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
»

Monday, January 9, 2017

Echo vs Trouble

Echo vs Trouble is a Friend of Mine

  vs  

Vanessa and Debbie:  Ok, I’ll start things off....Trouble is a little Veronica Mars mixed in with your favourite misfit movie.  And who doesn’t enjoy the weirdos?  Like the last reviewers stated, it was tad slow in the middle but I was sufficiently interested to keep reading.  And the end was great so I am glad I finished it!  Echo was just different.  A tale told over time, woven together through music and beautifully told.  Want a treat? Download the audio version so you can also hear the music as the story unfolds.  They were both really good books, ones I would recommend but Echo has more depth and felt completely immersed in the stories.  For me, it’s Echo.. What? Echooo, Echooo, Echoooo…

Shelley Kunicki: Totally agree. “Trouble…” seems so familiar as if  I have read it before. I think my grade 8 and 9 students would enjoy the quirky characters and the action though.. My favourite though is Echo. Beautifully written, and the stories connect together so well.  I really enjoyed it and would love to use it in class.

Brad:  Definitely Echo.  No contest, really.

Chandra: Agreed, no contest!  I loved Echo. I loved the characters and the sensitive ways they interpreted and acted within each of the different time periods depicted.  I loved the way the author portrayed the beauty and potential of music and creative expression - even from a humble harmonica.  I appreciated that the historical aspects never didactically overwhelmed the characters or plot.  I’m getting happy and hopeful feels just thinking about it again.

The trouble with Trouble, on the other hand, was that the author tried to cram in too many young adult tropes, I think. There’s the divorced parents, the horrible stepmom, the new school, the mean girls, the complicated boy feelings (do I smell a love triangle in the works?!), the prom, the missing kids, the drug ring, the absent parents, the friend who’s been hiding his dire living situation from everyone… ETC.  I enjoyed the story at times, and Digby was a fun character (if entirely unbelievable), but Trouble… doesn’t stand out from the YA crowd.  I was also definitely more than a little annoyed about the cliched portrayal of “downtown.”  Sketchy motels, sketchy business dealings, sketchy characters around every corner… please. Not one, but two of the girls have to fight off attempted kidnappings/molestations in the span of a few minutes? And the group of emo girls? Is anyone even “emo” anymore?  Anyway, I didn’t appreciate the pathologization (is that a word?) of the “inner city.”

Amanda:  I echo everyone else!   Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo is the clear winner as I will likely never ever read anything by Stephanie Tromly again. (Ugh!) Trouble is a Friend of Mine was so annoyingly familiar that I am still not sure if I had already tried (and failed) to read this formulaic and boring book. While there were a few sections that I found entertaining, the pain of getting to (even remotely) interesting sections wasn’t worth my time.

Echo, on the other hand, wove together fantasy and the heart-wrenching but hopeful stories of three young people directly affected by very adult realities. I loved the tender and tough and vulnerable protagonists and was charmed by the coming together of their stories. I really enjoyed Echo - even though it was a sad and even painful read at times - because the story moved along briskly, the details were rich, and I genuinely enjoyed spending time with Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy.

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