Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction Book Review: Crime

*originally published on 05/24/2016

20649206THE BORDEN MURDERS: LIZZIE BORDEN AND THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY Written by Sarah Miller

2016; 304 Pages (Schwartz & Wade )
Genre: true crime, history, nonfiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

Rating:

In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home and their daughter, Lizzie is soon arrested. In this true crime book, Sarah Miller takes the reader on a linear look at the case from the moment the Bordens are murdered to when Lizzie dies. We sees the different theories that have been thrown around then and now.  Where the key players were and their motives. Miller also supplies some historical context of the time to gives us some ideas of what that time was like  It reads like a textbook rather than a story which is not a bad thing.  While the book is about crime and murder, it isn’t gory in details but I would pin this one at mid to late teens to adults. A must for any true crime buff…or one in the making!

 

24529123THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS Written by Marieke Nijkamp

2016; 285 Pages (Sourcebooks Fire)
Genre: suspense, crime, school shooting

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

Rating:

This novel is about a school shooting from the perspective of four students – two inside and two outside the auditorium where the gunman has them trapped.  I liked that it was told this way and that it was told within the minutes of the shooting to the end. I was interested in reading this novel because it told from the kids point of view and by an author who advocates diversity.  However, I was greatly disappointed with the plot and characters.  The shooter comes from an abused home and he is quite aggressive with everyone including his sister.  Therein lies his motivation and we get nothing more than he is an evil person….and he deserves all the bad things that have happened to him.  Everyone else is good.  They are all good people who have bad things happen to themThey stand up to the bad and are now doing well.  We don’t really find out any flaws or realism to any of the characters but very one-sided personalities.  I finished the book to see where it would go and if it would grow.  Unfortunately, the end does not get better.  It ends quickly without any feeling.  I rated it 1 star because of the ending where a student purposely stands up to the gunman when he didn’t need to.  When this kid is shot he thinks it is worth dying to tell the gunman what he thinks about him.  I walked away from this novel more disturbed by the book’s message then the school shooting.

 

Sexism: Two Book Reviews

*originally 05/18/2016

Men Explain updated paperback Cover.9MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME Written by Rebecca Solnit

2014; 130 Pages  (Haymarket Books)
Genre: nonfiction, social issues, gender

Rating: ★★1/2

Writer Rebecca Solnit uses humour in her scathing essay about how men converse with women.  Solnit demonstrates in her essay how men silence women and talk to them as if they know best.  As I read this essay I found many of Solnit’s examples were on point.  I have always hated the way men patronize women and “there there” them to lull them into silence.  And out of politeness we sometimes let them.  If we want change we have to stop letting it become normal and speak up…speak louder, clearer and with confidence.  Let’s see how I do. I would recommend this book to men and women – it is definitely eyeopening.

 

71Fd7n2M3NLEVERYDAY SEXISM Written by Laura Bates

2014; 384 Pages (Simon & Schuster)
Genre: nonfiction, social issues, gender

 Rating: ★

After being sexually harassed on a public transport Laura Bates takes to Twitter with a new project called, Everyday Sexism Project.  As a journalist she starts to collect stories from other woman and realizes how big and problematic this issue is.  Bates had women in every country, class, culture etc telling their story of sexism.  The one underling issue behind this was that because women were sexually harassed every day it becomes normalized. Things like being leered at, whistled or called out, groping in public in the day time, etc. Women don’t think others will care or see it as an assault.  Basically, being a woman and being in public is enough to get harassed.  Bates has said enough is enough.  We need to tell our stories so we don’t feel so alone and that it is not okay.  We will not accept this behaviour. In between Bates own writing we get many comments on Twitter as real life examples of what Bates argues in Everyday Sexism.

I took this book out hoping to read it over the next few weeks but found myself devouring it in one night. What makes this book so powerful and engaging is that these are real life women sharing things to let other women know they are not alone. It is a hard book to rate as it’s more of an informative guide that really makes you think. I will have more to say on the topic another time but as for this book, I recommend it to everyone.

 

Book Review: New Release for Harlan Coben

*originally published on 03/21/2016

26109394FOOL ME ONCE  Written by Harlan Coben

2016; 400 Pages (Dutton)
Genre: suspense, mystery, thriller

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★

I have been reading Harlan Coben’s novels since about 2002 and his stand alone novels have had me up nights racing to the end.  He has this great talent of building up suspense and not letting the reader breathe until the last page.  Even with his last novel, The Stranger  I had enjoyed the novel even though the end was messy and seemed a bit forced.  I had given the novel 3.5 stars.  In Fool Me Once we have a strong female lead yet I found it difficult to relate to her and found her a bit too hard.  Maya, a former Special-Ops pilot, is burying her husband after he murdered in front of her eyes.  In the war she saw many deaths but she never expected to lose first her sister and then her husband to murder.  Before she can grieve for her late husband she sees something on the nanny cam that changes her world. And soon she cannot tell what is real or not.

I was totally into the story until Maya confronts her nanny on what is on the nanny cam. While I found the novel easy to read as Coben is a great writer and I did feel his signature suspense, I just couldn’t buy all of the plot. This may be more of my issue than all readers as I was expecting something a little different. Some may think the twist is great but I saw the twist and thought it would go another way because it was too easy and yet unrealistic the way the book ended. Vague enough? I am also still contemplating the epilogue – I understand the purpose but it felt very out of place. I gave this novel 3 stars because I enjoyed the first half of the book, it kept me reading and it was suspenseful. I would recommend this novel to Harlan Coben fans because you appreciate all of Coben’s signature pieces. If you are a Coben virgin or new to him – I would suggest trying his earlier standalone novels first.