Showing posts from July, 2016

A Gripping, Suspenseful Crime Novel

With Malice by Eileen Cook (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016, 320pp.)

When Jill, an American teenager, wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the past two months, she learns several disturbing things. One: while she was on a school trip to Italy, she crashed a rental car and was rushed to a hospital back home. Two: Her best friend, Simone, was killed in the crash. Three: the Italian police say that the crash was a deliberate act of murder/suicide. Now they want her back in Italy to stand trial. Fortunately, she’s given permission to stay in America until she completes rehab, but she has to wonder: why was she driving a car on a school trip? What exactly happened?

Twist and turns abound in this suspenseful novel, which proves gripping to the very end. What makes the novel better than average is the author’s inclusion of police interviews and media transcripts, which allow us to see the story in the broader scheme of things, and thus provides for a more compelling reading experience. R…

"The Bachelor" Meets the Dystopian Fantasy Genre

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass (HarperTeen, 2012, 336pp.)

Decades in the future, the United States is no longer a democracy. The government is ruled by a monarchy, social castes are the norm, and teen girls everywhere are obsessed with a government-sponsored competition known as the Selection. This months-long televised event documents the struggle of 35 young women to win the hand of the next prince.

Against this backdrop, America “Mer” Singer, the daughter of poor musicians, reluctantly submits an application for the competition after Aspen, the love of her teenaged life, breaks up with her. She knows that her chances of getting chosen are infinitesimally small, but the promise of a generous stipend, but the opportunity to vault their family into prestige and power, is too much for her ambitious mother to let her pass up.

Against all odds, America’s application gets pulled for the running. She’s not really interested in Prince Maxon, of course. She’s still in mourning …