Smackdown Books 2019

Piecing Me Together
We Are Okay
Hello, Universe
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
The Marrow Thieves
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives
The Poet X
Illegal
Children of Blood and Bone
Far from the Tree
Long Way Down
The Goat
Moxie
Amina's Voice
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess
The First Rule of Punk
24 Hours in Nowhere
The Astonishing Color of After
Obsessed: : A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Train I Ride

Wednesday, March 11, 2015





The Night Gardener vs the Other Book I have already blocked from memory.

Poor Glory O'Brien wins no awards from me.

I found her character draining, the plot ridiculous, and story, as reflected by my title, absolutely forgettable.  Like many a tale, I wanted to enjoy the story: after all, the girl drinks bat juice and sees the future.  But she has the vision, alongside her co-bat-juice-imbiber, repeats the same listings of tragic/miraculous events that just happen to occur to a kid living just this side of Hicksville, and then has  the visions no more.  Really?  That's all you can do when the world of speculative fiction flaps its bat-wings so promisingly in front of you.  Sigh.

Splice these chapters between her self-indulgent whining about her friend, her mother, her life - oh please, now you could lose your property because it just happens to be nearing year 21 since Jasmine was allowed to hold onto her commune, and she could, in essence, claim squatter's rights - and I couldn't wait fast enough to make this nightmare of a book end.  This novel gives YA books a bad name.

My other read, The Night Gardener, was the better of the two by far.  It was an enjoyable read for its nod to fairy tales of yore that were Grimm, and not filled with singing animals and glass slippers.
I still found the main characters voices rather uneven in places, as there were feeble attempts to create an Irish accent - dinna you know - that mainly fell flat.  But the magical tree that gives you what your heart desires (better than Potter's Mirror of Erised), was a great metaphor for the novel, and basis of a cautionary moral tale about falling prey to your insecurities.

I think young readers will enjoy Molly's and Kip's experience, and Auxier leaves the door open for a sequel so that the kids who bought into this magical world, will be happy to see where Galileo and the wagon takes them next.

Onward and upward with the Gardener.

Tracy