Flash Reviews (2)

It has been a busy couple weeks.  Because I’m falling behind in my reading, my reviews are lagging as well.  That means it’s the perfect time to crank out a couple flash reviews!  Just to state this again, I got this idea from Sarah at GreenBeanTeenQueen (one of my favorite blogs).

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
412 pp.  Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4169-9174-8
Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads):

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe’s ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn’t Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca’s ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they’re being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Flash Review:

I don’t think I can praise Lisa Schroeder enough for her incredible talent.  She completely won me over with I Heart You, You Haunt Me and she did it again with Chasing Brooklyn.  I know I’ve only read two of her books, but I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be disappointed by one of her books.  Her writing is flawless and fluid.

I positively adored Nico.  He’s a character that girls will love.  I have a feeling that I could put this book in a boy’s hands and he’d enjoy reading it as well because of Nico’s character.  He’s honest, selfless and compassionate.  Watching the relationship between Brooklyn and Nico bloom was sweet and endearing.  The ghost story tied in was suspenseful and really added a fun element to the story.  I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
176 pp.  Walker Books for Young Readers (Bloomsbury) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-8027-2186
Source: ARC received from friend
Interest: 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Summary (From Goodreads): Andy is the janitor’s son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts—that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake’s locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn’t there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the two loners, Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there’s one secret that worries Andy more than anything—the date circled on Blake’s calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent? In a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence, debut author Ryan G. Van Cleave provides a unique, emotional perspective on how it feels to be the one who can prevent a tragedy.

Flash Review:

I was interested in reading Unlocked because it’s written in verse, which I’m trying to read more of, and because it deals with school violence, a high-interest topic in my classroom.  The verse was easy to read, but it wasn’t the most impressive verse I’ve read.  The characters’ emotions and the characters themselves fell flat.  I do think it’s a book that will spark an interest in some of my reluctant readers.  It’s also a novel that I know will invoke discussion among my students.  I can see my students this fall picking this book up and talking about whether they’d tell the truth or keep the secret hidden.  I’m sure they’d be able to relate to Andy and Blake on some levels as well.  Unlocked didn’t wow me, but I think it’s a book worth sharing with teens.  I gave this 3 out 5 stars on Goodreads.

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