Whisper

cover artChris Struyk-Bonn’s novel Whisper speaks loudly about many issues. It explores treatment of disabled children in a dystopian world where birth defects are growing in numbers but not in acceptance. The children are defined by their deformities and exploited as slave labour. Prejudice, abandonment, neglect, pollution, child prostitution, and unethical farming practices are all subjects explored.

Whisper’s hardships and adventures comprise a compelling plot, original characters, and thoughtful reflection. The description of her feelings towards her music, and it’s impact on others is symbolic of how art can help people communicate what they have difficulty putting into words. The value of art is also seen in Jeremia’s sculptures that are treasured by everyone.

Identity is a struggle throughout the novel. Whisper does not feel she belongs in any of the many places she lives. She is too ugly, too talented, too strange, too successful, too wild, too civilized…. The difficulty of finding the balance is something I think will go over well with teens who often are at a stage of figuring out who they are/want to be.

The pacing was a bit uneven. It lagged in a few places that could have been edited. However, the novel as a whole is successful in that it was entertaining but makes you think about the real world as well as the imaginary one it creates.

I think the most powerful and important part of this novel is Whisper’s refusal to hide who she is. She accepts herself and embraces her difference without allowing them to define her.

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First Day On Earth

*I received First Day On Earth  by Cecil Castellucci a submission for the YABA

This book is a shining example of how science fiction or fantasy can be down to earth. The story about a teen who believes he was abducted by aliens is actually about humanity. Abandoned by his father he looks after his alcoholic mother who suffers from debilitating depression.  Mal is a compassionate, insightful, loveable character. His outcast status at school gives him a good vantage point for analyzing the social circles from the outside. Hooper, a friend he meets in group therapy, comments on the impulsive and destructive sides of human nature in a frank way that avoids being overly preachy. It’s a gritty but quick read that will appeal to both guys and girls.  The only problem I have with the book is the title and back cover blurb, because they do not do it justice.

Gave me goosebumps

shiverShiver by Maggie Stiefvater was awesome. I may have been watching too much HIMYM because I say awesome a lot lately, but seriously it was a great book and here’s why:

  • It dealt with neglectful and abusive parents, doing a pretty great job at showing the child’s POV
  • The awkwardness of Grace’s evolving friendships with Olivia and Rachel was well written, touching on something a lot people face when they reach a certain age
  • The werwolf lore was different from any I am familiar with, and really interesting
  • It spoke to the nerd in me, with lines like “Books are more real when you read them outside” and fantastic descriptions of the book store and the candy shop (my 2 favourite places 😉 )
  • It was an easy read but with sophisticated language

I’m on the waiting list for Linger at the library