Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Mini-Reviews: Age Appropriate

I'm convinced these kids today don't realize how good they have it.  I LOVED mystery/suspense as a kid, which meant once I outgrew Lois Duncan and Nancy Drew I basically had to run to the adult area of the library to get my fix.  There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is basically a teen slasher movie in book format.  The heroine, Makani Young, was living with her worthless parents in Hawaii before Something Happens and she's shipped off to grandma's in Nebraska.  Needless to say, she hates it. But she's made a couple of friends and has a blossoming romance with the loner kid (Ollie) who dyed his hair pink because it was "something to do."

But something sinister is lurking in the corn fields.  A serial killer is murdering her classmates.  Before he brutally knifes them to death?  He toys with them.  He breaks into houses, moves things around, and has the victims' thinking they're losing it.  I now know that egg timers are sinister and knives that you leave in the sink that magically end up in the dishwasher are OMG SCARY!!!!!

This starts out great but ends up losing steam.  For one thing, I grew up in a town like Makani.  My high school graduating class was around 170 kids.  I knew everybody in my class (even if I didn't "hang out with them") and a decent chunk of the kids in the grades higher or lower.  Was I BFFs with everybody?  Of course not. But I knew what type of students they were, what clubs they were in, who their friends were etc. etc. etc.  If a police officer were to show up and question me, I could give them something even if it was bare bones info.  The author skirts this by making Makani a newcomer but I still didn't buy it.  When you're a kid in a small town you just KNOW 99% of the student body.

The town's and the adults' response to a serial killer brutally murdering teens strains credulity more often than not.  The town never goes into lock-down mode. School isn't cancelled immediately after the second kid is MURDERED IN A LOCKER ROOM!!!  I don't expect 100% realism in a slasher story but c'mon!

Also the author decides to reveal who the killer is around the halfway mark and this goes from mystery to thriller.  That's fine until the SUPER rushed ending.  If ever a book needed an epilogue, this one did.  It's good, but dagnabit, it could have been great!

Final Grade = C+

Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries world is my happy place.  It's like flying unicorns farting out rainbow sprinkles while I'm gorging myself on cupcakes with pink frosting.  You will pry this world out of my cold dead hands!  Royal Crown is the fourth book in the middle grade series that follows Princess Mia's half-sister, Olivia.  In this book Olivia is dealing with her frenemy and cousin, Louisa being...well, Louisa and her BFF from New Jersey, Nishi, visiting.  The drama here is that her friends are "maturing" faster than she is (OMG, Olivia hasn't kissed her friend-who-is-a-boy yet?!  OMG, Olivia doesn't have her period yet?!?!?).  Added to this is drama surrounding Mia's coronation ceremony and the girls deciding to start a Royal Babysitting Service.

This started out a little slow and bumpy for me, but it picks up steam.  Look, is Cabot rehashing some ground she covered in the earlier Mia books?  Yeah. But some things are just universal when it comes to tweens/teens and the whole "my friends are more 'grown-up' than I am" is definitely one of those things.  It all conveniently works out in the end (a bit too conveniently but heck, this is a story geared towards a tween audience not a cranky old lady like myself!) and I had a great time revisiting this world because...of course I did.  Lemon Drop needs to get maybe another year older and I'm so going to be starting her on this series.

Final Grade = B

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