Saturday, June 22, 2019

Short and Simple Reviews: Wish, Earth to Charlie, and Hope & Other Punchlines

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.
  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

I picked this book up because it looked like a heartfelt MG book featuring the love of dogs. This book wasn't quite what I expected. I thought the dog would be more prominent. There was a bit where Charlie decided that the stray wondering around would become hers, but this was over really quickly so it wasn't as much of a dog book as I expected. That being said, this was still a wonderful book. It talks about some difficult things, such as family issues, but it is discussed in a voice that fits the age of the MC. I really liked Charlie and it made my heart hurt at times because she wanted a family and was prone to being angry. Overall this was a quick read and this would certainly be an MG book that I would recommend.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing

Earth to Charlie
A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. 

Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles.

Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Despitory

I picked up this book mainly because it looked like a mix of aliens (one of my older obsessions) and contemporary (one of my newer obsessions). To be honest, with that combination I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. This book is high on contemporary, less on the aliens, but Charlie (our MC) firmly believes that his mother was taken by aliens and that the aliens are coming for him as well. This idea is in the background of the story as Charlie goes to school and makes a new friend, Seth. I really liked the realism in this book. The pacing is pretty slow and not a whole lot happened, but it felt so much like it was showing us real experiences. I loved seeing the growing friendship between Charlie and Seth and I even loved Charlie's interactions with his neighbor and his dog Tickles. Everything just felt authentic, so the fact that not a whole lot happened, made things feel more real. Overall, this is a fantastic debut novel and I will keep my eyes open for any other books by Justin Olson. 
I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: I really liked it

Hope and Other Punchlines

Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.

Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.

Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.

Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?

It took me a little bit to get into this book. It's from dual POV and at first, the chapters were so brief, especially Noah's, that it was hard to get the emotional connection. I ended up really liking this book, even though it is not my favorite by Julie Buxbaum. The narratives of both characters was powerful and I like some of the topics this book discussed, such as the separation of a photograph from a person and how a major event (such as 9/11) affects those who have no memory of the event. I liked how the story flowed and how Abby and Noah teamed up to find the other people in the photograph. I do wish that this book was not a romance but that's just because I've been getting tired of romance in YA lately. 

I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: I really liked it

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