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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

War vs. Porcupine

Image result for the blitz children evacuation

I'm a bit torn on this one! I really enjoyed The War that Saved My Life.  This was augmented by the fact that I read it, coincidentally, right between two very good "grown up" books about The Blitz - Life After Life and Everyone Brave is Forgiven.  I felt strongly for Ada, and the author did a great job of revealing her inner turmoil and fears. I did, however, sometimes find her tenacity and cleverness a bit a bit unbelievable. ("I have no concept of grass or trees! But I also just taught myself how to ride a horse in no time at all!")  I also really loved the subtle references to Susan's back story, and wanted to know more about her.  I agree with other reviewers, however, that the mother was just a bit *too* evil and irredeemable, and the ending was a bit too tidy. (But I was happy! And that's good, too!)

There were many things I liked about The Porcupine of Truth, as well. I appreciated how the author dealt with the realities faced by too many LGBTQ+ youth today, and connected the characters to the historical oppression and struggles of that community.  I also appreciated how Konisberg addressed white privilege (and how it's often "invisible" to white people) through Carson's realizations as he travels with Aisha. But... there is a LOT going on, and maybe this is my bias as an adult reader, but I get a bit perturbed at YA where the teens are infinitely more self-aware and wise than most of the adults in their lives.  Plus, there's a bit too much of the John Green-esque implausible teen banter.

So, as I'm a bit on the fence as always, I will happily defer to the crowd and vote for The War That Saved My Life. No smacking this time, sorry!  My zombie pick goes to Wolf by Wolf. 

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