Fantasy vs. Historical fiction = neither I would pick off a shelf to read. Although, I will have to say that in the past year I have found several fantasy books I have actually enjoyed. Not that I have begun to read many but it is a start...
Wither - As with many books, my first impression came from the cover. Young girl, long blonde hair (a bit frizzy in my opinion!), bird cage, fancy dress....I didn't like it already! When I actually started reading the concept was interesting - what if you knew when you would die? - but in the beginning the story line was a bit of Hunger Games contestants meets Cinderella meets Sister Wives! I wasn't sure which way it was going to go....then, I realized it actually was the survival of Cinderella and her sister wives! As the story continued, I fell into the trap of any good book and wanted to know what happened in the end. When I got to the end I was a bit confused. I looked it up only to discover I will only find out what happens if I read the entire trilogy! UGHHH! I didn't love it but didn't hate it either. Teenage girls will be all over it looking for the happy ending with romance and the search for love.
Out of Shadows - After reading Bamboo People last year I had high hopes for my next historical fiction read. I have done some reading and work in my SS 8 classes with regards to Robert Mugabe and his rule in Zimbabwe and was hopeful this YA novel would prove to be another resource representing the Worldview of a teenage boy. It is. However, even though the events are disturbing and true to real life events, the overall writing left something to be desired. In many cases I felt the author was beating me over the head with the repetitive events of bullying and race relations. I am not by any means making light of historical atrocities but I can't imagine a teenage boy or girl wanting to read until the end. Everyone knows how it ends. The other bothersome part of the book was the author’s insistence on commenting on the later / adult life of the other characters early on in the story. This was disturbing to me as it took away the suspense of what could be to come. It was not even close to foreshadowing when he states when and how they ended up or what his role was. Teens will get some thought provoking questions from the book but not to the level it has been reviewed by others.
The decision -In the beginning I predicted the historical fiction story would win out, but, both Andrew and I agree that although we wouldn't pick either one as exceptional, in the spirit of competition we will choose Wither to last another round!
Team DA (Donna and Andrew)