MINI-REVIEWS: Shades of Simon Gray, The Wander Year, Flawless

026. Shades of Simon Gray by Joyce McDonald
Publication: Laurel Leaf (May 13, 2003), Paperback, 272pp / ISBN 0440228042
Genre: YA Fiction (magical realism?)

Read: February 4-5, 2012
Source: Bought (UBS)

Mini-Review

I tend to buy books based on whether I like the cover or not, which sometimes bites me in the butt. I bought Shades of Simon Gray because I liked the cover, and my butt was only a little bit bitten. Shades of Simon Gray reminds me of a Lois Duncan novel, only with a little less thriller and a little more “growing up and finding out what sort of person you are.” With some magical realism/time travel/ghost things thrown in. I liked that the characters all had different reactions to the events in the book– some of them decided to do the right thing, to take responsibility for the bad thing(s) they’ve done (without actually telling anyone they were the ones who did the bad thing(s)) and to try to make up for it, while others thought they hadn’t done anything wrong at all. It was a nice spectrum of realistic reactions and personalities and whatever, and I liked it. The added touch of spooky atmosphere, weird biblical plagues, and ghosts just made reading it even more fun.

A book with similar themes (minus the magical realism) would be Nothing But the Truth by Avi, if that helps any.

Rating


I liked it!

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027. The Wander Year: One Couple’s Journey Around the World by Mike McIntyre
Publication: Kite Press (July 8, 2011), ebook, 183pp / ISBN none?
Genre: Travel Memoir

Read: February 7-8, 2012
Source: Freebie (Amazon)

Mini-Review

So basically this is a collection of columns Mike McIntyre wrote for a newspaper back in the early 2000s. That means it reads really quickly and you miss out on a few things that more modern/fully fleshed-out travel memoirs include. Still, the brevity was nice and because each column focused on a specific topic I think I got more out of it than if I’d read really long chapters about each thing instead.

Rating

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I liked it!

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028. Flawless by Lara Chapman
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 10, 2011), ebook, 272pp / ISBN 1599906317
Genre: YA Romance

Read: February 8, 2012
Source: Bought

Mini-Review

I bought this hoping it’d be clever and fun and unlike other YA romances I’d read before. Well. It’s not. Not really, anyway. It’s a re-imagining of Cyrano de Bergerac, and in that area it’s actually done pretty well. In the YA fiction area, it’s kind of a dud. I can’t pick out exactly what annoys me about it, only that the writing felt forced sometimes, and that other times I felt like I was being hit over the head with obvious stuff, stuff I’d picked up on already the first dozen times I was told it. Sarah’s big revelation at the end also felt forced, especially since it was basically Sarah’s mom/best friend telling her instead of Sarah realizing it herself.

Also, Kristen really irritated me. She emotionally manipulated Sarah into lying for her multiple times and she never got called out on it! And it wasn’t a “cute” manipulation, either, if there even is such a thing. Ugh.

I suppose it’s not the worst book ever, but I wish I’d gotten it from the library or something instead of buying it, tbh.

Rating


It was okay.

Buy

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