Horror addict, fantasy lover, YA apologist. I read way more teen series from the 80's/90's than I should. I really don't need another social network.
When all the books you had been waiting for on Open Library become available at the same time
I'm not gonna say this story was not predictable, because it was. And I'm not gonna say some moments didn't feel preachy, because they did. I do agree with the main characters' (and, I assume, the author's) opinion on the subject matters they discuss (except about From A Distance being a good song...), and they do bring up very relevant points and arguments, but the side that disagrees with them is represented by characters (at least at first) so ridiculous that it's impossible to give any credit to what they have to say. Have I met some Mark Brittains in my life? Absofreakinglutely. A whole damn bunch. This character was not unrealistic. But these are not allegories, these are discussions in a classroom; it kind of seems like all the author is doing is saying "this is how it is, look at those idiots who disagree with it" and I don't know; at times I disagreed with the "antagonists" even more passionately than the main characters did, and I still thought they deserved a better chance at defense. Did I still cheer internally when some truth bombs were dropped? Well, yep. I guess the whole thing was meant to criticize that type of brainswashing some people like Mark Brittain go through, but I wish it was done in a more clever, less heavy-handed way.
All of that said... I kind of loved this book. And I guess it was all because of the characters. When I finished it, I knew how much I would miss Eric, and Sarah Byrnes, and Ellerby, who should have been in more pages, and Ellerby's dad, who definitely should have been in more pages, and flawless queen Mrs. Lemry, who I wish was my teacher, or in my life at all. She could even be my swim coach, and I hate sports.
So, this book made laugh, and cry, and get really freaking tense, and really mad, and disturbed, and heartbroken, and hopeful. I kind of wish this was a series so I could spend more time with these characters. There's a whole strong message about heroes coming from unlikely places, and indeed, almost every character has their chance to shine, and push their boundaries, and be brave, even the ones you wouldn't expect.
It's also nice how it avoids unrealistic solutions in order to have a happier ending. It's very down to earth, but, at the same time, it's filled with hope. It's simple, but it's pretty quality YA.
I had been wanting to read this for a really long time because it was in a most challenged books list, and because of the title. You know, what if the boy did lose his face? That would be some crazy stuff I had to check out. Also, one possibility:
But are there witches in this book after all? Well, answering that would be a spoiler. But it is a nice story, with interesting characters, who are definitely not always nice people, but who, sometimes, still managed to made me root for them. The beginning, with the boys attacking the old lady, is honestly painful to read and I just wanted to throw them all in a dumpster and hug the lady. It never gets as bad as that again. Characters wise, David is rather bland, Larry is kind of an ass, and I loved Mo and Miss Williams, as stereotypical as they may be. Some parts are genuinely hilarious, and I was actually impressed at how a book with such a silly premise was able to get so many relevant points across. I'm still not sure whether I love or hate the very last pages. I guess they lend the story a surreal vibe, if anything. This book was a pretty good surprise, and it made me even more interested in checking out Holes (I am not a 10 year old, I did not just snicker at that) by the same author.
Ok, first of all...
So, is it safe to say that my love of witches has lead to, based only on title, read this book? Yes, yes it is. I did enjoy it better than the other Mary Downing Hahn book I had read, Wait Till Helen Comes. The main girl is an annoying brat, but she does go through an arc and learns something, in a very The Monkey's Paw-ish fashion. It's got a serious side and some nice lessons for kids, stuff like divorce is not the end of the world, families can come in many different ways, etc. There's also this one character who is a woman who lives happily alone in the mountains and everybody constantly asks her if she's really happy, and if she doesn't feel lonely, and she keeps saying that she is truly happy that way, but I thought it would all lead to her getting a boyfriend in the end or something, but nope! She ends the book living alone in her house, as perfectly fine as ever, and not giving a damn about anybody else's opinion! That was so cool!
The story is very simple, and once that Twyla character is introduced, it's easy to tell exactly what's gonna happen, but the real treat is the atmosphere, and the location, and, yes, the witch, who I did feel sorry for in the beginning, and even in the ending too. Fun little piece of 80's supernatural YA awesomeness.