Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review of The Exiles

The Exiles, by Hilary McKay

4 stars

Description: So. These four sisters aren't exactly sweet little angels to begin with. Furthermore, their fiery knack for getting into trouble is tripled when they find out a surprise inheritance is apparently NOT theirs to buy a horse with (who wants a remodeled kitchen anyway?). On top of that, they are sent off on a forced vacation -- with the capable and therefore fearsome Big Grandma -- to keep them out of the way during the house renovations. And here, in this mischievous little book, we have the chronicle of that unbounded and outrageous summer.

Concerns: Well, it's a book about exceptionally -- and I mean exceptionally -- naughty kids. Little Women this is not. If you can get past that, otherwise worth noting is a swear word repeated a few times, and a gross story someone tells of finding a corpse.

Summary: The characters aren't role models. Forget it. Half the time, they aren't even well meaning. But somehow through all the wild escapades, by the end of the summer they've come to learn that maybe Big Grandma is somebody they care for after all. In between, we get a hilarious up-close look at the open warfare!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Book Review of The Westing Game

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

4 stars

What happens when you combine an enigmatic last will, queer characters, multiple bombs, and a handful of clues into a mystery where the winner takes all? It's worth reading to find out! Stocked with clever twists and turns in the plot, we follow as a houseful of quirky characters embark -- however unwillingly -- on a high-stakes mission to discover what really happened to the man who made the Westing fortune.

Concerns: Some speculation about the state of an imagined corpse are gross, particularly so combined with a kid in a Halloween costume of a witch.

Summary: The Westing Game is a fun and irreverent introduction into the literary world of mystery. Trying to keep ahead of the characters in their convoluted guessing game is both satisfying and infuriating -- my guess is you won't catch on to the final surprise! A slightly warped sense of humor or plain curiosity will keep you reading, even if only to find out what a purple wave is...