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Search tags: Pat-Schmatz
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review 2015-08-29 16:40
Bluefish/Pat Schmatz
Bluefish - Pat Schmatz

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take "pass" for an answer—a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters—and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.


Though this was written about eighth graders, I found the style to be delightful and the characters compelling.


The story was mostly written from a third person omniscient point of view from Travis's perspective, but every chapter had something from Velveeta's perspective. This worked quite quaintly. The sections were short enough that they didn't hinder. Velveeta's voice was so, well, Velveeta, and it really helped to build up her character.


I felt at points that the characters were a little too mature for eighth graders, but then I realized that I was wrong and that yes, in eighth grade it really is important who one goes to the dance with. Their actions were very real and really reminded me of what it was like to be that age.


I didn't even notice that Travis was disabled, just that he hadn't been taught in the right ways for him. He was just a regular kid with regular problems, and I felt him so hard when he had trouble admitting his struggles. His teacher was very admirable.


The strongest aspect of the story was definitely the writing. Schmatz definitely had a compelling style and her words were both simple yet captivating, and she cleverly crafted his story.


I don't commonly find stories about middle schoolers strong, but this one was quite fascinating. With its strong writing, I highly recommend it for anyone in the age group.

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quote 2015-08-23 18:38
"Before you can be what you are, you must be all things."

This book is astonishing. It is all things itself.
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review 2015-05-16 00:00
Lizard Radio
Lizard Radio - Pat Schmatz The Summer Prince meets 1984 in this unique near-future novel

A wholly unique story told from the point of view of in-between Kivali - who everyone calls Lizard. In a near future that is eerily different from our own world, Kivali is sent to CropCamp for the summer. There she will learn to follow all the rules, work hard, and become a good citizen. But little Kivali - Lizard - is confused, because her foster mother, Sheila, never would have sent her to Camp without provocation. Why is she at Camp? Why is Sheila being so secretive and strange in her messages? And why does Lizard sometimes really enjoy being at CropCamp, despite the strict regulations, curfews, and mind-bending Tenets?

Lizard is a girl who might decide she's a boy, a bender, and she's in-between in most other parts of her life, too. Leader or follower - independent or community-driven? Lizard needs to decide before the Camp Leader makes up her mind for her. But Lizard makes friends at camp - fiery Sully and tiny Rasta - and if she's going to ask the difficult questions then her friends are going to get tangled up in it, too. Lizard doesn't shy away from the tough questions - she walks right up and stares them in the face. This is who she is, and LIZARD RADIO is an eye-opening story about Kivali discovering that she can be in-between and still be herself.

The world-building is fascinating and clever. With 1984-style jargon, some readers may find it a little difficult to adapt to Kivali's strange Camp world, but soon they'll be immersed in the culture of Pievilles and CounCircle, kickshaw and chippies. In the style of Alaya Dawn Johnson's THE SUMMER PRINCE, LIZARD RADIO addresses the issues of freedom and choice, gender and sexuality, in a world reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. LIZARD RADIO is a unique and powerful novel with a strong story that will leave readers with many questions of their own to answer about themselves.
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review 2011-11-08 00:00
Bluefish - Pat Schmatz It took a few chapters to get drawn into this story, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Great characters, great story.
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review 2011-10-27 00:00
Bluefish - Pat Schmatz This was a great frienship, middle school book.I totally enjoyed it! Not everything in this world is peachy sweet and this book shows a little of the other side and how friendship can make life a bit better!
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