Friday, 18 September 2015

Book reviews: Contemporary

I'm not really a contemporary girl, but there have been a few that I've enjoyed.

Whisper by Chrissie Keighery - after contracting a freak disease, the main character becomes deaf and has to adjust to her new life in silence. It's not often we see novels about people with disabilities, so it was interesting to see a new perspective and learn about a different way of life. The MC's voice was well done, and she was interesting and relatable.




The Invisible Hero by Elizabeth Fensham - a class has to research different heroes and give a report. While the premise isn't terribly interesting, the novel did make me think about what it means to be a hero. It had it where it mattered; it made me think. 


The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis - in my mind this has become a classic. After Parvanna's father is arrested, she must pretend to be a boy in order to feed her family in an Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The biggest selling point for me was the cultural understanding that this book gave. The author had spent some time in Afghanistan, and it shows through the details of the culture and country given in the novel. I must admit that I'm largely ignorant of what life is actually like in the Middle East, and this book did a fantastic job of filling in some gaps. The novel is both simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, told through the point of view of a girl who just wants her family back. The first of a trilogy. 




Loser by Jerry Spinelli (author of Stargirl) - ok, this is a middle grade novel for sure, but it still breaks my heart. We read it for our novel study in grade six, and it's remained one of my favourites. Zinkoff sees the world a little differently from the rest of us; there are furnace monsters in the basement, earwax candles to be made and track and field events to train for. Granted, most of the school sees him as a loser, but in the end, what makes you a loser, and what makes you a winner? Zinkoff is the sweetest boy you'll ever meet, and you can't help but fall in love with him. He tries so hard, like pouring his heart into track and field training, but still acts as if he's won the world when his team loses (because of him). This book is just too beautiful. (Stargirl is also beautifully heartbreaking.)


Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick- this one is a middle grade novel that we did a novel study on in grade seven. Two boys, one who has too much brawn and not enough brains and another who is the exact opposite become fast friends in order to survive a world that's stacked the odds against them. This is another novel that broke my heart. The boys get into all kinds of crazy adventures, but in the end they find out that sometimes friendship isn't always enough to change the world, but sometimes all you need is each other. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. 

6 comments:

  1. Hmm, I usually don't do much with contemporary, but these all sound interesting, especially Whisper and Loser and Freak the Mighty. Great reviews!

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    1. Yeah, I'm usually more of an action/explosion kind of girl myself, but I find the occasional gem. If you ever see them I'd totally recommend grabbing them. Thanks!

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  2. I don't usually read a lot of contemporary, but lately I've read a few contemporary novels that I've REALLY loved so I want to read more in the genre. Sometimes I just need a light and fluffy read.

    Oh! I read the Breadwinner for school such a longggg time ago. I remember being very, very frustrated at the ending because they never really revealed in the ending who the woman in the window was?! So I hated that book for the rest of the school year. xD

    Katie Grace | A Writer's Faith

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    1. I agree, contemporary is good when you're not in the mood for evil villains and taking over the world.

      Oh, I'm sorry you hated The Breadwinner! I guess it's just not for everyone. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. We read Freak the Mighty in sixth grade, and it was very, very sad. :( I'm not really into contemporary, but I can see why these ones stand out to you!

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    1. It broke my poor little heart :( Yeah, I'm more of an action explosion type of person but a few contemporaries have stolen my heart.

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