July 16th, 2010

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Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

The Blurb On The Back:

”War,” says the Mayor. “At last.”

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others.

Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape.

As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?

But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge ...

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The Verdict:

It’s only because THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO and THE ASK AND THE ANSWER are such amazing reads that MONSTERS OF MEN is a bit of a disappointment. It is a flawed book – sagging in some areas and with elements that don’t work – but the ideas and the scope keep you reading and it’s worth it to get the conclusion to Todd and Viola’s story.

Cross-posted to cool_teen_reads and yalitlovers.
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Desperate Measures by Laura Summers

The Blurb On The Back:

”‘Jamie and me have run away,’ said Rhianna, ‘and now you can too, Vicky.’

I took her hand in mine. It was freezing.

When we first started school, they thought Rhianna could manage without any help. But every morning, Mum would whisper to me, ‘Keep an eye on your sister, Vicky.’

So I did. I looked out for her. Kept the bad kids away. Protected her from danger. And now Mum was dead. I would always have to look out for her.

For ever and ever, amen.”

Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn’t be more different. For their fourteenth birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a furby. Instead, they get a nasty shock. Their foster parents can’t cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their youngest brother Jamie will have to be split up.

How can they stay together?

Desperate times call for desperate measures ...

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The Verdict:

Nominated for the Watersone’s Children’s Book Award, Laura Summer wins credit for writing a book that has a brain-damaged character in a central role and for writing from their perspective. However it is a simplistic story with very black and white characters and the fact that it doesn’t seem to tie in with real life dealings with, e.g. social workers, may well put the target teen audience off (although I would recommend it to readers age 9+).

Thanks to Piccadilly Press for the free copy of this book.

Cross-posted to cool_teen_reads, kiddie_lit, middlebooks and yalitlovers.