Monday, June 26, 2017

Fix Me

From NetGalley:

Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkhite; Publisher: North Star Editions; publish date: November 28, 2017

If Pen hadn't called Jenelle, how would Jenelle have gotten into the story? Was that a supernatural occurrence or coincidence?

Even simple things interrupted my flow of the story, like some problems with the school the author created:
  1. No punishment for cutting from school
  2. Baloney that the librarian would let Pen off without a pass - twice
Factual applications of the use of drugs, even a made-up drug - don't match what would be expected… Drugs don't last as long as the author purports (up to 8 weeks in bloodstream). Even though this is fiction, I was distracted from the more realistic time frame of 3-6 weeks in urine and 3 days in blood.

Other drug side effects the author created weren't used consistently: for example, recurring visions of unknown people, even when a person is not currently high. But Pen has been on for a year, so wouldn't that mean that Pen would have had extra-Nate visions before now? What about the inconsistency of when Pen becomes nauseous and vomiting?

The police scenes are so unrealistic. Pen and her friends are minors taken to the police station without a guardian or a lawyer!

And why would the rehab let Pen out immediately after she just had what they think is a reaction to the meds they’ve put her on?

I don't think the story knows what it wants to be. Ghost story? Mystery? Realistic fiction with hallucinations? It wasn't the story that was a mystery; it was the editing. Ouch...sorry...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Munro vs the Coyote

From NetGalley:
Munro vs. the Coyote by Darren Groth, Orca Book Publishers, publication date: October 17, 2017

I have to admit I'm not sure about the coyote. Why a coyote? Dunno. Don't care. (Well, I do, but ...) Regardless, I LOVE this book! Kept me interested the whole time. I loved going on Munro’s journey of wellness, of er . I enjoyed the characterizations of the main characters and the supporting characters; they all felt real and purposeful and relevant to the story. Darren Groth’s backstories and dialogue gave real dimension to each character’s role. Even Munro’s Canadian parents took the journey with him, and I rooted for them all to succeed. The storytelling provided real tenderness and conflict, doubts and supports, humor and fear. I highly recommend this book for high school libraries and public library YA collections. 

Friday, June 23, 2017


From NetGalley:

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo, published by Flux: Jolly Fish Press, SciFi/Fantasy, Teens & YA, Publish date: July 11, 2017

I read Consider, so I thought I'd see what's up in Contribute. Kristy Acevedo did some good things to help readers transition, i.e., remember, from one book to the next... but it took a while to get there. I was almost a third of the way through the book before I felt connected to this part of the story, and not because of a gap in continuity. There were just a lot of inconsistencies in this as a stand-alone story that made the beginning of this story drag for me. For ex., I got caught up in how the hologuides would know what a grain of rice is to explain nanoholocoms in that way. If Doctor A. arrived at about the same time Alex did (to be standing in line with her), then how did he know already what Skylucent was? Most importantly, how does an advanced society not know their 'guests' have disrupted the communication/tracking devices and believe that they are in sleep mode for such extended periods of time? Then Acevedo starts to hit her stride. I became engaged with the writing, "Soap doesn't equal tranquility," and "really down-to-earth"; I bet Acevedo couldn't wait to use that line LOL. Another great line is "Alexandra Lucas. Saved." Finally, I loved the author's play on the use of "Mississippi." Readers of The Hunger Games, who enjoy a young female protagonist, will enjoy this series as well. Alex is a humble and gracious heroine.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

From Netgalley:
36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant, published by Perseus Books, Running Press, Teens & YA, Publish date: October 17, 2017

Love, love, LOVE this book! Great dialogue, humor, and unsappy pathos. Likable, well-fleshed out lead characters (supporting characters enough for their supporting roles) embody a truly engaging, relatable YA story. The author does a great job using dialogue to create mood, especially in the opening scene; adept use of sentence structure produces the scene's chaos. [A quirky side note: the word 'raisin' is used twice in this book.] The scene in room 417 reminds me of a two-person "Breakfast Club;" that's a compliment. The author's descriptions are good and supply vivid images to enhance the story. I'm seriously enjoying the level of vocabulary used in this book, too; it's elevated yet accessible. Highly recommended for high school libraries.

Before I Let Go

From Netgalley: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp Published by SOURCEBOOKS Fire Mystery & Thrillers , Teens & YA Pub Date 23 Jan 2018

I'm surprised how disappointed I was with this title. I understand that the author is part of a diversity initiative, but the inclusion of some of the, um, inclusions seemed gratuitous. For example, in only one paragraph in the whole book was it thrown in that Corey had a black friend at school. It wasn't made relevant to the story; it wasn't necessary to the characterization or plot development; it was just thrown in for diversity's sake. That's not really my first disappointment, though. It's related to how many themes this one book tackles. Manic-depression, gays and lesbians, asexuality, suicide, the environment, precognition, superheroes, There were also a few Leitwortstils going on: the "endless day, endless night" song and "So be it." Nothing wrong with this device, but it felt excessive. The salmonberries motif was never resolved other than to allude to the fact that that "they don't grow here... The girl holds flowers that shouldn't be." The foreshadowing throughout the story was too obvious, too blatant -- luckily, none of the plot foreshadowing got mixed in with the prescient aspects of Kyra's malady. The superhero and the stars motifs left nothing to the reader's imagination; the author spelled out the metaphors through the characters' thoughts and dialog. I also had questions as to some of the characters' actions. For example, while I understand why a teen gets involved in life and cannot answer ever letter she receives, I don't understand why Corey didn't respond to Kyra's "I want to study myths, not star in one" letter. Also, how can the town folk keep accusing Corey of leaving when she was just a 17 year old girl who was moved by her mother's job situation and not someone who ran from the situation? How did Roshan, who didn't even know Corey seven months ago, know that the Hendersons "care about you [Corey], like a second daughter" ... Especially since Kyra was separated from her family for quite some time in the seven months since Corey left? Finally, was the seven months that Corey was gone enough time for the whole town to turn into the Stepford Wives? I guess I expected realistic fiction and got magical realism, which is irrelevant to my overall reaction to the storytelling. This would make a good book from which to teach metaphors and motifs, but it's not a must-have title for a school library.
Professional Reader and 10 Book Reviews