It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
Last Week’s Book:
Only one book finished again this week. I am finding I take longer to read e-books than print books. Too many distractions on the iPad, I think. Even though I charged my Nook, I still haven’t put it back into regular use. I think I’ll see if that helps.
The book I read was Frenzy by Robert Lettrick. I was intrigued by the Netgalley description of this horror novel for middle grade/YA readers, so I thought I would give it a try. The setting is a summer camp, where our protagonist, Heath, and friends (and enemies) are having a pretty typical experience until the animals start to exhibit rabies-like symptoms and to attack humans. One bite from an affected creature instantly kills the victim. This happens very much at the beginning of the novel, so the bulk of it is Heath and other campers fleeing to safety–and getting picked off in gruesome ways on their journey. Interestingly, the animals are deathly afraid of water, so much so that they die when doused with it. The campers learn that fact early, and it greatly assists in their escape efforts.
The horror scenes were very well done–with suspenseful build-up, narrow misses, and gory hits. However, there were a few things about the book that fell a little flat for me. Throughout the story there are hints that something is wrong with Heath, including a big one when another camper, Will, sees the OxyContin roll out of his bag. Heath asks Will not to tell, and says that the camp supervisors don’t know about it. Later on it is revealed that Heath’s cancer has moved out of remission and he is refusing treatment. I can’t suspend disbelief enough to think that Heath’s parents would send him to camp without disclosing such a serious medical condition to the adults in charge and giving such a strong pain medication directly to the nurse. I also find the fate of the antagonist, Will, somewhat problematic. Will is set up from the beginning as a brilliant but manipulative person. More than once Heath and Will discuss whether Will is orchestrating events to ensure his own survival, even if that means sacrificing others. At the climax of the book, Will seems to put himself in danger by leading the animals away while the others make it to a building. This seems out of character for him, so I expected something to come of it later, but at the end of the story Will is found dead from bat bites and no further explanation is given It seems like maybe his character just needed to be out of the way for the ending, which is a shame since the dichotomy between Heath and Will is so strong throughout the rest of the story.
This Week’s Books:
I am reading the anthology Friends, edited by Ann M. Martin and David Levithan to see if I want to use any of the stories in my intervention class. I have only one class this last quarter, so my time in the library is greatly increased!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 I also plan to start Half Bad by Sally Green, which I got from Netgalley so long ago that now the book is published…sigh….