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. 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.
Quick review for a quick read that I picked up from my library’s audio collection. Powerful and really wonderful character exploration, which is typical of Ellen Hopkins’s books. Pattyn is a young woman living in a tightly knit religious community and abusive household. She strongly laments her inability to grow as a young woman – in relationships, in asserting herself among other things – as well as watching her mother being subjected to her father’s fists. After a series of incidents in which she acts out, she’s sent to live with her aunt and begins to know what it means to have a better life for herself, including being valued in a romantic relationship with her S.O. (Ethan). In the end, she’s not prepared to return to the household that cast her out, yet she never really wanted to leave completely behind, and things only turn for the worst after that point. I’ll admit it hit me like a punch to a gut and I couldn’t shake the emotional upheaval it left within me long after turning the final page.