Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reshelved (4)

This is the fourth installment of books I didn't finish. I don't like to do full posts because it's not fair to the book for me to not like it and review it if I didn't finish it. So these just weren't for me, but I still want to give them publicity because maybe you all read them and thought differently or they sound spectacular to you. Let's discuss in the comments what you thought about these if you've read them, or why they sound good to you!

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 240
Keywords: poetry, contemporary, boarding school
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
DNF at: 40%
Goodreads | Book Depository

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self. 

Why I Put It Down:
Poetry isn't for me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I just don't enjoy it. This book was told in verse and in prose, in that the main character writes poetry, and the reader sees it directly on the page. I felt like this method chopped up the story and made it difficult to stay focused on any one thing that was happening at the time. This book is marketed as New Adult, and I was very excited to read it since it didn't seem to be focused on only sex, but instead on the fact that the character was a bit older. Sadly, it didn't deliver for me. The book was also in third-person present tense, which distances the reader from the character. It was very difficult to connect or really feel like I was into the plot or reading experience because everything was so choppy and distant. A plus for the book, though, is the cover. I'm really a fan of it, and I think it's so pretty, though I'm not sure what it has to do with the book.

Picture Me by Lori Weber
Release Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: James Lorimer & Co.
Pages: 159
Keywords: bullying, high school, popularity
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
DNF at: 10%
Goodreads | Book Depository
When a well-meaning English teacher has overweight student Krista read aloud a poem about body image titled "Barbie Doll" in class, she ignites a simmering bullying event based on Krista's appearance. Krista's best friend, and witness to the event, Tessa, is suspended for fighting to defend her friend. The girl who bullies Krista seems unaffected by the incident at school and more concerned with what an older guy thinks of her. But as the three characters' paths intersect, their inner lives are revealed. Each emerges as a much more complicated individual than their simple bully, target, and witness labels.

Why I Put It Down:
I realize that 10% is not much to judge a book by, and I normally try and make it at least a quarter-way through before I give up on a book. But I wasn't going to with this one. This book switches between three characters in a sort of diary format, but it's in the present tense. To me, this is especially odd because if I'm writing in a diary, I'd be writing about things that happened that day, so they would be in the past. In addition, each bit was only about a page or page and a half long, so I didn't feel like I was getting to know any of the girls. At all. I read about three sections from each of them and still felt disjointed and confused on what was happening and who I was reading about. All the girls (including the bully, the bullied, and the watcher) seemed extremely superficial, and I couldn't tell that anyone was supposed to be improving or growing. Also the English teacher was mean. I can't imagine a teacher making a student stand up and read a poem, let alone standing for when another girl laughed and made jokes. Seems like a teacher shouldn't do that.

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