Jenny's Library

Reading Round-up 2013: week 41

Posted on: January 4, 2014

cover image for A Really Awesome MessA Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

When Emmy and Justin each arrive at Heartland Academy, their plan is to convince their new jailers to tell their parents that they are well and ready to go home – hopefully by the time school starts again in the fall.  It should be a piece of cake – it’s not as if either of them belong there…right?

I loved the first few chapters, when it seemed like this was going to be a darker book than it turned out to be.  I don’t have anything against the combination of humor and stories of mental illness, but  I wasn’t too thrilled with the whole idea that sending your kids away to a locked facility in the middle of nowhere is a great way to help them.  Perhaps there are helpful and decent Heartland Academies out there? The premise just reminded me too much of the evil places kids get sent to because they are gay, etc. and I had a hard time being objective about the book because of that.

cover image for Emilie and the Hollow WorldEmilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

When Emile stows away on a steamship, her plan is to escape from her suspicious and uncaring Aunt and Uncle and join her cousin at school.  But the Sovereign is no ordinary ship, and neither is it’s destination.  It’s on a rescue mission, headed for the mythical Hollow World in the center if the earth.  And now Emilie has no choice but to tag along.

Emilie and the Hollow World was fun and full of wonderful characters and grand adventures.  Unfortunately, it also felt like a middle grade book rather than a young adult novel – Emilie may be sixteen, but she acts more like a twelve year old would expect a teenager to act.  Which would have been fine! Except that it didn’t seem like the author or publisher meant for it to be, so parts of it seemed a out of place and unexpectedly juvenile.  Still, very much recommended.

cover image for Princess BenPrincess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

An orphaned princess. A plotting guardian.  A kingdom threatened.  And a magical secret.  What’s not to love?

Sadly, plenty.  Paralyzed by grief is one thing, self-absorbed is another, and Benevolence demonstrates more of the latter than the former.  I could also do without the slut-shaming – especially slut shaming that doesn’t even try to hide behind women’s choices but goes straight for pointing out that some of us have large breasts.  Possibly I could have overlooked such flaws if the rest of the book had been enjoyable, but it wasn’t.

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