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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Art of Secrets vs. The Living

Without a doubt, The Living is by far the better read.  

We enjoyed The Art of Secrets and its presentation of different perspectives, with different voices telling the same story, and of course, the final twist.  While the characters were more interesting than the mystery itself, there was a lot of meat to the story.  It was nice to have a story centered around a Muslim family; and, of course, issues of racism arose.  While the vocabulary and general structure is accessible for the average junior high student, the themes of friendship, family, race, poverty, romantic relationships, charity, and deception give a lot of depth and create potential for sophisticated class discussion.

Shelley and I chose The Living as the clear winner because it moved into a fast paced story that started out as an interesting mystery but evolved into a survival tale.  There were many high tension moments sprinkled throughout the novel which would keep reluctant readers engaged.  The ending came to a satisfactory end, but was still open enough to allow for a sequel (which we also enjoyed.) The one drawback to this novel was a rather predictable romance, but it wasn't enough to take the shine off of this exciting read.

Submitted by Shelley Kunicki and Amanda Barrett

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