Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
Ghost
The Bunker Diary
Echo
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
One
Updraft
All American Boys
»

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Weight of Feathers too Light for Trouble!


It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end three fourths of us voted for Trouble! There’s a possibility that two of us will be trying to bring Feathers back as a zombie pick.
 
 Romeo and Juliet as circus performers! A bit bizarre but hey… My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding came to mind.

The Weight of Feathers is filled with magical realism, yet not so different from our world. In this novel by Anna-Marie McLemore two feuding families have genetic anomalies - feathers on one and scales on the other.
Alisha really did not like it, could not get into it and gave up after six chapters. The rest of the team persevered and discovered that it’s about a world we’re not used to and a culture we’re not used to -that of the Romani. We quickly learned that cultural norms in a small group can really screw people up.
The reference to environmental themes was definitely a plus in this book though.

Unfortunately the author didn’t build the background enough to fully convince us of the depth of the characters’ belief in the curse, their hatred for each other or their conviction about the superstitions. As a team we feel that kids won’t connect with the beginning and so they may never have the chance to appreciate the great twist ending. And one small deterrent for some kids maybe that some bits written in French and Spanish are not always translated. A possible frustration for some readers? Perhaps.

Teenagers would like Trouble is a Friend of Mine!
It is a fast read with the action moving quickly along.

With twists and turns along the way an amateur investigation into a missing girl exposes bullying, on-line pornography, drug smuggling, a cult, blackmail and bribery. The author does handle some of these more sensitive issues with a gentle approach; introducing readers to some of society’s harsher realities without overwhelming them. Though it’s a bit of a fluffy read there’s some great social commentary. We’re betting that kids will recognize themselves and others, and the cliques in their school.
A couple of us found that the story did drag a bit in the middle, but then picked up again. And then it suddenly came to an end. Some of the mysteries are solved, but we’re left hanging. Of course, there’s a sequel. Thank goodness because there are a few loose threads which we hope will be picked up in the sequel (sequels?). Perhaps these unanswered questions will encourage students to keep reading with the second book.

Our final vote after wavering a bit is for Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly.

Team Ottewell:Deb, Dianne, Renee and Alisha

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