Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Carver vs All the Women Left in the World

Oh dilemma! Right out of the gate too! Like Arlene, I read Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg and Epitaph Road by David Patneaude. I thought Griff Carver was a funny book. The problem is I think it’s funny because it’s a kid take-off on the hardboiled detective genre. Problem is what kids would get that? Not mine for sure. He wasn’t getting the humor of Griff starting his “career” at six. He didn’t laugh when Griff describes his school in terms of crime: “An eighth-grade girl defacing school property. Two seventh-grade goons giving some dork the hi-low. Extorted milk money making its way up the food chain.” If you don’t get the central connection maybe it just isn’t funny. There was a Disney cartoon a few years ago called Fillmore which tried the same thing – most kids really don’t remember it. Though Griff manages to start his career up at a new school and bust a hallway pass ring all in the first month of school I’m not as confident he’ll bust out of the library. There will be a sequel and I’ll read it but the kids…I don’t know.

I do think I could book talk Epitaph Road and it will got out. The story of a world dominated by women with men carefully controlled is very interesting. Immediately I felt it would pair nicely with The Knife of Never Letting Go, a book set in a world with no women. However interesting the premises, though, I had trouble feeling for the characters. Kellen is one of the few boys around and his dad one of the few survivors of the virus that wiped most men out. His mother is powerful and Kellen has a good relationship with her, supposedly. However, when secrets come out and Kellen tries to get to his father this relationship gets strained but you feel none of Kellen’s angst about the change in this relationship. That aside, there is a rushing plot that will make reluctant readers move through the book. I kept wanting the author to flush out details of the early plot and make more interesting plot twists. Instead you can pretty much see the end from the beginning. In talking with Arlene I suspect both of us are just suffering from loving The Chaos Walking series and everything pales in comparison.

So I’m back to my dilemma….the book I liked most, or the book more kids will be interested in? Stinking kids….Epitaph Road moves on.


  1. I have to agree with you, Dia. When I read about Griff I enjoyed it but I kept seeing little mini detectives roaming the halls of an elementary school which was exactly what made me laugh! I too wondered if students would really get the humor in the lines you quoted - they certainly made me smile but I'm not sure if students would. Perhaps even moving the students age up to junior high would have made a difference? I'm not sure.

  2. Dia, I can't get the Epitaph Road epitaphs out of my mind! I thought that reading those were so key to telling the whole story in that novel. The one about the car keys I thought was particularly poignant.