Monday, April 30, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A Monster Calls Haiku
Our truths lie dormant
Awaiting life’s sad lessons
Strength to heal offered
Wow, what a read! The use of nature in the form of the yew tree’s tales was used to help Conor heal and recognize some important lessons: that truth cheats us, believing is only half of healing, and that we literally disappear in times of overwhelming grief. This book was awesome and wins out over Split for us.
Decisions made in anger
To rescue or not?
This is a pervasive problem in our society and so well hidden. Does the law really assist those in situations as outlined by the author? So many of these victims are truly trapped in their own worlds and yet choose to remain in danger. This is a mature read.
Monday, April 2, 2012
I think I already voted off the island a much better book than either of the two I read this time. This time I read Every You, Every Me-- which was a disappointment because it was a great premise and actually even seemed to use photos in a really unique way. Unfortunately, the protagonist was not someone I cared about saving. The protagonist was obsessed with a character whom he helped commit to a psychiatric hospital and who was not in the book—but that is where the story was! Why didn’t the author just write a book about her? It would have been better. At least something would have happened.
I picked Revolution to continue, though I suspect that it is another case of American cultural appropriation. It starts interestingly enough in posh upper east side New York in the mind of a suicidal child prodigy. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of a turn into a different book altogether, eventually merging into Revolutionary France where our heroine becomes a French maid --the only soul who cares about the torturing of the Marie Antoinette's child locked in the tower. The character lost her desire to die when faced with the real struggles of a culture against brutal forces of oppression. So a lesson learned. The book kept me turning the pages and it involved me more than Every You, Every Me.
At this point, based on the other team’s votes, Renae and I became superfluous votes and Revolution moved on.
For the record, Renae says:
I agree with Wendy that Every You, Every Me was flawed in having the whole book revolve around a girl that wasn’t even technically in the story. The photographer’s identity being revealed in the end seemed rushed and out of nowhere, probably because this was another character that was not in the story at all up until this point. I did like the use of the photographs and the striking out of the font.
Revolution didn’t start out great for me because I really disliked the protagonist. However, I also really love history, so the French Revolution and the music history about the composers appealed to me. I enjoyed how the past and present were intertwined. In terms of how students would like this book—I think many of them would pass it by because of the length of it, and others wouldn’t like it because they don’t appreciate historical fiction. This book may work for grade 9 students or older, or ones who particularly are interested in history or music.
And Laura says:
Every You, Every Me had such an interesting tagline: “A picture is worth a thousand lies”, but it just didn’t live up to the expectations for all the reasons already noted by my colleagues.
I normally don’t like historical fiction, and was dreading reading Revolution, but ended up being engaged by the protagonist and the modern-day portion of the story. I liked it when Andi would read Alex’s diary and I even found myself enjoying the history. It got a bit much when Andi “visited” the past near the end, but I still enjoyed it enough to add my pointless vote to make Revolution a unanimous winner.
Like the remainder of my group, I most definitely nominate Split to move on to the next round. As mentioned, it was an extremely difficult, but compelling, read. In spite of the heartbreaking, often sensational subject matter, Avasthi explores the topic in a way that feels authentic & realistic, & I found myself rooting for Jace & admiring his resiliancy, even in being accountable for & overcoming his own flaws.
On the other hand, although I was expecting to favor Wonderstruck, I found myself disinterested throughout. The concept is interesting & intruiguing, but the execution felt hollow - nothing about the characters or plot really grabbed me. Although it was a quick read, I found myself dragging through to the end, not particularly caring about what happened to either of the main characters.
So, with that said, I fully support the progression of Split to the next Smackdown round!
To be completely honest, I wasn't completely sold on either of the books although both were good reads. Neither of them, though, really felt like anything "OMG special." I've already toasted books in the first rounds that I liked more than either of these two.
Considering my slavish love for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I was surprised at how "m'eh" I felt about Wonderstruck. A nice little story, to be sure, but there wasn't that same propulsive narrative or sense of magic in Wonderstruck. It's probably not fair to compare the two, but, well, it was sort of inevitable on my part.
Split? Well, more than a little depressing. A bit ABC Afterschool Special at times. But I thought the voice of the protagonist was authentic and compelling, and more than a few of the scenes and situations in the novel had me flipping the pages as quickly as I could. To be honest, and I don't wish this too often, I wish the book was another 50 pages or so longer, to fully flesh out some of the secondary stock characters a little better and to more smoothly transition between some of the more abrupt narrative jumps.
Still, engaging enough that I grudgingly send Split off to the next round! Will Jenni make this unanimous?