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review 2017-10-09 04:16
The Blitzed Brits
The Blitzed Brits - Terry Deary,Tracey West

I knew what these were when I bought them (I bought three) – written for a much younger audience – but given the woefully little I know about world history, I figured anything was better than nothing and as I tend to think straight history texts rather dull, ultimately, I probably wasn't that far outside its target audience after all, in terms of attention span.

 

I started with this one as it was the thinnest, and thankfully, I knew most of it already - I'm not that ignorant after all! - but there were a lot of details I didn't know.  The obliteration of everything that indicated a location, for example.  Business signs that indicated the town/village/city name had that name painted over; public transit station names were removed.  I also didn't know there was such a time gap between the first blitz and the second.  And I will always know that in a stream of terrible years, 1942 was by far the worst for the homefront in terms of legislated deprivation.

 

Some of the stories were funny, of course.  The one about the girl who, listening to her mum about strange men approaching her during the blackout, accidentally put her own father head first into a pig scrap bin had both MT and I giggling.

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review 2017-10-01 05:04
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, #2)
Hollow City - Ransom Riggs

More often than not, I struggle to like the second book of a trilogy and Hollow City is no exception.  To me, the second book feels like all the boring bits between the excitement of discovery and the thrill of the finale stretched out to 'make do' as a book.  In other words, book two is all existential navel gazing and I get bored.

 

Hollow City was not without excitement though; there were plenty of battles between the peculiar children and the hollows, and Jacob gets to use and stretch and refine his power, but mostly it's children bonding (go team!), true love (*eye roll*), evil plot to end the world revealed in all its evil glory (*gasp*) and existential navel gazing.

 

I'm being a bit cheeky; I did enjoy, it just wasn't great.  There are a couple of twists at the end; one I really didn't see coming and the other was, I suppose, inevitable, and it ends in something of a cliffhanger with the tried and true 'friends in peril' plot device fully engaged.  I already have the third book so it's definitely going to get read, but I'm not in a rush.

 

I read this for the Chilling Children square and it was more apt than I could have dreamed, as the power of one of the peculiar children is, in fact, freezing whatever she touches.  Chilling children indeed.

 

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review 2017-05-19 09:07
Prudence (Book One of The Custard Protocol)
Prudence - Gail Carriger

In that way that two strong, bold personalities often have children that have wispy, paler personalities than themselves, Prudence is a pale imitation of Connel and Alexia Maccon in Soulless.

 

It's not for lack of trying, but Carriger's attempts at giving Prudence (Rue) her own eccentric personality just falls flat for me.  What felt like effortless eccentricity and resulting hilarity in Alexis feels forced in Rue.  What felt natural in Soulless feels affected in Prudence.

 

Still, it wasn't a bad read; if I hadn't read The Parasol Protectorate and The Finishing School series first, I'd likely have enjoyed this a lot more.  But even though we get to see the beloved cast of characters from TPP return, it's sadly just not the same.  It just never really came together for me.  It was o.k., but it was never fun.

 

 

 

 

Total pages: 357

$$:  $3.00

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review 2017-03-02 05:43
Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
Here's To You, Rachel Robinson - Judy Blume

This one comes closer than Just as Long as We're Together to the Judy Blume I remember.  

 

Rachel Robinson is the tallest girl in her class, a gifted student taking advance classes, on the debate team and an aspiring musician.  Her mom's a trial lawyer who has just been appointed a judge, and her father is a lawyer-turned-teacher.  She's the youngest of three and a very serious girl who compulsively cleans her room, her closet and her drawers when she's stressed.

 

To those around her she's extremely competent and intelligent, so naturally she's offered places in special programs: social, academic, theatrical and her friends want her to run for class president.

 

Judy Blume has perfectly captured the duck-on-the-pond teen: calm, cool and collected on the surface but underneath a boiling, churning, furious paddling to keep it all together.  Her family life is far from tranquil and the worse things get at home, the harder she tries to control her immediate surroundings.

 

If this book were written today, there'd naturally be a semi-catastrophic climax to the story; something allowing Rachel to shatter and put herself back together into a healthier, better adjusted self.  But that's not real life and Blume does real life, even if it makes for slightly less exciting reading.   There are small, pivotal moments throughout the story; tiny releases of pressure here and there, that aren't magical fixes for anything.  Rachel moves along, grows up, discovers that she continues to wake up each morning and the world continues to turn.

 

If Blume did anything for her readers it was sharing with them the knowledge that they aren't alone in their experiences, their feelings, or their angst.  She may not do riveting yarns, but she does comfort better than anyone.

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review 2017-03-02 00:53
Just as Long as We're Together
Just as Long as We're Together - Judy Blume

This book and its followup, Here's To You Rachel Robinson are the only two Young Adult books by Judy Blume that I had not read as a young adult (they were published after my time).  I saw them both at a Free Little Library and thought, why not?

 

It's good, but I don't know if I'm missing something reading it for the first time as an adult; some small essence of teen that can be recalled but not brought up fresh, or if this just isn't as good as Blume's other YA books.  I enjoyed it but it failed to click with me on any deep level.  

 

The girls' friendship is flawed from the beginning; secret keeping is a big part of the plot here, but of all the secrets kept and revealed, the biggest one

that Rachel knew about Steph's parents' separation before she did

(spoiler show)

was never confronted or discussed.  How do you know something like that and not bring it up with your friend?  Keeping secrets about your own self is your prerogative, but keeping secrets that affect your bff seems inexcusable. 

 

Who knows though, I might have missed some subtle hint that Steph knew and was just not facing it.  Or maybe that just isn't a big deal to teens and I don't remember that far back as clearly as I'd like to.  Either way, it was still a good read, even if it wasn't a classic Blume.

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