Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recent rejects

The Cruisers, by Walter Dean Myers

The deal:  I wanted so much to like this book. It's the first in what will apparently be a series, and it's about smart African American kids in Harlem.  There aren't enough books about African American kids who are really succeeding, especially for this age level.

How far I got: p. 46 (of 126)

Why rejected: The narrator--a black kid living in Harlem--doesn't have a believable voice.  He says things like, "I simply had to do my homework."  Who says that?  Even I don't say that and I'm lame. 

I often wonder if kids notice that stuff as much as I do, though.  It's a dealbreaker for me, and yet I can imagine recommending this book to some middle school kids.

Room, by Emma Donoghue

The deal: Boy is raised entirely in a single room because his mother is the captive and slave of a horrible, horrible man.

How far I got: Maybe about ten pages.

Why rejected: I didn't really reject this book, I just couldn't take it.  Sometimes I over-identify with book characters. I skipped to the end and read the last few chapters, then asked a friend what happened in the middle.

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