Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Haint Misbehavin' by Maureen Hardegree

It’s tough being 14.  It’s even tougher if you’re 14, you have hyper-sensitive skin that breaks out in rashes and hives when you’re stressed, and you have an obnoxious older sister with evil friends who harass you endlessly.  It could be worse though, as Heather Tildy discovers in Haint Misbehavin, you could have a mischievous ghost to deal with.  Heather discovers her ghost, Amy Malcolm, in the back yard one day.  Heather accepts having her own ghost, since her Aunt Geneva has one herself, but she is not pleased by the proposition.  Heather has set a goal of being normal before she enters high school the following year and, just maybe, winning the love of hunky lifeguard Drew.  Amy is putting a major kink in those plans.
Haint Misbehavin’ will be a major hit with girls.  It offers humor, a bit of mystery, and romance.  Heather is a likeable and believable protagonist, and her family provides some comic relief as well.  Female readers will identify with trying to fit in and catch the perfect guy.  This is book one in the Ghost Handler series.  If the other titles are as humorous and fun, the series should be a big hit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution is a riveting page turner of a book.  Andi has never recovered from the death of her little brother, although the reader doesn't really understand her guilt over the event.  Her parents have also been unable to deal with the tragedy, each retreating in a different way.  When Andi discovers the diary of a young woman who lived during the French revolution, she becomes obsessed with the girl and her deeds.  The lives of the two young women parallel in many ways.

Modern fiction, historical fiction, romance, and mystery all play a part in this book.  I highly recommend it!

A Confession about The Confession by John Grisham

I really did not like The Confession by John Grisham.  All of the trade reviewers raved about it, calling it face-paced and a page turner.  The basic story involves an innocent man on death row who is about to be executed.  Can the execution be stropped in time?  It does keep you reading.

The problem with this book, as with so many of Grisham's recent legal thrillers, is that there is not a single truly likeable character.  In Grisham's early books, the protagonist was often flawed, but you could still pull for him.  In this book, the death row inmate, Donte, has given up on life.  His attorney, who one would expect to be the hero, is so deeply flawed that it's impossible to really care about him.  The minister who gets sucked into this crisis is also impossible to really like.

This book reads more as a diatribe against the death penalty in general and the Texas criminal system in specific.  It is perfectly acceptable for a fiction work to have a message, but it should have more to offer than that!