Sunday, May 2, 2010

two book reviews

the worst thing she ever did, by alice kuipers

sophie is having a lot of trouble (although, if you ask her, she is fine) dealing with the thing that happened the summer previously. but the therapist she has been forced to visit has asked her to keep a diary. we, as readers, get to know that sophie's mother is also having trouble coping, sophie's friends are either walking on eggshells around her (which she hates) or kissing the boys that sophie wants to go out with. the question is: what has happened to emily?
it really did feel like a teenager's diary, kuipers has got sophie's voice down so well. but when it is supposed to be a diary and there are perfectly recalled conversations and dialogue it can't help ringing a bit false. this is not a criticism of this book, but is what i find a bit jarring in this type of book in general.i love that the emily question isn't resolved until quite late in the book, kuipers very successfully gave us snippits, clues and ideas, but managed to keep the mystery and suspense. that said, i think there was a bit too much middle and not enough end in this book. similarly, sophie's moods dragged on a bit too long, i found myself getting angry with her, the way she treated her friends and her mother (but perhaps this was the author's intention). and upon finishing the book i thought that, yes, sometimes teenagers ARE this cruel and perhaps sophie's interactions with her mum are so true to life that they made me uncomfortable.
while some of the writing is a little blowsy or flowery, there are some very, very lovely words in here. and a terrific "support cast" with special mention to new girl rosa-leigh.
what now, tilda b? by kathryn lomer

there were so many things i loved about this one. the seals, the friendships, the bees, i loved tilda's grandparents. i think kathryn lomer writes very well and has tackled a lot of issues here.
tilda's life is pretty insane already - she has to decide what to do with her future, how she feels about her surf-mad boyfriend, her hair-crazy best friend, her parents who are hanging together by a thread...and now she's stumbled upon a pregnant elephant seal on the beach. the seal hasn't exactly picked the best place to give birth - this little coastal town are notoriously backwards when it comes to preserving our endangered flora and fauna. they are loggers, mostly.
i found it bizarre that going on to do years 11 and 12 were not a natural progression for tilda. however, i think this is a reflection of me, not anything lacking in the story. really interesting, having to move away from home if you want to continue with school.
i wish this book had been much longer. i wanted to hear so much more about all the other characters and their situations. leaving the book this way could open up opportunities for the author to write a whole bunch of books - one about bella, one about eddie, one about shell. for though i really like the idea that tilda's life is chaotic and full and interesting, as a book i found it a bit frustrating and even a little disappointing that the characters weren't allowed to be fleshed out fully. because they are interesting and i know that lomer knows them. i want to, too.

5 comments:

  1. The Worst Thing She Ever Did sounds great. I haven't heard of it before. Thanks for your review!

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  2. i think you'd like it. she also wrote a book called "life on the refrigerator door" which you'd probably like too - sob fest, though!

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  3. I read Life on the Refrigerator door and thought it a little bizarre, but at the same time, I loved the idea, and it made me want to take another look at Kuipers' work. I hadn't heard of the book before, like Robby, but now I'll probably pick it up. Thanks for the great review!

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  4. Thanks for these - I've added them both to my wishlist. I didn't read Life on the Refrigerator Door because the format didn't really appeal to me, but I think this one sounds really beguiling.

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  5. yes, i defo enjoyed this one more. not saying its perfect, but certainly emotive.

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