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, February 16, 2012

A Monster Calls vs. Beauty Queens

Mona: Hey Barb.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I loved Beauty Queens when I first read it.  I laughed at the tongue in cheek and enjoyed the unrealistic yet entertaining series of events. I was surprised at the indiscriminate killing off of various characters, which just added to the surreal experience on the island.
Barb: Well Mona, I agree that the idea was clever but I felt the book got more annoying as it went along.  Did you actually read all those footnotes??
Mona: At first I read them all, and I will admit that I started skimming as the story progressed.  I tried not to take any of it too seriously, and was in it for the laughs.  There was a serious side though - in that the book dealt with parent issues/pressures and the various responses of the girls to that pressure.  Warning for prudish- there was a lot of sex, but the story also dealt with love and sex, both gay and straight in a reasonably sensitive and humorous manner. What do you say to that, Barb?
Barb: That was part of the problem.  Libba Bray tried to deal with everything, plus the kitchen sink.  She could have used a good editor.  I just think it went on too long.  I could find people to recommend this to, but it's not one I would recommend often. If you have this book in a junior high it would need to be in a section reserved for mature readers. For me this book was kind of like a stupid movie.  You have to be in the mood for it.
Mona: So I guess I was in the mood for it.  I would also be careful of who I would recommend it to.

So now on to A Monster Calls. What did you think of that one Barb?
Mona: ME TOO!!
Barb: It's the best book I've read in a while.
Mona: I thought so too. I was sure I was going to vote Beauty Queens through to the next round, but once I got caught up in A Monster Calls, Beauty Queens was dead to me!
Barb and Mona: The Fairy Tales that had no message (ha ha) were compelling (actually the whole book was compelling). It was a clever combination - dealing with bullying and death together in the book. We were never sure where imagination ended and reality began, but that was okay. It was actually part of the magic that drew us into the story.We both laughed at times and shed a tear at times as we followed the main character, Conor, through the story. Little things, like a sapling growing out of a knot of wood in Conor's room, or berries covering Conor's floor were enticing little tidbits that added to the whole. The illustrations were completely amazing. They enhanced and were an integral part of the story.

If you haven't figured it out by now, we both loved A Monster Calls and give it two votes to move on to the next round. (And they say JP doesn't like anything). The decision now rests on you, Fred and Robin. (But if you don't pick A Monster Calls, two monsters from JP may come calling!!)

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