April 11, 2015

Abbreviations #6 | brown girl dreaming, Positively Beautiful + Alienated

It's mini-review time! First up is a non-fiction novel told in verse, a beautiful look back at one author's life as a young girl. Second is a YA novel that seemed pretty promising, only to fall flat in execution. And third is a YA novel that entertained me, even though it didn't reel me in completely.

brown girl dreaming book cover
brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2014
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

Readers who are in search of an engaging memoir should look no further than Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming. Woodson uses free verse to tell stories from her childhood, and her careful word choice + brevity only served to emphasize her emotions and impressions. She's really got a gift for capturing a moment, a thought, a feeling in a word or a phrase! Each set of verse is titled, and then sorted under a particular part of her life's timeline, resulting in a well-ordered set of memories from when she was a toddler to the cusp of her becoming an adult. In particular, I love two things the most: how her family, whether down South, in Ohio or in New York, shaped her as a person, and how words were such a big part of her life. If you're looking for something a little different, I'd highly recommend this memoir.

Positively Beautiful book coverPositively Beautiful by Wendy Mills
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the contents of my review.]

In the interest of transparency, Positively Beautiful is a novel I could have left unfinished. But the potential of this story - the discussion it inspires about cancer and genetics, the ensuing reflection on dealing with tough stuff like grief and anger - was hard to resist. There are indeed great moments slipped in, quotes that I returned to post-read and plot points that made me emotional. But these things made up very little of the actual story. The rest is filled with unnecessary elements, arranged haphazardly and with uneven pacing. What the author has attempted to write about is an important, necessary contribution to the genre. Unfortunately, the story execution was just not my cup of tea and affected any positive feelings I might have had.

Alienated book cover
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source/Format: Borrowed from Lili (Thanks!) || ARC

Alienated was definitely a great weekend diversion! It's a combination of this Romeo & Juliet-type romance, the YA high school experience and Animorphs levels of action and subterfuge. And yet, in spite of the pretty awesome comparisons I just made, it still failed to leave a lasting impression. The culprit, at least in my case, is the fact that I never really cared about Cara or Aelyx, at least not more than superficially. While it was definitely a unique story, it just never really hooked me the way I was hoping it would! Still, if the premise interests you at all, you should definitely give it a shot because objectively speaking, it's pretty dang good.


Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)