05 September 2016

Klickitat; Peter Rock

KlickitatKlickitat by Peter Rock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is Vivian an unreliable narrator? What happened to Audra? What's wrong with home and Vivian's parents? Is ham radio really still a thing? So many questions still remain at the end of this book that more than three stars felt wrong.

On the one hand, you have Vivian, who has some anxiety (possibly ASD) issues requiring heavy medication. On the other, you have free spirit Audra. They both run away - somewhat implausibly - and then, something happens. Or did it happen before, and the running away didn't happen quite the way it's described? So many of my students dislike the ambiguity at the end of The Giver, which makes me wonder how they'll feel about this.

Sheldon and Mrs. Levine; Sam Bobrick

Sheldon and Mrs. Levine,  An Excruciating CorrespondenceSheldon and Mrs. Levine, An Excruciating Correspondence by Sam Bobrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good parody but relies too much on the easy/lazy stereotype to earn five stars.

Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down; Anne Valente

Our Hearts Will Burn Us DownOur Hearts Will Burn Us Down by Anne Valente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Too many POVs, but the hint of paranormal/mystery raised this from a two to a three star. The school shooting part is done enough off-stage (this is more Hate List than This is where it Ends) to be almost unimportant but the way the parents deal with their children felt forced.

ARC provided by publisher.

03 September 2016

Julia Vanishes; Catherine Egan

Julia VanishesJulia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world Julia (or is she Julia?) inhabits has the potential to be very interesting; it is now, but my question is whether the author sustains what she's built! The plot is well-paced, failing (yay!) to fall into the trap of "I have to end this quickly" or "let me leave a huge cliff-hanger/plot hole for the next book". As for Julia herself, she seems to be pretty empowered and perhaps just a little older than the target audience may be comfortable with - if you've read it, you know the scene I mean.

ARC provided by publisher.

Howard Wallace, P.I.; Casey Lyall

Howard Wallace, P.I.Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute, and reminded me of Grisham's Theodore Boone series.

ARC provided by publisher.

Class Election; Neil Swaab

The Secrets to Ruling School: Book Two: Class ElectionThe Secrets to Ruling School: Book Two: Class Election by Neil Swaab
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not sure I'd be happy if any of the students I work with take any of this advice, but I can see the Wimpy Kid appeal.

ARC provided by publisher.

The King Slayer; Virginia Boecker

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter, #2)The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Relied too much on the previous book while at the same time feeling like there was nothing new added to the genre. DNF.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Boy with 17 Senses; Sheila Grau

The Boy with 17 SensesThe Boy with 17 Senses by Sheila Grau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute overall, with a hint of otherworldliness: the world Jaq inhabits has synthesia, but that's the norm. So of course Earth will feel weird to him. What will make Jaz feel familiar to readers is his being such a sad sack - bullied, at risk of losing his home and his friend (a whippet) - and his attempts to overcome all that. Even those who don't like fractured fairy tales will enjoy this; for me, it's what lifted the book from a two to three star.

ARC provided by publisher.

31 August 2016

The Thousandth Floor; Katharine McGee

The Thousandth FloorThe Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lots of diversity for those who want it: POC, economic differences, educational differences all get their own voice. The problem is that it reads like several short stories (no pun intended) shoehorned into a novel, or a tv series like "Gossip Girl" and "Good Times" meet "Love Boat". Too many narrators, too much going on. Really only 2.5 stars.

ARC provided by publisher.

His Right Hand; Mette Ivie Harrison

His Right Hand (Linda Wallheim Mystery, #2)His Right Hand by Mette Ivie Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second outing for Linda Wallheim is just as good her first. Less mystery and more human nature, with a lot of Mormonism thrown in, this is perfect for those not in love with hard boiled or cozies and who are looking for an interesting amateur detective. The mystery itself resolves relatively slowly, but what sets this apart is how it ties in to the Mormonism - no preaching, no proselytizing, just demystifying about the beliefs and daily life by showing this world as "normal" (which, of course, it is, "Big Love" and "Sister Wives" aside).