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Book Review: What We Buried

Book Review: What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman
To be published February 26, 2019
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Riveting. RIVETING!

From the double-meaning title to the adept use of flashbacks entwined with the glimpses of memory, What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman epitomizes a psychological thriller. I'm so glad I read this and cannot wait to get this book for my high school library.

I read this in one sitting, from 9am to 2pm on a Sunday, and it was time well spent. Most of us would admit that we hold a secret prejudice against kids who sue their parents; OK, I'll admit that I didn't have sympathy for children suing their parents (it's Kramer vs Kramer-esque and shades of my-parents-owe-me-a-college-education lawsuits that have shaped my thinking); however, I really appreciated how Boorman validated a child's experiences and perceptions. The author did an amazing job of having Liv and Jory explain how the siblings had their relationship marred by how each of them had been treated by their parents, and she did so without being preachy or obvious or by making the characters seem blaming and whiny.

Moreover, the author flawlessly made this skeptical reader accept the validity of how untrivial Liv's lawsuit against her parents is. In Liv, Boorman created a character who grows up right before our eyes ... albeit flawed ... but, hey, that's what makes a character so interesting!

What We Buried deftly fits together convoluted puzzle pieces of memory and plot, making this a psychological thriller I wanted to figure out. I kept flipping back and forth as to whom I believed was in the cabin, and even after finishing the book and reading the book flap teaser, I still can make a case for multiple perceptions of the ending. It would be fun to make a book discussion out of the possible endings with my teen readers.

As I read, I had shades of Lovely Bones and Thelma & Louise float into my consciousness at different times, but What We Buried is its own unique story. Highly recommended!

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Book review: Roam

Book review: Roam by C. H. Armstrong

Publication date: February 5, 2019
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In spite of the serious nature of homeless families, this is a warm fuzzy, feel good, happy ending kind of story. With a new boyfriend too good to be true and an instant flock of new friends, teenage Abby allows her homelessness to color her daily life (but who could blame her?). None of the people in her new school know that her family's "house" is a van or a church basement, and Abby tries desperately to keep it that way. The difficulty Abby has keeping her secret is exasperated by her new neighborhood -- an uber-rich area near the Mayo Clinic -- a jealous ex-girlfriend, and a homecoming dance.
With a fairy tale, full-of-forgiveness ending, readers might feel the story tied together too neatly, but it was refreshing to read a story where there really was a plausible ending. Well, believable if the readers accept a school where teachers and counselors are helpful and caring, where the hottest guy in school is also always a gentleman, where everyone accepts the out-of-the-closet gay kid, and where people still want to date the class bitch. 
I chose to believe, and I had a great time doing so. Because of this, I am able to give the story 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. The story was tight and left me with no questions. I thought the characters were well drawn out, and the plot flowed naturally. I recommend this book for anyone who sees silver linings and is able to put aside skepticism.
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