Tag Archives: World of Trouble

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Synopsis: When Clay receives a box of cassette tapes recorded by a girl who recently committed suicide, he wonders why he was chosen as one of her thirteen reasons. Review: Compelling premise ultimately founders on muddled execution. Asher throws in at least four separate social problems as part of Hannah’s reasons for her suicide, and the construction ends up feeling far too contrived. This has the odd effect of making the story seem small, as though all of the suffering endured by the various characters…

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Synopsis: Harry Potter braces for his final battle with evil Lord Voldemort, knowing that only one of them will survive. Review: My biggest criticism of Harry Potter has always been his passivity. In the first few books especially, he spends most of his time being rescued or protected, simply because he’s “The Boy Who Lived.” And for awhile, it seemed as though JK Rowling wasn’t paying attention–was creating a hero who didn’t deserve to bear that name. Share on Facebook

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The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits

Synopsis: When Mary was 16, she may or may not have been abducted and raped by an older man, whose life was ruined by her accusations. Share on Facebook

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Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

Synopsis: Entranced by the folk tales of an old mountain man, and repulsed by the same man’s grisly crimes, Redmond Hatch struggles to narrate the events which led him to bring his beloved wife and daughter to winterwood. Review: I was upset by the way Winterwood seduced me. I did not want to be reeled in by Redmond and his elliptical storytelling because I knew that, between the lines, he was telling me stories I didn’t want him to be able to tell. I wanted…

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The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Synopsis: By refusing to sell chocolates in the annual school sale, one high school freshman learns whether or not his universe can bear to be shaken. Review: The Chocolate War is the first of my books for the Banned Books Challenge, hosted by The Pelham Library. I have read Cormier’s books a number of times since first encountering them in middle school, and I’m still amazed at the power that they have to shock, wound, and enlighten. Share on Facebook

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One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz

Synopsis: Young Leilani has a deformed hand and a brace on her leg–and she’s just told her alcoholic ex-con neighbor that her differences are why her deranged doctor stepfather and whacked-out druggie mother are going to kill her unless she’s abducted by aliens when she turns 10. Review: I read this book because it was recommended by Wesley Smith, a leading voice against utilitarianism bioethics, which is the concept that death is the optimal choice for anyone living a less-than-perfect existence, physically speaking. Rather than…

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Luck of the Wheels by Megan Lindholm

Synopsis: Gypsy teamster Ki agrees to ferry a most disagreeable boy to another town, and discovers a world of trouble when she and her companions find themselves in the middle of an uprising. Review: Luck of the Wheels, the fourth and final installment in the Ki and Vandien Quartet, is the best Lindholm I’ve read so far. Here, she pushes her protagonists as far as they can be pushed, taking the kinds of story risks that make her books so accomplished. She’s not afraid to…

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