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Book Review: Girl on the Run

Girl on the Run
by Abigail Johnson
Pub Date: 06 Oct 2020 
Read courtesy of netgalley.com
LOVED IT! Is there such a thing as a 6 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐review? 
Fast paced and tight, I read this book in an afternoon. I was engaged by the characters and the plot. I enjoyed being able to anticipate where things were going or where they had come from. I sometimes get frustrated trying to follow a thriller's flow of information, and I sometimes think the authors do it on purpose for some kind of gotcha. Abigail Johnson didn't confuse me, purposefully or not. She allowed the readers to explore both with the characters and to make suppositions on their own without making the readers feel duped or slow-witted.
Recommend this book to readers who like Amazon's Hanna.
As an aside, it did help that I grew up and worked near the story's setting; although, the geography itself could have been anywhere with regards to the story. It was just fun for me to read of places I know: Bridgeton, Cheltenham, Perkasie, Elkins Park, etc. 
I can't wait to put this in to my high school readers' hands.
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Book Review: Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake

Pub Date: 26 May 2020 

Read courtesy of http://netgalley.com

One word: derivative.

First, though, this book didn't know what it wanted to be. It felt easy to read, but right off the bat (chapter 1, paragraph 1) the author threw in "big words," which could easily turn off the reluctant reader who might have otherwise found this a highly accessible book.

Second, I honestly do not know if my high schoolers like reading stories where the teenage protagonist  (Emily) is smarter than the adults, but I personally dislike that as a plot method. Yes, teenagers mostly do think they are smarter than their parents, but to make that the premise of a book, as if the teen is a superhero and the parents are clueless, gets old.

OK, back to "derivative." Quite early in the story I felt like I was reading E.T., the Extra-terrestrial. This feeling resurfaced often. Then the Men in Black reference was repeated (and repeated) throughout the book. Then the plane crash was like Hatchet. I even got a hint of Star Wars with a line that sounded like, "These are not the droids you are looking for." Then a little bit of Star Trek was thrown in with their "prime directive"; Aidan couldn't interfere with the Earth's history. I hit my limit when Aidan's departure mimicked E.T.'s "I'll be right here" and I pictured the author thinking, "Queue E.T.s glowing finger." That wasn't the last unoriginal reference, though; the goodbye scene with Emily and Aidan turned into the intro from The Big Bang Theory.

I found the author's descriptions of Emily's father to be inconsistent in that his personality didn't match his character in the end. Throughout she describe him as "all military precision and attention," "Emily's dad had many useful things in his backpack - that was his style...," "...her dad, sticking to the logic of the story," "She was still averting her eyes. Her dad would see her lies in an instant, if he looked into them," "...her dad said needlessly, and Emily realized something else: this was how he dealt with stress. By trying to understand, to analyze," and "That was Emily's dad: no need to discuss what kind of message, or how, or anything irrelevant like that. Pure focus on the plan." Then at the end,

There was an awkward silence, and then they laughed. They tried not to talk too much about the time after the plane crash - he parents told themselves a story abut it, that they'd been in a rush to get to civilization, but Emily could tell they only partially believed it, and that the best way for them to reconcile the events with the kind of people they understood themselves to be was to not think about it.

To be fair, there were some positives. The author obviously took a great deal of thought into making Aidan's character's abilities consistent and plausible. That's a real plus, since the story wouldn't have worked at all without this being tight and dependable. I was also pleasantly surprised at how clever the author had Emily be at the end with the man in the gray suit, playing like she knew as much as her parents did about the events that occurred.

However, I think the author did more thinking about how he could mix ET with Agent J or Spock than he did about making an original and absorbing story. <2 stars>

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New Virtual Classroom Launching on the 25th of July - Important Points to Note
Hello Everyone,

The much awaited new Virtual Classroom is finally set for launch on Sunday, the 25th of July 2010. We sincerely thank all the teachers who have helped us with their valuable feedback and suggestions for the new look and feature-rich Virtual Classroom. The new Virtual Classroom has been designed specially for teachers and students, and offers ease-of-use, a rich look-and-feel experience, and smooth interaction.
With only few days left for its launch, we suggest that you start getting acquainted with the new Virtual Classroom right away to get a seamless experience in your future classes. Try the new Virtual Classroom by following the link below or just copy and paste in your browser directly:
You can also send a request for a demo and one of our technical support executives will get back to you shortly to help you on the new Virtual Classroom. A personal invitation will be sent once you confirm your slot for the demo. So please reserve your slot at the earliest by writing to us at support@wiziq.com.
After the launch, all the classes that you have already scheduled will use the new Virtual Classroom by default.
Important points to note:
1) There will be a downtime between 3:30 AM and 7:30 AM (GMT) and 9:00AM to 1:00PM (IST) on Sunday, the 25th of July 2010 due to the upload of new Virtual Classroom to the WiZiQ's server. During this time, you would neither be able to access the website, nor schedule a class. We also request you to make sure that you do not have any class scheduled between the above mentioned downtime. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.
2) Our new virtual classroom works with flash player version and above. You can download and install the latest flash player from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ for version
What's new?
Here are some enhancements:
1. Improved Audio and Video
• View videos of four participants simultaneously
• Enjoy much improved, latency-free audio
2. Feature-rich Whiteboard and Interface
• Cut/copy/paste, group, ungroup, bring objects back/forth, or rotate the shapes on the whiteboard
• Rename whiteboards
• Change the background colors of the whiteboard
• Add a grid to the background for drawings
• Minimize or move windows within the whiteboard area
• Use emoticons in your chat
• Handle the new ‘File’ and ‘Edit’ menus
3. New-look Media Player
• Select videos from your playlist history in the content library
Also, the new Virtual Classroom adjusts to your screen resolution automatically on launch.
We look forward to your feedback and hope that the new Virtual Classroom fulfils all your online teaching needs.

Warm wishes,
The WiZiQ Team

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