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review 2017-05-27 00:17
Review: Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

Quick review for a quick read. Another emotional and engaging read from Sara Zarr. "Gem and Dixie" is a story of sisters as well as knowing when to let go and grow. I enjoyed the journey, though the story had more compelling points in certain turns than others. It got a little muddled in the middle trying to march itself towards the ending, but still pulled at my heartstrings for showcasing the relationship between the characters.

Gem is four years older than Dixie and has been tasked as the responsible figure in a complicated household. Gem and Dixie's father is often absent from their lives, and usually when he returns, it's never for good reasons. Their mother can barely keep food on the table and while she's present in their lives keeps her own distance from taking on responsibility due to a number of vices. Gem has always tried to help and protect her younger sister, but even as they've grown older, their relationship has become more distant, with Dixie wanting to hold on to memories they used to have while Gem is ready for something more, something better.

The two have a rather unique opportunity to get away when their father returns to their lives, leaving a questionable amount of money of undetermined source under the bed. Gem asks Dixie to get away for a short time - just to "let loose". But their journey from that point is a series of encounters that have the girls meeting mishaps and discovering each other in a way they hadn't had opportunities to do before. I think the first half of the novel had me in its compelling portrait of the girls' broken home, while the latter part had some moments of emotional connectivity, but the pacing and grip loosened a bit up until closer to the end when the girls have to face the reality of their situation and Gem has to make a decision for herself rather than for the inclusion of her and her sister. In the end, it's a solid read - probably not my personal favorite from the author, but well included among her potent stories in contemporary YA and dealing with difficult issues. Wonderful audio narration by Julia Whelan as well.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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review 2017-05-07 22:39
Gem and Dixie
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

edit: After I wrote this review I realized there was a simple part of the story I felt like touching on: how to pronounce "Gem". She corrects 2 different people that "...it's Gem, not Jim." Okay, this is petty and I know that, but what is the difference? I seriously cannot tell. Was that really what you needed to write? Because I cannot tell a phonetic difference in those two words.

 

original:

This was nothing original. Nothing new. It was a short read, and the premise was simple. Gem and Dixie live with their selfish, druggie mom in a piss-poor tenement block with no food. Their dad is gone, and their mom cares more about being their buddy than an adult. Gem is the mature one. Dixie is still starry eyed and refuses to believe their parents are bad, no matter how many times her heart gets broken. 

 

It's full of typical young adult tropes. You just want to slap the shit out of Dixie the entire book. No matter the nasty words, the loud shouting or the fact their mother doesn't feed them, she just can't swallow the fact mom is a neglectful addict. "Maybe she has reasons..." No honey. No. You have to stop being stupid. It's getting very old.

 

The dad is your typical "I wish I was a rock star" asshole. He only loves himself. He does not even acknowledge Gem as his daughter. It's always "Dixie and her sister". "You know how your sister is." He's a douche bag.

 

I didn't learn much from this, except that I get tired of wading through the young adult muck to find the gold.

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text 2017-05-06 01:08
Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 282 pages.
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

C-P-S! C-P-S!

 

Everybody, now! C-P-S!

 

Why is there always the one stoic, skeptical child and the one stupid, I-want-my-deadbeat-parent-to-love-me child? What makes the difference? Where did that cliche come from, And what had made it so popular? Because it's getting old.

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text 2017-05-05 02:58
Reading progress update: I've read 0 out of 282 pages.
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

I had all my books laid out for the Month, but I saw this and Piper Perish at the library. They looked too interesting to pass. 

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text 2015-11-03 14:02
How to Save a Life - Sara Zarr

fvfera gmg,a

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