Saturday, January 14, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell

The Secret Language of GirlsThe Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Status update from Goodreads: I got to disc 4 and my copy is corrupt. I'll have to go to the library once it's open again and get their copy to finish this story. (Dec26th, 2011)

Well, nearly 1 month later and I finally finished listening to the audio presentation of The Secret Language of Girls. As it turns out, I had only 5 tracks left to listen to before the story ended. I'm glad I finished listening, but the ending didn't really leave me feeling any better about this story.

I am (obviously) NOT the target audience of this book, but my daughter is. In fact, it was she who initially requested the audiobook after a friend read the print version and the only reason I listened to it was because she had. I like to know what my kids are reading/listening to/watching, so I try to read/listen to/watch the same things they like. It helps me get to know them better by giving us something with which to open a conversation. When my daughter finished listening to the (we now know corrupted) audio on her mp3 player, I asked what she thought of it. Her response was that it was good at first, but it lost her toward the middle and she felt unsatisfied by the end. Of course, the end she heard wasn't the real end, but (in my opinion) it might as well have been.

I really have no idea what this story is about. If I had to describe the story, I guess I'd say it's about two girls whose childhood friendship undergoes the strain and stress of growing up. This was not a plot driven story, but a story surrounding a plot idea. I frequently found myself bored by the lack of action. Also, I was not wild about the changes in perspective from one girl to the next. I didn't think the voices of the girls (not the physical voice of the reader nor the literary voice of the character) were defined and unique enough to make it self-evident as to whom the story was being seen through as soon as the switch took place.

Overall, I'm not thrilled with this book and will not be listening to it again. And my daughter had no interest in listening to the end either, once we figured out the initial problem. That being said, I think female readers as young as 4th grade and up to 6th grade may understand and commiserate with the characters in this story, but it definitely didn't speak to me.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, I think it's awesome that the author created the zombie's blog around the time the book was original released and it's still up and running. I looked it up just to see and clicked around a little, trying not to read much there because I didn't want to ruin any of the story for myself. Unfortunately, my eyeballs found one tidbit of information I wish they hadn't and it really ruined the surprise at the end for me. Even knowing what was going to happen, it still saddened me.

I think the idea for this book is fascinating. Zombies. Living among us(trads). Going to school with us. Maybe dating us or even loving us, but at the very least befriending us. I loved really only one character in this book though and am now thoroughly a fan of Adam. I'm a sucker for nice guys sometimes, when their complex and not overly nice. I wish Phoebe hadn't been so blind by the newness and uniqueness of Tommy to completely miss what she had right next door, but if her eyes had been open I guess the story wouldn't have been half as interesting. And Tommy. I liked first, until he became a manipulative user...or at least that's what he comes off as at the end.

As I stated in my updates while I was reading, the whole play-by-play of the sports stuff really threw me and almost made me lose interest in the story. I know guy readers will be able to follow the plays but I just skimmed to the end of it. Just not a sporty-girl and have never been a big fan of football either. That aside, the story held my attention and didn't seem to have many if any scenes bogging down the pace unnecessarily. I do wish the story had moved a little faster, but the insight into the characters did help understand their motivations better. At first, I was totally lost as to why we were hearing the story through Pete's perspective at all, but halfway through the book, it made sense.

My biggest complaint is that the Zombies existence to begin with just doesn't make sense. Some but not all kids come back. And only teens. And only in the US...well, a few reports of instances in the northern lands, but still. Why? And how are they alive? The characters even ask the same questions...repeatedly...but a definitive answer is never given. I know there are more books in this series and it's likely that those questions will be answered in the later books, but for this one, it felt like a problem the writer just didn't have an answer for yet.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and, while references to sex are made (especially by Pete) and swear words do appear on a few pages, the story is fairly clean. I don't think I'll let my 11-year-old daughter read it any time soon, but maybe when she's a few years older. I will be getting the sequel out eventually, but I have other things on my plate to tackle first.

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