Friday, April 8, 2011
Flash Burnout vs Whisper
Wow. The books are getting better and better for me. I was hoping not to be the first one to post on these two books, but I guess I will risk being the loser who picks a different book than my two colleagues reading the same novels. Frankly, I am having hard time deciding which book to move on, so I will share my thoughts on pros and cons and then make a decision by the end of this post. (I won't torture those of you who have read the books and moved them on with another plot synopsis.)
Flash Burnout. Pros: I really enjoyed the protagonist's voice and his sense of humour. The characters are well developed and very real. I like the family dynamic; the supporting character of the older brother who hassles his younger sibling, but comes through as someone to count on in a crisis, won me over. I think boys and girls will be able to read and relate to the characters and conflicts. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book myself. Cons: The climax that I was hoping for involved the conflict with Marissa's mom, the addict, and their relationship, and hopefully some kind of adventure, but the climax I got involved a love triangle with the characters, whom I liked, letting me down in their inability to remain faithful. Is it really so impossible for a girl and a boy to be "just friends"? I am not sure I like that model for our young adult readers. Maybe I could just to go back and watch When Harry Met Sally again if I want to explore that idea again, rather than getting kind of creeped out by teenagers exploring that idea (don't worry, I've already been identified as "old-fashioned" and "bleeding heart" in other venues this week, so you don't need to comment about it).
Whisper. Pros: I liked reading this book more. Despite its fantasy genre, the characters are believable and likable (even cranky Icka soon had my sympathy). Some of the problems about fitting in and wondering what your friends and family really think about you are issues to which lots of teen readers will relate. I think teens will recognize family members and friends in their own lives and girls, in particular, will relate to the sister rivalry and friendship dynamics. The climax was very exciting. It also has characters who redeem themselves. Cons: It is another fantasy novel to add to the pile. I don't think boys will pick this one up.
Hmmm. Aren't these pro and con lists supposed to clarify my choice?
The debate really seems to be how we are defining "best" book. Is it the one I enjoy more? The most exciting? The one more students will read? A book I can teach? A book that will appeal equally to both genders? A book that teaches the best lessons? All of these questions have me voting for different books.
Where is the rubric?
Without one, I am just going to say I liked Whisper more and let my other two colleagues make the deciding votes.