Let's start with The Beauty of the Broken which shares a cover with last year's Smackdown fave We Were Liars. The beauty comes in some of the language Waters' uses and the idea of the story this book could have been. Unfortunately the broken part is that this book is a checklist of teen problems for would-be YA writers, each of which, on their own could have made a satisfying novel. Together I find them a soupy mess that quickly had me wanting to throw up my hands and book and reach for something else. Fundamentalist religion - check. LGBTQ - check. Rape - check. First Nations - check. Drunk mother - check. Abusive father - check. Mental breakdown - check.
The next book was Crazy by Phillips. A novel in verse is another gateway reading opportunity I like to offer to my students and it certainly is a fast read. Unfortunately, I didn't find much of it poetic - the line breaks just seemed to be anywhere and the words not really carefully chosen. Based in the 60s we follow the breakdown of a mother who most certainly is bipolar in a time when not much was understood about this disorder. I found this an interesting premise but many threads are just left dangling - the mother's rape, the boyfriend's reputation, the relationship with the father, the future of her painting.
So between dangling threads or every YA trope...I'm going threads and voting for Crazy.
I agree with Dia, which is a rare occurrence at the best of times.
I was actually disappointed with The Beauty of the Broken as so much tragedy was happening in such a way that I could not think of a single student that I currently or have taught in the past that I would give this book to and say "You have to read this!" I would have much preferred a more focused story on a single issue.
As for Crazy - I waited for the story to develop deeper and capture me. Unfortunately it didn't.
Overall, I have to vote for Crazy to move forward but not with enthusiasm or excitement.
Agree with all above. First, let me say I LOVE sad books, so I was actually excited about Beauty of the Broken. Sad? Yes. Over the top? Absolutely. But the most disappointing thing about the book for me was that there is not a single student in my class that I could share this book with. As a matter of fact, I could say that about all of the books I have read in Smackdown so far; this is a major disappointment. (sigh) 4 books read - no shares.
Crazy will be my choice for this round, but I vote for it reluctantly. I enjoyed it. I am a child of the 60s after all, but could I share it with any of my students? Nope. I just don't see them relating to it... at all.
So, a vote for Crazy, and not the last post!! :)
I'm going Crazy as well. Interpret that as you will. I have a semi completed blog that I'll post at some point in teh next two days.