Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review: Two Books That I Did Not Care For

I have been putting off writing reviews for two books for about a week now. Why? Because I didn't really like either of them and I haven't had to write a review of a book (let alone two books) that I didn't like in a long time. Usually, I can find something redeeming about a book and focus on that during the reading/ reviewing process, but these two had some serious flaws, in my opinion.

The thought of not reviewing them even crossed my mind. But, I then realized that maybe a less-than-positive review would prevent someone from spending money on a title that would disappoint. Or, I'd hear from someone who disagreed with my review and thought one (or both) of these titles were better than I thought. Feel free to speak up if you're one of those people!

Today, I came up with a compromise. I'd combine the two offending books into one review and call it good. I have some perfectly amazing books to review and would like to get to them, so once these reviews are done I can move on toward a happier place. And who doesn't want to be happy, especially during an April vacation?

Okay, here goes.

Planet Pregnancy by Linda Oatman High. As I've mentioned in several posts, I love novels told in verse. I think that these reads lend themselves to a larger audience and appeal to a variety of readers. Sometimes, though, it is hard for me to read poems that are simply not well-written. This book is full of them.

I can deal with some poems that are lacking or need revision or seem flawed, but this book is almost disrespectful to its speakers and the topic with its canned diction and forced rhymes. At one point, the speaker (who a pregnant teen) says: "I wonder where/ you go to get WIC?/ I'm not a hick./ I don't pick my nose./ I'm not toothless" (page 114). I had an extremely adverse reaction to these lines. I have several teen mothers in my classes and live in an area where "hick" is a common descriptor that most of the student population adopts with great pride. These lines made me cringe.

There are other problems that I had with the plot of this book. (Like the speaker pretending that she was raped so that she wouldn't have to confess having consensual sex with a boy)(and the mother doesn't care when she finds out that her daughter lied!)(Uggh!).

So, I didn't like this book. But, I'm going to put it on my free reading shelves at school. You never know which book will connect with an uninspired reader.

Bleed by Laurie Faria Stolarz. For me, the plot of this book was very slow and I couldn't pinpoint the actual story or problem or conflict in the story that I was supposed to care about. And, it was filled with some fairly graphic sex scenes, which kinda turned my stomach. There seemed to be no real reason to include such detailed, descriptive scenes in the book. And, I'm no prude. This was way over the top of my comfort zone when it comes to reading about teen sex. Waaay over.

But, aside from the sex scenes, not much was really happening. There were ten teen voices in this book. They did not intertwine enough for me and some were just plain confusing. I really didn't know who to care about or what the purpose of some of the characters actually was. I've read some great reviews for this book (which is why I bought it) and I simply don't get it.

Let me know if you disagree with any of this. Or, tell me how you deal with reviewing books that you truly do not care for. I could use the advice!

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