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

Monday, January 27, 2014

The four of us  from Westmin were fairly well agreed that neither of our two books gave great pleasure.  Ask the Passengers does what it wants to do-- provide us with a novel that deals with budding sexuality.  The protagonist attempts to determine her own inclinations but she doesn’t figure it out for e v e r because she is rethinking and looking for proof when it is obvious to us from page one. Kevin didn’t much like the book—said that he was tired of teen 'coming out' narratives because they are too angsty and they don’t seem to have anything else going on in their lives except fretting about their sexuality.  Queer YA lit needs to give more than just that.  We can't really figure out the title.  There is some tentative connection with passing air planes and the passing of quantities of love which doesn't really work and has very little to do with the book.  I was bored frankly.  So were most of us.

The Book of Blood and Shadows is more of an adventure.  It is a bit of a teenagers' De Vinci's Code-- I know, I know-- said already. The protagonist ends up on the streets of Prague searching for the Lumen Dei, the alchemists' machine that has the power to allow the user to see god.  She becomes a pawn of a powerful group who try to use the power for themselves and another who attempts to destroy it forever   Nothing is what it seems.  No one is whom they seem. The protagoinist kept falling in love with the wrong men.  Many of the wrong men.  Just how many wrong men can there be?  Maybe it is more realistic than I thought.  There are links to the past and to characters of the 15th century Europe.  It is an adventure and will be fun for most kid readers but though it was interesting right from the start, it did bog down and drown somewhat in the middle.

So we came down on the side of The Book of Blood and Shadows.  It is good enough to move on.  

Wendy Dawson
Kevin McBean
Laura Johnson
Renae Pappas

1 comment:

  1. Holy toot. I've been shocked for the last two years that A.S. King's novels have been knocked out so early; I really think she is one of the best YA authors out there right now. And I think her books (and I've seen it happen) do really powerful things for kids, both as readers and thinkers. Truly, these are books that makes kids a little more compassionate and thoughtful and kind.
    Oh, well. There's always the Zombie Pick.
    And Reality Boy for next year's Smackdown...