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D.M. Anderson has enjoyed writing for most of his life. At first, it was to please his teachers, writing poetry or his own versions of stories and movies which inspired him. He was first published at the age of 13 in Highlights for Children, which featured a poem he wrote when he was 11. Later, he wrote to amuse his friends, penning stories and drawing cartoons with the intent of making them laugh or grossing them out. Inspired by Stephen King, Anderson later persued the horror genre, eventually publishing several dark tales in various small press magazines. Later, as a middle school Language Arts teacher, developed an interest in reading - and later writing - young adult fiction. Killer Cows, an homage to the old drive-in sci-fi movies he loved as a kid, is his first young adult novel. Since then, he has explored other YA genres, including action (a disaster novel titled Shaken) and horror (The Dark Ride). His future plans also include a sequel to Killer Cows.
D.M. Anderson currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two daughters, two cats and a neurotic dog. He teaches Language Arts at a local middle school, which is where he developed his interest in reading - and later writing - young adult fiction of various genres. When he isn’t teaching or writing, Anderson enjoys staying up late watching horror movies with his oldest daughter, and accompanying his youngest to her swimming lessons. Other interests include NASCAR, heavy metal music, zombies and Disneyland.
on Jan. 12, 2012 :
Shaken is a young adult short adventure story about 3 teens before, during and after a major earthquake. Each has their own issues same as most teens, the biggest quake to hit the states presents them with new issues to deal with. Combine these and you have a story that grabs you.
The author does a great job with the characters, well fleshed out no issues there. The quake could well have been substituted for any other disaster the characters are the focus here. Those looking for a good clean safe read for kids will like this one. No potty language (okay two words), no acts that are too over the top that a teen couldn’t read it.
My own personal issue with the book was the language used. Very, very unrealistic I don’t know any teens that speak the way these kids do. Perhaps in the 70′s but today’s kids don’t even in thought use the word courting. Yeah it’s dating, hanging out, seeing each other etc etc but courting went out about 50 years ago. Also who the hell says I bonked my noggin? I mean clean read okay but these are so over the top it’s beyond realistic. Zombie Apocalypse is more likely to break out than a teen to say that his step dad courted his mom.
Also who’s point of view is this from?
Mom and Dad made a quick run to the nearest grocery store for supplies, leaving Natalie to look after her little sister.
I liked the story, I liked the characters. I had issue with the way the characters spoke from time to time. The point of view issue was only the once that I noticed but stuck out for me so much so that I made it a point to mark a place so I could reference it in my review.
What worked was the story. I don’t read super fast but breezed through this one and enjoyed it. The story kept me interested as well as the characters. I’d recommend this book for those into disaster, YA and those in particular looking for something “safe” for their kid to read. Granted that’s subjective but my personal view is that it is.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 03, 2012 :
I LOVE disasters movies. Which really makes no sense, because I'm a pretty stressed person and if a disaster ever hit I'd probably curl up in bed with my stuffed frog and a shit-ton of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But I'll watch disaster movies until the cows come home. I love watching how people deal with horrific situations and how they come out on the other end, changed. For me Shaken was like a disaster movie in a book. It had all the elements that I love and then some.
I read Shaken in two sittings. It probably would have been devoured in one, except that I read it a few days before Christmas so I was a bit distracted with wrapping gifts and such. It was an intense read, what with the earthquake and all. But I just couldn't put it down. I needed to know what happened to these three teens and others that were in the book.
The way Anderson described the earthquake, and what happens after, made me feel like I was watching it happen. I could feel the tension, the hope, the desperation as characters struggled to deal with the aftermath and trying to survive. My heart was pounding during certain scenes, breaking during others.
Now, I don't want you to think that this was just an action book, because that's so not the case. There was some nice character development in Shaken. I enjoyed watching the teens grow and realize who they really are. I felt for these characters and I cared what happened to them.
Shaken was just a great all around read. For fans of disaster movies, disaster books and just great YA books, I recommend Shaken.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 20, 2011 :
Post trauma stories fascinate me. Imagine your world falling apart. What do you do? How do you survive? Do you let yourself fall apart? Do you do whatever it takes to survive? Do you find in yourself the strength to help others or crawl over their dying backs?
In Shaken, the story follows three teens who face these challenges. After a traumatic earthquake shakes the western coast of America, a small beach community tears asunder. One teen is a native, the other two are visitors who would have passed through with a few memories in normal life.
D.M. Anderson writes for teenagers using their slang and often showing an insight to their thoughts and maturity level that someone without access to teens regularly lacks. I felt sometimes he let too much slip into his narrative and weakened the flow of the story but luckily, the plot line contains plenty of action to keep a reader turning pages to find out what happens next.
For my cautious readers: I felt the story contained enough villainous acts to maintain a sense of danger without crossing the line into adult material. I only remember one word that would be considered profane. All in all, I am comfortable recommending this book to parents as a discussion book.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Dec. 17, 2011 :
The title of this young adult novel refers obviously to the earthquake which provides its main conflict—but also obliquely to the effects of the novel’s events on the lives of the three teens followed by the narrative. The story includes moments of high drama and survival (or, in the case of some characters, failure to survive) but its more understated themes deal with human lives and emotions, and the ways in which a person’s outlook can be shaken by encounters with other people.
Listed as a Young Adult novel, Shaken is a teen-friendly read which occasionally forgoes grammatical correctness in favor of teen vernacular, and its author is clearly familiar with the world view and minds of young adults. (Reading the author bio after finishing the novel, it came as no surprise that D.M. Anderson teaches middle school; his writing reveals that he understands both the complexities and the limitations of teenage viewpoints.)
Anderson writes with commendable balance, combining the excitement and drama of an unfolding crisis with the personal moments of character-defining decisions and realizations, and he manages not to be heavy-handed even in moments where a character or situation conveys a “lesson.” His characters illustrate the ways in which media-steeped young people compare real experiences with the impressions and assumptions they’ve taken away from TV and video games, as the young characters themselves use media fictions as reference points while they arrive at realizations about their own lives and about other people.
There’s no “do-over” button in life, as there is in a video game—and yet, people can make new choices rather than let themselves be defined by their pasts, and sometimes there’s even a chance for redemption. If that sounds a little “heavy” for a young adult action story, this is where Anderson’s skill in avoiding heavy-handedness comes so admirably to light. Shaken offers a compelling storyline made richer by its subtle undercurrents.
More than anything, Shaken is an enjoyable read. Its characters (with the exception of a couple nastier folks who fall somewhat short of three-dimensional) are believable and interesting, the story features moments of humor, and the pace of action doesn’t drag even with the inclusion of more introspective moments which could have dragged the plot to a halt in another writer’s hands. If Anderson managed to sneak some teaching-moments into his action tale—well, he is a teacher. Judging by this novel, he’s probably an effective one.
(reviewed the day of purchase)