February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review Romance, Sports Fiction, and the Latest from Martine Leavitt

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Gibney_See No Color_The Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA Book Group reviews a diverse sports fiction title, a Wattpad sensation, Martine Leavitt’s Calvin, and more.

GIBNEY, Shannon. See No Color. Carolrholda. Nov. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781467776820.
Gr 9 Up–
The cover of the book looks boring. There is hardly any color on the book cover and it makes the book look sad and built with a lot of emotion. I think the cover of the book will make the readers not be interested. As they read the book they will end up liking it because the book seems like it could be based on a true story. I was disappointed with the book because there was no action. The best part was the fact that this African American girl, who is really good at baseball and she was adopted as a newborn baby to a white family, tries to figure out who her real family and parents are as she gets older.—Taj C., 17

Kolosov_ParisKOLOSOV, Jacqueline. Paris, Modigliani & Me. Luminis. Nov. 2015. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781941311912.
Gr 7 Up–
After Julie is denied from her dream school, she decides to go to Paris to live with her mom’s friend. During her summer in Paris, Julie tries to find hope as an artist, find her unknown dad, as well as make a new path of life to follow. I loved the cover. The girl was kind of like Julie and Genevieve at the same time. The outfit reflected the fashion side of Genevieve and the girl was like Julie being free. The most compelling aspect of the book was the characters because there were so many layers to each one from Luc to Paul Henri. I was sort of disappointed on how the author portrayed Julie’s mom and Luc. I feel that Luc wasn’t very necessary and Julie’s mom was very disappointing.—Emma B., 14

Leavitt_CalvinLEAVITT, Martine. Calvin. Farrar. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374380731.
Gr 8 Up–I think some teens would be interested in this book because it helps more people understand what people with disabilities go through. I did not like the cover too much because I did not think it really explained the book and it was not too interesting. I loved that the book involved his stuffed tiger and it brought back so many memories to him. But also it was so sad that he had past memories of his old toy and best friend. I thought the book lacked a lot of reasoning; it was more in his head and weird conversations like Hobbes telling him what to do.—Omar H., 17

LEW, Craig. Breath to Breath. Relish Media. Nov. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781939775085.
Gr 10 Up–William Stout is moving in to his dad’s place after his grandfather (with whom he had been staying with) dies and his grandmother can’t take care of him alone. Well, that and William was Lew_Breath to Breath_almost put into juvie because he stood up for a 14-year-old friend who was getting raped. So William goes to live with his dad, but harsh memories of his childhood come flooding back to him in horrifying flashbacks and heart-aching sorrow. You will be extremely horrified, crushed, and pissed by the end of this book. Honestly, I was so shaken up that I had to read some of American Sniper to calm me down. Who does that?
After reading the book, I think that the cover is a discreet way to show how William is learning something about himself he was wishing to forget. I liked the cover before I read the book, because it was simple and the fact that he was looking through the peep hole in the wood seems so typical. I could have never imagined what was happening on the other side of the fence, though. I wanted justice. Through the whole book, readers know something is going to happen involving sexual and emotional abuse and I just wanted the evil-doers to receive their justice in the end.

This book was depressing all right, but at some parts I got really scared. Like when all of William’s memories come back from being sexually abused, I felt discomfort, fear, compassion, and I wanted to help William in some way.—Sam G., 14

Maskame_Did I mention_MASKAME, Estelle. Did I Mention I Love You? Sourcebooks. Dec. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492632153.
Gr 8 Up—The cover was good where it had the California sunset and the palm trees, but I feel like how the characters were posed together made it look like they were in a super classic romance tale. There aren’t a lot of stories about step-siblings falling in love, and I thought it was a compelling story line. In the book their relationship is very doomed and they really can’t be together legally. The ending was SO unexpected!! It is different than most romance stories. It keeps you on your toes and makes you want to keep reading. I had a hard time putting it down during 15 minute silent reading at school.—Jane E., 13

NELSON, Suzanne. Serendipity’s Footsteps. Knopf. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385392129.
Nelson_SerendipityGr 10 Up–All the characters in this book have an unrealistic love for shoes. The book shows how these shoes connect the characters across different times. I was very disappointed with this book. For one thing, weaving shoes into the story of each character is a huge stretch. Very few people in the world feel that strongly about their shoes. The story is written as if it is meant to show that shoes bridge different centuries and different people together. This is a very weak metaphor that does not seem worthy of a whole book. It is also hugely insulting to have shoes more important in the story than Nazi concentration camps.

The chapters in this book go back in forth between the points of view of many different characters. There were way too many different characters. This made the book seem like its structure was not thought through well. You still get the impression that one pair of shoes connects a lot of people without having so many characters get their own chapter. There is also a very abusive sexual scene. I found it both offensive and unnecessary to the story.

The most compelling aspect of this book was learning about Nazi concentration camps from the perspective of a family with young children.    I liked the background of the book cover, which shows a type of a silhouette of a tree. The shoes on the cover do reflect the contents of the book, but the shoes should be changed. The shoes in this book are described in more detail than the Nazi concentration camps, but the shoes on the cover are not the ones described in the book.—Olivia C., 14

Ramey_Sister PactRAMEY, Stacie. The Sister Pact.Sourcebooks. Nov. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492620976.
Gr 9 Up–
I loved the cover. I think I choose books by their cover at first then I read the back and decide if I like it or not. The cover doesn’t really match the book in my opinion. The book is about sisters and love but one of them is dead. The cover symbolizes love and life not love and death.

I loved the plot. It was intriguing and the whole time I just wanted to find out what their pact was. I loved the concept of the book as well. I found that this was a great book if you wanted to jump through many emotions at one time.

Once I found out what the pact was, I was a bit disappointed. I wanted it to be something more light and fluffy—how I felt the book was so far. I mean the book was dark and it pulled me in, but it was sad and happy all at the same time. The pact was dark and a little scary. I wish it had revealed the pact earlier in the book because it really described their relationship. I also wish the author had described what each of the girls looked like. I am a very visual person and I love to put myself in the character’s shoes and think like them. I can’t seem to do that if I don’t have a visual.

Since the cover had two girls on the cover, I really wanted to know which one was which. I imagined who was who, but it isn’t the same. The plot got suddenly really dark at times and was really happy at others. This book really jumped between emotions and I lost track of what was happening.

This book really didn’t have much detail. I felt like the author just skipped that step and just went along with the story. This was a fast-paced book at some times and slow at others. I really didn’t care for that. It also jumped between emotions a lot. If you like those things, this is a good book for you. I personally didn’t love this book because I am not that kind of person.—Ingrid J., 13

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