: brain injury and how it affects self control, mental energy and fatigue, dietary influences in brain energy, making decisions, how fatigue factors into difficult topics, self control and finances, etc. I found that I wasn’t really the biggest fan of the audio lecturer. His dictation didn’t feel immersive/enthusiastic about the topic and the transitions between topics weren’t as smooth from lecture to lecture as I would’ve hoped. I did have a few takeaways for the knowledge base and topics this series of lecture covered, but not enough for the time and energy that it took for me to move through this audio course (which was well over 3 hours).
Overall score: 2/5 stars.
Quick review for a quick read. Another emotional and engaging read from Sara Zarr. “Gem and Dixie” is a story of sisters as well as knowing when to let go and grow. I enjoyed the journey, though the story had more compelling points in certain turns than others. It got a little muddled in the middle trying to march itself towards the ending, but still pulled at my heartstrings for showcasing the relationship between the characters.
Quick review for a somewhat quick read for me, though it felt like I had to push myself through this novel several times. “The Whole Thing Together” has many issues, but I would echo concerns that much of this novel suffers from rampant cliches, insensitive references in the measure of racial attribution (considering it uses a racial slur casually and struggles constantly to accurately and sensitively portray the multiracial character who struggles with her identity) and sexism (slut shaming and odd fixations on physical details of the characters). In addition to those issues, I think the biggest downfall of this novel really came in that I just couldn’t find a space to connect with the characters. Not as much as I wanted to, because there were parts of the narrative that had the potential to go interesting places, but never quite reached that point and abruptly halted in places where the development could’ve provided more intimacy than the narration allowed.