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
»

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Image result for more happy than notImage result for the war that saved my life
The War That Saved My Life wins over  More Happy Than Not
                             Reviewed by Team 3

Dianne:
This round was kind of difficult.  I thought 'More Happy than Not' was going to be the winner but 'The War That Saved My Life' was equally good; although a lot simpler in concept.

There was a lot more going on in Happy  than was obvious at first and was really twisty at the end.  So much so that I had to go back and reread.  Although the ending is sort of positive, it does reinforce that old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for'.  Imagine not being able to form any new memories.

The War...moved along quite quickly and I really wanted to smack that true mom.  It was a pretty positive read once the kids got moved into the country.  It touches on depression and a lot on abuse.  The ending was a little too tidy in my opinion but you wonder what they will do next and will there be another book?

I think I will stick with More Happy than Not because of the twistiness.  

Deb:
I enjoyed both books and found them to be very quick reads. The War that Saved My Life was not as captivating for me though. I preferred More Happy than Not because of its unusual plot. I was very surprised at the end. Although More Happy than Not had more swearing than I would like for a book that I would offer to my junior high students, I felt that the ‘strong’ language even had a place in helping us make a connection.

Haley:
I enjoyed both of these very different novels, and they were hard to compare. I don't usually enjoy historical fiction like The War, and I really liked the 'unravelling' moment in More Happy. But, in the end, I enjoyed getting to know Ada more than Aaron. I liked Ada's voice and how her struggle to come to terms with her abusive childhood was dealt with realistically - she didn't magically accept her new happy life. My vote is for The War

Nancy:
I so agree with Haley. Both books were great but my engagement stayed with The War.  I thought perhaps it might have been somewhat influenced by the fact that War was more suitable to grade 6 (my class) but all in all it was more captivating!


Alisha:
More Happy than Not, was a very emotional read for me. Having recently dealt with some of the issues in the book like suicide and depression, I had a hard time getting though some of the parts without crying. 

I agree with Dianne, that this book was very twisty and I found myself having to go back and re-read some parts to try and make sense of it. It reminded me very much of the movie, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. 

I thought it was a very diverse book, bringing attention to hard and uncomfortable issues. However, I think it might be a little hard for junior high students to fully understand and grasp some of the ideas/themes being written about. 

For that reason, my pick would have to go to the "War that Saved my Life". I really enjoyed this book.

It was a feel good story that really pulled me in. I was impressed by the depth of emotions I felt for each character in this book. I felt as if I was on the side lines rooting for Ada and Jamie and getting so angry and wanting to call CPS on that pitiful excuse for a mother! I think the relationship between Becky and Susan could have been explained a bit better. 

I believe that this book would be better suited for the junior high age bracket so therefore my choice will be "The War that Saved my Life." 

Renee:
Also voting War. I found it very compelling and readable. I enjoyed Happy but I found it hard to get into.



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