Bookit Review: Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

I am starting my first Teen Advisory Group (TAG) this fall and I wanted to be able to book talk some of our new releases.  I picked this title up because It looked like a fast paced read (thick spacing between lines, and a fair amount of dialogue), and it also had a review blurb from the author Jay Asher who created a lot of stir with his book 13 Reasons Why about a young teen committing suicide because she was bullied.

From Goodreads:

Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author of The Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved.

I had never read any of Elizabeth Scott’s titles before but I did enjoy reading this book. Although, this term never appears in the story, Megan’s character is dealing with the medical condition Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I found Megan’s experience to be realistic, and was not surprised when I went on the author’s website and found out that she also suffered from this condition.  I appreciated that Scott wrote the story in first person from Megan’s perspective. Although, her character is not always likeable it makes the story more believable. Her parents and friends are trying to be supportive, but none of them have the guts to recognize her struggle and try and help her. However, two great supporting characters; her hot neighbour Joe and an elderly lady named Margaret, are able to see her struggle and help her get through it because of the hardships they have had to deal with in their own lives. Overall while it is an emotional story, I am happy to report that Megan’s character was not too emotionally intense! Sometimes the portrayal of young adult characters becomes annoying when they are constantly agonizing over some issue or another. Miracle does a great job at walking the line in conveying the struggle and pain of Megan’s character while keeping the story interesting and moving along.

I give it 4 out of 5

Happy reading,

Bookit

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Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go.

Expected Publication- October 1st 2012

With a little bit of action, adventure, fantasy, and dystopian elements, this book has a little bit of something for everyone—except me.  It was an OK read but most of the time, I was utterly confused.   Many bloggers have pointed out the similarities of the book to Lord of the Rings (however, I have no idea if this is true as I’ve never had any interest in LOTR whatsoever!)

At first, I was intrigued by the two differed worlds of the Colloquium and Magisterium (land of magic) and how the main character Glenn was connected to both.  However, the lack of explanations really started to bother me and the questions began to rise.  I also didn’t enjoy the amount of unimportant secondary characters.   They didn’t really play a big role and it was like one minute they were there and the next gone.  In the end, the storyline pacing was just a bunch of really strange things happening really quickly one after another.  It felt like I was reading about Hirsch’s crazy dream or bad drug trip!

The ending was also not in any way satisfying.   I detest that kind of cliff hanger! I would LOVE to hear if you liked this book and why.  I’ve never read anything by Jeff Hirsch before, so maybe I just don’t get him or the story he was trying to tell.

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Goodreads: Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.

 

Expected publication: October 1st 2012 by Scholastic

First things first–I’m really hoping that the publishers listen to us reviewers by replacing their cover model.  The model in no way represents Ever (even at her lowest weight).  This book is all about loving yourself the way you are, and it’s such a shame that the first impression and overall selling image is of a non-curvy girl.

I also could have done without the overdone Cinderella plot (with the two stepsisters, stepmother and all!) Although Cooner adds issues of self-esteem and body image into the mix, there is still the classic story running throughout the entire book.    It is the inclusion of Skinny (a voice inside of Ever’s head) that differentiates the book from others.  Even though Skinny isn’t a real person, she might as well be for overweight teen Ever.  As obesity rates climb, many readers will able to relate to Ever as they too, likely experience a sort of ‘Skinny’ that influences their daily lives.  When Ever undergoes risky gastric bypass surgery, I think Cooner did a good job at not glamourizing the surgery.  Information about the surgery is given in a non-preachy way and both the good and bad effects (physical/emotional) are presented.  It’s interesting to note that in the author’s acknowledgements, Cooner discloses that like Ever, she too underwent gastric bypass surgery.  This real life experience undoubtedly helped to create the emotional character of Ever.

Overall, gastric bypass will unlikely be a viable option for most readers, and I do wish that Cooner made Ever more thoughtfully consider the likelihood of complications and death. I feel like it was an easy fix.  However, as mentioned, many readers will be able to relate to ‘Skinny’ and the take away message about loving yourself and being confident in your abilities always serves as a great reminder to teens.

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