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review 2020-09-27 17:59
Tweak by Nic Sheff
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines - Nic Sheff

What an emotional rollercoaster! Sadly, one I can relate to as well being a former drug user and addict. This book takes you to all of the emotions you felt when you were a user and running from your own life and self. It was often hard to read. It was too raw and real at times and I'd have to put it aside for a bit. I still had to get through it though and pray that Nic got to his light at the end of the tunnel, so-to-speak. This is an incredible memoir! I hope Nic's life and experiences can help someone else. Addicts feel like no one understands, when surprisingly there is usually someone who does. It's just finding that someone that can help you see your own destrictuve self from their experiences. That's how some of us addicts can heal. Seeing your true self can be so hurtful, that's why you can't do it alone. Everybody needs somebody sometimes, man that line is so true! I am now going to watch the film adaption, Beautiful Boy. It stars Steve Carrell and Timothy Chalomet. It's gonna be a ride, and emotional one, but I look forward to it.



Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2021/09/tweak-by-nic-sheff.html
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review 2020-06-11 21:22
Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
Growing Things and Other Stories - Paul Tremblay

Tremblay is an author that I'd really like to like, but I can't put my finger on why. He writes about his style as "ambiguous horror" which sounds unremarkable.


Many of these stories are remarkable, but they don't often go anywhere. Tremblay doesn't flinch at hard-hitting emotional trauma in his characters and certainly the children aren't safe, but there's a distance to the narration that keeps me from really caring at all about their fates. There's only so much ambiguity you can throw in a story and still have it mean anything. His novel 'Cabin in the Woods', on the other hand, was so much unrelenting darkness that it was hard to get through by the end. The imagery is good though. There was a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style story that was interesting, too, but felt like that game where you try to write a sad limerick. The author's intention was clear, but it didn't quite succeed. I don't know. 


In any case, I'll probably pick up one of his books again. I was interested by what he had to say regarding characters from his novel 'Head Full of Ghosts'. Two stories used them: the title story of this collection was especially good; 'The Thirteenth Temple', on the other hand, felt like a waste of time. I'm pulled in two directions. Thanks, ambiguity.

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review 2020-01-07 04:00
Breakout by Kate Messner
Breakout - Kate Messner

Audience: Grades 4 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library copy


Dear Library Board,

Enclosed is my contribution to the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project.

- opening lines



Wolf Creek is located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The town is built around a maximum-security prison and most of the residents have a least one family member working there. The book is told from the point of view of three seventh graders. Nora’s dad is the superintendent, Lizzie’s grandmother works in the kitchen, and Elidee’s brother is an inmate. Nora and Lizzie are best friends and Elidee just moved there when she didn’t get into a private school in New York City. Elidee’s mom wanted to be closer to her brother to make it easier for them to visit him. The townspeople are mostly white and the inmate population is mostly black and Latinx. Elidee is at first standoffish but she eventually becomes friendly with Nora and Lizzie. Nora and Lizzie are surprised at the way the townspeople treat Elidee and how different it is from how they are treated. A couple of inmates escape from the prison and the action revolves around how the manhunt affects life in the town. The story is told through contributions to a time-capsule project for school. The contributions include letters, press clippings, text messages, and transcribed voice recordings.


There are dangerous and suspenseful situations, and some shooting, but no overt violence. Nora & Lizzie learn about racism and try to decide how they feel about it and how to stand up for Elidee. Elidee works through her complicated feelings about the town, her brother, and everything else by writing poetry. Issues about our justice system and racial bias are explored in an accessible and sensitive manner.

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review 2020-01-07 03:25
24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling
24 Hours In Nowhere - Dusti Bowling

Audience: Grades 4-7

Format: Hardcover/Library copy


Bo Taylor held my face one inch from the jumping cholla. "Eat it, Gus," he commanded.

- opening lines



In the town of Nowhere, Arizona, the only thing exciting is dirt bike riding. Thirteen-year-old Gus is a smart boy and a natural target for the town bully, Bo. When Rossi stands up to Bo, she loses her prized possession, her dirt bike, Loretta. Gus is determined to get Rossi’s bike back, but Bo’s price is gold from the town’s abandoned gold mine called, “Dead Frenchman’s Mine.” Gus ends up going to the mine with an old friend, Jessie, one of Bo’s minions, Matthew, and Rossi. The four teens end up bonding over dangerous situations and shared conversations (the are all outcasts in different ways), and the adventure changes all of them.


This book has a similar feel to Holes by Louis Sachar. The characters are likable & quirky and there are generational ties that the teens discover during their journey. Students who like adventures and solving mysteries will enjoy this book. There are positive messages throughout the book about the power of friendship, believing in yourself, and looking beyond what people seem to be on the outside.

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review 2019-12-15 03:34
All's Faire in Middle School
All's Faire in Middle School - Victoria Jamieson

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library


Imogene! Come down from that tree!

- first sentence



Imogene (Impy) works at a Renaissance Faire and has been homeschooled her entire life. She decides that her quest to become a knight will be attending middle school. The story realistically portrays the difficulties and challenges girls face at this time in their lives. Impy makes some questionable choices, but she eventually realizes that everyone makes mistakes and she finds ways to atone. She has difficulty understanding the cliques and double language kids use and wonders why girls say mean things when they are supposed to be your friend.


This is a great book for middle schoolers and anyone who enjoyed Roller Girl by the same author. I've noticed some reviewers question the content. At one point the girls are reading a romance novel that they hide in Impy's backpack. At home, Impy is looking at the book and writes the word "sex" in her notebook. Impy's mother starts to have "the talk" with her, but Impy changes the subject quickly and it never comes up again. This kind of stuff happens in real life and there is nothing inappropriate, but parents should decide for themselves.


In my opinion, the positive messages and relatable real-life story make this book a must-read.

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