"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Three short YA reviews

I am attempting to clean up my inbox and finish up all past due book reviews. Here are three short ones:

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Amulet Books, 2016
Audiobooks by Brillaince Audio, Read by Stephanie Willis
From the Publisher:
January 29, 2035. That's the day the comet is scheduled to hit--the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise's drug-addicted mother is going, they'll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter--a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she'll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?
My thoughts: We listened to this audiobook on two different long trips, separated by a week.  That and some of the production decisions of the audiobook really detracted from my enjoyment of this book. Perhaps I would have liked it more had I read the print edition. Other reviewers talk about the exciting, almost thrilling post apocalyptic nature of the Sci-Fi drama. I thought the strength of the book was in the characterization of Denise, an autistic teen. Denise is a deeply complex character who is very self-aware of her autism and how it impacts her life. "It's unsurprising that Duyvis, autistic herself, draws a superbly nuanced portrait of Denise as person (not a collection of pitiable autism tropes or cure narratives), but what makes this a winner is the nerve-wracking adventure" (KirkusReviews). 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Little, Brown, and Company, 2016
Hachette Audio, read by Natalia Payne
From the Publisher:
 Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion. On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person--a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
My thoughts: Another audiobook which I listened to with my husband on a trip to Oregon and back. Initially we both thought it was going to be a mash up of The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place, both Holocaust stories from The Netherlands. Although there is a missing girl who was hiding, The Girl in the Blue Coat is really a mystery, with a lot of history mixed in. Where is the girl and how did she disappear? A long the way we learn more details about resistance work in The Netherlands during WWII, such as how babies and young children were squirreled away right under the noses of the Nazi guards and placed in homes with Dutch families. It always surprises me that new information is still coming out about the Holocaust over seventy years after the war has ended. This book is appropriate for younger teens, 13-16 years old.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian
Simon and Schuster, 2016
From the Publisher:
The Last Boy and Girl in the World is a stunning new novel about a girl who must say goodbye to everything she knows after a storm wreaks havoc on her hometown. What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together? While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together. And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she's loved forever.  It's the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley's first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it's not always clear what's worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.
My thoughts: I bought this book for my library based on the summary from the publisher (above). It sounds so good and interesting. And maybe the book is good for teens but to an adult (me) the characters are too selfish and childish to like or even to cheer on. Everything in their town is being destroyed and everyone has to move and move out quickly, in weeks. The school year isn't quite over so graduation is canceled, the principal leaves town even before the last day of school, and the building is dismantled in days. Yet, kids go out and slip and slide in their swimsuits and make hay while it rains on. I just couldn't square it in my mind...if this were reality things just can't move that fast and kids aren't really that selfish and self-absorbed. Only one student has checked the book out so far and I haven't talked to him to see what he thought of the book. I hope he liked it better than I did.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars.


  1. I appreciated the diversity aspect of Duyvis's debut novel but it lost me several times. I thought of picking up the audio for this one but I'm glad I read your review first. Looks like I'm better off reading it. I was also hesitant about Girl in the Blue Coat because I couldn't figure out what made it stand out from all the other Holocaust reads that are out.

    1. One of the problems with the audiobook of On the Edge of Gone was the voice actor just simply read with too much intensity for too long of a period of time. I watch the VOICE and the coaches always tell their singers to save to intensity for a big finish or to build up to a big punch but don't stay at that intensity throughout the song. On this audiobook production, it was just too intense for too long. It ended up being irritating.

  2. I liked the Girl in the Blue Coat as well. It didn't feel like just another Holocaust rehash, instead it had it's own twist on an important story

  3. Anne, I need a little tech help. I feel like I am lost without my blogroll on the side of my blog. How did you get yours back? We both have .blogspot as addresses but mine disappeared about a month ago. It is hard for me to remember to check all the blogs I like to read and I feel like I am so isolated without that blog roll.


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