May 1, 2016
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
So, how did Double Down fair? I liked it, but thought that Fallout was better mostly due to Double Down’s pacing issues. The book started off well, but the middle lagged a bit for me before picking up again at the end when things started to come together. The book reads more for the younger YA crowd, which would probably help explain it. I did like the focus on weird science and corrupt politics, but also topics like familial relationships, privilege, crushes, and whether what we do is enough to make a difference.
In the first chapter, Lois asks if art can have enough impact to change a neighbour’s opinion, which seemed to be the theme of the book overall. Can our actions make a larger difference? It’s nice to see Lois’ stubbornness and determination be highlighted by such a huge story like city corruption. It was nice to see the icon of excellence in journalism express her fears and the overwhelming feeling when it comes to such a big story. I loved that Bond also explored Lois’ insecurities where being a good friend is concerned. Even if you’re not someone who moved around a lot and never had time to build up a friendship, you still have moments of doubt. Friendship is a place of trial and error, but the core of it is loving and respect your friend.
Anyways, I liked it. More SmallvilleGuy!
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Eleanor is Cinderella, although this is after the ball and the fairy godmother. This story follows what happens to the girl in the slipper after she is married to a man she doesn’t know very well and is co-ruling a kingdom. Spoiler alert—it is not happily ever after. In fact, adultery, alcohol abuse, and miscarriage are all addressed, and the focus on Eleanor’s feelings and personal growth throughout keeps the story grounded. There are magical talking animals—including unicorns—and wizards and witches, but Eleanor’s travails feel very real as she tries to make changes in the kingdom’s traditions while also holding off her evil stepmother.
This isn’t quite Gregory Maguire territory, although it hits a similar note with a more-adult, emotion-focused version of a well-known fairy tale. However, The Cracked Slipper takes the parts we all know and love and puts them in a very different world, one where the author’s voice rings out. Even the unicorns are different, equal parts alien and equine, and Eleanor’s pet parrot is a riot. There are more serious elements, such as a false accusation of treason and a love that cannot be, but overall The Cracked Slipper was a very enjoyable read and satisfied even this fairy tale geek.
Roaring Brook Press
April 19, 2016
Montgomery—Monty to her friends—is the head of her school’s Mystery Club. While it may sound like they discuss mystery novels, Monty and her friends, Thomas and Naoki, really investigate the mysterious, paranormal, and unexplained. They wonder about telekinesis and mind reading, but when Monty stumbles upon an internet site selling “The Eye of Know” she knows she must shell out the $5.99 for it. The crystal is black, not white as described, and instead of granting her special knowledge, rather seems to make bad things happen to her enemies. First, it’s the obnoxious hateful girl making fun of Monty and her two moms, who falls off the bleachers. Then it’s the class bully whose heart seems to stop at Monty’s command. With such power, what should Monty do to the new family in town, the Reverend White and his son who are so against “unnatural” families like Monty’s?
This book made me want to reach out and hug Monty and all of her friends. Monty struggles with her sports-obsessed sisters and the ignorance and hate aimed at her family because of her lesbian moms. Tamaki writes the teens believably and with such compassion that it really makes the characters real and relatable. It’s tempting to call this a lesson book—about not judging people whose stories you don’t know, the way the town judges Monty, and the way Monty judges Reverend White’s son—but it’s more than a simple moral equation. Is wishing harm on someone, because they are wrong or just, hard to stop? What do you do with a person whose family hates your own, even if that person maybe doesn’t agree? Can hate be reconciled with a desire for compassion? The book doesn’t have all the answers, but it’s a great meditation on the questions. For LGBTQ teens I get to recommend books to—and ALL readers because I would recommend this book to ALL—it’s also wonderful to have an “LGBTQ book” that isn’t all about coming out and rejection or some other tragedy. I loved this book and I suspect, even without an Eye of Know, that others will too.