Sunday, July 02, 2006

So Many Read, So Little Said

It's been a busy week and though I have read, I've not had a chance to say much. I am pressed for time, now, too, but want to at least say a few words about this week's books....

I had trouble with Alex Bradley's 24 Girls in 7 Days. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but I just didn't click with this tale of looking for love in all the wrong places. So, too, was my experience with Finding Lubchenko. I was disappointed with this, because I had really liked Michael Simmon's book Pool Boy but I did not like this kid, or his father, or his friends. In much the same way that I dislike watching Ferris Bueller, I was sorry to have wasted two hours traipsing around Paris with three spoiled brats. I waded into Carl Deuker's Runner and stuck it out to the bitter end, but again, came away disappointed in the story of a boy so easily drawn into crime. Things looked up with Joseph Bruchac's Code Talker, in which I learned a great deal about the Navajo, the work of the Code Talkers, and more than I wanted to know about the horrors of war. Carol Gorman's Stumptown Kid was an Iowa-based look at baseball and prejudice that was well-paced, but not always believable. I'd wanted to read Shelley Pearsall's Crooked River because I had really enjoyed Trouble Don't Last and I was pleased with the slice of frontier life that illuminated the notions of prejudice and justice while using verse in a wonderfully effective way. Tracey Barrett's Cold in Summer turned out to be a fine ghost story on the order of Elaine Marie Alphin's Ghost Soldier. And Eve Bunting's The Presence could happily haunt the space on the shelf right next door. Margaret Peterson Haddix put her spin on the effects of cloning on a family in Double Identity but I felt I had read a similar story before in Katherine Lasky's Star Split. Mike Lupica managed to get me involved in the intricate relationships and athletic machinations of Travel Team , but I was less taken with the round-robin style in Nora Baskin's Basketball (or something like it). Jeanne Du Prau provided a dark look at the roots and results of war in her sequel People of Sparks. Marlene Carvell creates a heart and soul-wrenching tale of two Mohawk sisters with the free verse in Sweetgrass Basket. Anna Myers hooked me completely with her frightening tale of a girl smitten with John Wilkes Booth in Assassin. I had two visits with "differently able" teenagers in Eoin Colfer's Supernaturalist and in James Patterson's Maximum Ride:The Angel Experiment. I found Patterson's book an okay quick read - but felt Colfer's was much more intricately plotted and well-written. And as a rare treat I read a "grown-up book" today - Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle. I have enjoyed some of her other books, and used My Sister's Keeper with my teen book club, but this one did not have the same impact for me. The graphic novel elements were interesting (though I did not like the "secret phrase" hunt malarky) but I felt the plot was too muddy, too open-ended, too all-encompassing.

And there you have it, another week's pages turned.


gail said...

I'm a third of the way through Finding Lubchenko and not caring for it at all, either. They're going to Paris, huh? Well, that's something for me to look forward to at least.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

WOW! I'm amazed at how much you manage to get done. Thanks for the post. - Donna