Background: Told from the point of view of two completely different high school students, Barbie and Dylan. Barbie is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and the lifestyle that comes with it. She is just trying to finish high school, grab her younger brother, and get out. Dylan is a high school nerd just looking to get through another year, when Barbie needs a math tutor to pass her class. He is swept into her crazy life and they bond when Barbie tries to repay him by trying to hook him up with the girl of his dreams.
Review: This book held a lot of ups and downs. Acosta did a very good job putting this plot together. The storyline makes the reader think and love and hate and laugh very easily. I have been reading more contemporary YA romance stories lately, and this one was a very fun one to read. The characters are entertaining. They are snarky and sarcastic and trying to shield themselves from the dangers of high school and the cliquey groups that exist in them.
I found the beginning very slow moving and the boy/girl alternating point of views a little confusing. I read this as an e-version and I am not sure if later there are subheadings to tell readers of the changes, but I would begin reading a chapter in her voice and realize it was not Barbie at all but really Dylan. I think this was my only issue and it made me go back and re-read a bit.
Barbie Girl is a book about learning about others and perceptions about others. I think that the romance and the YA drama were all kind of afterthoughts to this main aim of: don’t judge a person by rumors and their appearance. It was very thought provoking.
Background: Mitch was young when he discovered that he would turn out just like his father, a monster. Eden is in her twenties and isn't sure what is going on, she is sleepwalking and ending up in strange places, all of which seem to end up with Mitch. Together they realize that not all is as it seems.
Review: This adult read was amazing, straight from the beginning there is action and suspense and an eerie sense of learning about Mitch's affliction. Mitch seems to have his life together regardless and Eden is the polar opposite, she has no idea what is happening to her or why she is drawn to Mitch. I think this is why I enjoyed this read, the juxtaposition of the characters and their strange aliments. I found this a very interesting retelling/ progression of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.
Mitch and Eden's strange relationship is interesting and fun. I was a little put off by the sharp ending and the lack of explanation in some parts of the plot- I can only hope that the next installment will fill those gaps.
This is an adult read with graphic sexual scenes- be aware.
Background: Set in the woods three boys are ready for a normal weekend of cabin living and adventure, until one dark and stormy night they encounter a mysterious knock at the door that could be the worst thing for them. Will they be able to figure out the mystery of who stole the diamonds in town or will they be pulled into someone’s evil scheme in the woods.
Review: A Voice in the Night is a short story of about 40 pages, full of descriptors and painting a vivid picture of the surroundings to the reader. In a cabin in the woods Brian, Josh and Thomas are excited for a day of fishing and outdoor activities.
I had some issues with this tale, for one, how old are these boys? It reads like it should be for a Middle Grade early Young Adult genre but it never tells you, then a few pages in, you discover that the boys are in high school. That is fine, the only problem is that as you are in Brian’s train of thought he seems a lot younger.
A few other peeves I had where wording mistakes, and the names of the people. For example at one point the author is explaining how Brian’s parents care for Thomas and they spend “qualitative time” with him, instead of quality time (at least I think this was a mistake, otherwise I am confused). Then the families are all names with the same beginning letter: Brian Bradshaw and his parents Brenda and Bobby Bradshaw; Josh and his parents Jennifer and Jerald Joplin. It is a bit intense…not horrible just intense.
The plot is a little jumpy and confusing but the theme is not that bad. The boys are all very different, coming from various backgrounds and most of the first half is about Brian striving to meet his life goals and working hard to accomplish them. While this is a great plot for young readers, the story doesn’t flow all that well between the moments of reflecting on his accomplishments and the plot. The plot is a lot of fun, mysterious and creepy and I would have liked more pages dedicated to it. Based on the title and synopsis, the mystery is the main theme, but based on what is written the theme seems to focus on goals – this was the biggest issue for me.
Sadly, I do not think this was a flushed out and well edited story, after some tweaking I think it could be a wonderful short for young and reluctant readers.