Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If I Ever Get Out of Here vs. Eleanor & Park

While If I Ever Get Out of Here does an effective job of giving an all-too-realistic portrayal of systemic racism, it was crying out for a bit of nuance and subtlety.  Characters were clearly either good or bad – the "good" being shining beacons of humanity and perfection, and the "bad" (particularly the stereotypical bully, Evan) being just so unrelentingly evil that they were little more than caricatures. And while I've never been a teenage boy, the relationship and interactions between Lewis and his best friend George just didn't ring true at times.

Eleanor & Park, on the other hand, was one of those books that was such a joy to read that I forgot I was reading. It’s one of those books where even though it was well past midnight on a school night and I still had over a hundred pages to go, there was no way I was going to put it down. It’s one of those books that the crazies deem dangerous enough to try to pull it off the shelves (and let’s be honest, doesn't that just add to the appeal?) I loved both of these characters, and I loved (most of) both of their families, not because they were all perfect or shining or true, but because they were so relatably, humanly flawed. Okay, this is crossing into cheesy territory now, but seriously, this is one of the best YA novels I've read in a long time.

So, although If I Ever Get Out of Here had its merits, there’s still no question that Eleanor & Park is the clear winner of this round!

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