All Posts (2)

Sort by

Book Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

Book Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

Publishing date: January 1, 2019

read courtesy of

I'm going to start at the end... there's a sequel in waiting. That gives you an idea about the ending: it's a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, I'll never find out how it all ends; I won't be purchasing the sequel for my high school library. I'm not sure how much my students recognize cliched writing, but since it interfered with my enjoyment of the book, I'm not going to expose them to the triteness.

As a mystery, Hanover did what she was supposed to do, provide clues or throw out distractions as to the "real" perpetrator. However, I found these clues too obvious -- they were spelled out instead of implied or alluded to -- which took some of the guesswork out of reading a mystery. Hanover also heavily depended on the readers' willingness to suspend disbelief that a 16-year-old girl would be able to save her best friend from the evil mad scientist when the friend'as own father couldn't or wouldn't -- in the guise of having to wait for his wife to die -- so it HAD to be the teenager to come to the rescue.

One of the Similars, who are all brilliant geniuses, couldn't estimate how large the place from which he came was, claiming that it was hard to "have a sense of scale" when you're inside the place. Really? That felt out of character. (If it sounds like a nitpick, it is; but it irked me to have such a blatant character misrepresentation.)

Basically, the story was a little too schizophrenic for me. the majority of the story was about cloning and clones, and then the last part suddenly became about virtual reality and two mad scientist brothers. Then at the end... I mean near the cliffhanger... a character who had been declared dead via suicide was found alive and returns to the boarding school. Clunk... the cliffhanger was only a 2-foot drop for me. In spite of those who knew cloning was involved, the rest of the world didn't (wouldn't the suicide have made the news?) How could a teenager reappear, and no one called the FBI?  No one did because then it wouldn't be a cliffhanger. But like I said, it wasn't a cliffhanger for me. I stepped back up the 2-foot drop and walked away. It was my suspension of disbelief that was the only thing left hanging.


Read more…

Book Review: XL by Scott Brown

Book review of

XL by Scott Brown

Pub Date: 26 Mar 2019

Read courtesy of

I love Scott Brown's writing style: interesting vocabulary, descriptive metaphors, a glimmer of breaking the fourth wall, and a bit of dry, subtle humor. It works. If you don't like being given one of the funniest lines of a movie during a trailer, don't read the next part of this sentence since I'm going to ruin a chuckle for you: car mitzvah, when you turn 16 and get your driver's licence and your parents buy you a car. OK- you can resume reading.  I also like that Brown gave me things to ponder, like if are there only two kinds of quests (end of chapter 2).

I do beg to differ with one factoid that seemed to play a large (pun intended) part in the plot; Will says, "Fact. Small things don't live as long." But that's not true; small dogs live longer than big dogs. Just sayin'.

Brown did a nice job of consistently characterizing each of his secondary characters; they had unique personalities. He also did well with his extended metaphor of the gorillas in the zoo at which his father worked with the three-way relationship of Will, Drew, and Monica - the three main characters. In chapter 6 Will's impending experiences are even foreshadowed by the gorilla's behavior.  Some symbolism was just a little too obvious, though, like the placement of the necklace given to him by one girl when he was in the presence of another (chapter 12).

I stayed interested in how the conflicts were going to resolve themselves, but I was, unfortunately, slightly disappointed with the unfinished, happy ending. So, they all stay friends, but... What happens to Will and his XL situation? Does Monica, who is a strong character throughout the story, end up compromising her Plan? Now that Drew abandoned his Plan, where does that leave his future? I know... "the best-laid plans of mice and men..."; that's the message in itself. But I'm not sure I've been given enough information about the characters to strongly speculate about their futures. In spite of this, I enjoyed the underlying premise of, "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."


Read more…

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives