Saturday, April 19, 2014

PolarityPolarity by Susan Meraki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

~I received this book for free from Susan Meraki through Goodreads. These opinions are my own~

Polarity is over 300 pages long, and every page makes a huge contribution towards what unfolds to be a well thought-out, thought provoking story.

I'll be vague at the beginning of this review, and leave content that may contain spoilers until the end, for people reading this that haven't read the book yet. Usually I can write a review without referring to specific plot points, but with this novel, there were some genius moments that I must react to individually.

I will say that the best part about the book is that it leads you to interpret the events a certain way, when they are, in truth, the complete opposite. You see characters and are only shown tidbits of their actions at a time, and often are left to guess at their motives. That is beautifully done, because it leaves the reader to search for small details that may lead them to the story's outcome, and even then, they can't be sure. For instance, you are introduced to two extremes of a sense referred to as 'polarity' and immediately want to dictate which side is 'good' and which side is 'evil.' When you think you have discovered the answer to this, you realize that actions you thought had good motives behind them, actually were quite contrary.

There are several places with slight errors, such as a sentence feeling incomplete, like, for example, "After grabbing her bag to make sure she had her notebook and pens." But there are only a few of these instances, and they do not heavily impact the reading experience.

As far as characters go, there was a strong variety of colorful personalities that are revealed throughout the narrative. Though the protagonist, Susie, could be seen as a "Mary Sue" character, I feel that this was an intentional choice; when you first meet her, she is supposed to be a girl trapped in a rather dull life, who won't allow anything in her life to be out of place. However, she is a dynamic character who, through her experiences with characters like Dan, grows into a person who strives to stop suppressing her true personality.

(view spoiler)

I was very happy at the open ending, which suggests a sequel. I am eager to read it as soon as it is released, and, in the meantime, will be recommending Polarity to several friends of mine. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dallas Lalone: In Our Words

Dallas Lalone: In Our WordsDallas Lalone: In Our Words by Jodi R. Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book from Jodi R. Moore to review. A review of her other book, Let's Face It, can be found here:

Dallas Lalone: In Our Words, is a young adult novel about three girls, Ashley, Lauren, and Hannah, each learning to overcome their individual struggles. At the beginning of the book, Ashley is suffering from an injury that impedes her ability to participate in dancing, which is her passion. Lauren's parents are considering a divorce due to drama in the media about Lauren's father, a famous director, rumors of a presumable affair. Hannah is lacking confidence of her abilities and interests, and in turn is struggling to deal with bullying from her peers. The girls happen to meet over Thanksgiving break, when, upon meeting, Hannah introduces Ashley and Lauren to videos of her favorite YouTuber, Dallas Lalone. Throughout the rest of the book , through their friendship and shared interest in Dallas, the girls learn to cope with their circumstances.

It is amazing that this book encourages girls to look to their friends for support rather than do what so many teens are pressured to do- put out a false image of themselves in order to gain validation from others. Young girls need to know that the best way to have an enjoyable and satisfying middle and high school years is to stop stifling their real selves and spend time with people who don't force them to hide.

The novel is written in a simple style, almost like short journal entries from each of our protagonists. While each girl has individual quirks and interests, their voice in writing is almost uniform, which might be something to look at. For interest, in Let's Face It, Kaylin was intelligent and witty, so both characteristics clearly came across from her as the speaker of the book. It might have added to the personalities and relatability of the girls if they had each written a bit differently.

I found this book to be a simple, positive read, likely geared towards younger girls who have anxieties about putting themselves out there and embracing their unique talents, even those they didn't know they had. I am grateful for the opportunity to read this book and will likely pass it along to my younger cousin in a few years.

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