I am on a mission. A mission to review everything I read this year. Well... all of the YA and MG that I read. (I'm sorry Sandra Boynton, Moo Baa La La La will not be seen here, even though we just read it 11 times this week.) But I've run into a little snag. And that snag is a sudden pile-up of books that I just don't especially care for. I hate writing negative reviews, but I also don't want to stop my review streak, so these are just going to be minis!
by Matt Phelan
I picked this one up because a) I'm trying to read more graphic novels and b) Matt Phelan was judging the first battle of the BoB and so I just felt like giving one of his books a go. Set in Kansas during the Dust Bowl, a young boy is feeling somewhat useless in the midst of his family's troubles. But then he discovers the storm in the barn, and a storm is just what his dust-filled world needs. I know that this is a graphic novel, so it's told in large part through pictures. But... I needed more words. It felt overly simplistic to me. And the personified storm was so creepy looking - that fantasy element felt out of place in the very realistic world of the Dust Bowl.
by Augusta Scattergood
I had heard good things about Glory Be, and planned to feature it in an upcoming MG guest post. But as I read this story about a little girl whose summer is turned upside-down over an influx of white "Freedom Workers" and the town council's efforts to fight integration, I was struck by the total lack of African American characters (with the one exception of Glory's maid). Glory was a tough little cookie, but her story would have had so much more oomph if she actually knew and interacted with some of the people who she was trying to stand up for. And maybe that's just what was realistic for a girl like Glory at that time, but it seemed like African Americans should have a voice in a story about racism and segregation. Emma (Glory's maid) was a good character, but we still very rarely got to hear her inner voice. It bugged me. The story felt incomplete.
by Hope Anita Smith
I'm on a NIV kick right now, and had heard fantastic things about this one. It is the story of a boy whose father loses his job and walks out on his family. Even though I knew that was coming, it was pretty shocking because the father seemed so close to his wife, children, and mother who lives with them. At one point the grandmother said (and I'm paraphrasing here because I forgot to write the exact quote) "He's been leaving for a long time/now he's just gone." But I totally disagree - his disappearance seemed to come completely out of nowhere. After that, the rest of the book just didn't sit well with me. Although... I know many students who have been in the main character's position and I have a feeling that they would latch onto his story.
So now tell me, book lovers. What am I missing? I know many, many readers have had extremely positive experiences with all of the above! And what do you do when you read a book you don't especially care for? Review it anyway, or just let it go?