Monday, April 30, 2012

The Truth About Sparrows by Marian Hale

I enjoyed reading this sweet, easy book.  It takes place in 1933, centering on Sadie who is 12.  Her family has been forced to sell their house, leave precious belongings and head West in an attempt to make ends meet.  I think the characters and story are nice.  It's  predictible and sometimes seems to try a little too hard to get all the historical details in.

I enjoyed reading the story.  I haven't ever read about families during this time making a living fishing or living in this area (Texas), so it was a fresh take to a familiar theme.  I think what I liked best was the growth and self-reflections of Sadie.  She has made a promise to her best friend that even though they have both moved far away they will remain loyal.  She takes this seriously, and I liked reading as she figures out what that means.  Sadie also has to come to terms with her new situation in life.  She reacts poorly to teasing and lashes out at her new friends.  I think this is such a common thing for kids this age and I think the author addresses and resolves it in a realistic and helpful way.

I recommend this book.  I think it is a great piece of historical fiction for younger readers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

So this is one of those books that I feel like I have seen all over the place.  At some point I put a hold on it at the library and it finally came in.  It is definitely peculiar, but I got into it quick and couldn't put it down.

I had known about the crazy photos, which are all a little creepy and look like someone tinkering with trick photography developing.  The truth behind the photos is that Ransom Riggs, the author, (that can't be his real name, right?) collects crazy old photos, and he's not alone.  In the back he credits which collectors the photos belong too. 

The story begins in modern day centered around a misfit rich kid named Jacob who has a grandfather that he has always admired.  It's hard not to spoil the story, so I'll just mention that there is a fantasy element to the story, but not the one I expected.

I know I've mentioned before that fantasy isn't my favorite type of book to read, but I did like this one.  It was a little scary for me in parts, and there are some elements that just struck me as too weird and unnecessary.  But, overall I do think it is a clever and creative book.  I loved the thread of photographs that moves the story along.  The photos his grandfather had shown him as a child, a collection he finds later and then even later on the island.  I think they were woven in nicely.

I recommend this book.  There are 3 or 4 crude lines in the book which are so unneccessary and kind of stood out of place.  Just a warning.  I've seen this listed as YA fiction, but I'm not sure if I want my 12 year old to read it because of those phrases.  Dumb.

I'd love to hear what you thought of this book!  It's hard to review without giving away the plot twists.