Friday, December 24, 2010

Second Impressions: Mock Printz Edition

One of the things I most appreciate about doing Mock Newberys and Mock Printzs is the chance to go back and re-read books. The first time you read something you have a reaction that you base your opinion on, but I find that when I re-read something I'm less dependent on my mood and whatever else was influencing my reading experience. On the re-read you really see more of the style and quality of the book while also seeing what the author hoped to accomplish much clearer. Having said that I sometimes find I love a book more and I sometimes find a book falls apart because the momentum is gone.

I just finished re-reading two of our Mock Printz books and I think my opinions have shifted some on both of them...and in different directions.

I found You to be even more impressive. The writing really held up and I think I appreciated the story more. The foreshadowing is so incredibly evident, more so when you already know how it ends, but that actually let me see the way the pieces of the story fit together. And they fit together incredibly well. I found the second person narrative less jarring this time around. I found Kyle to be an even sadder person. I still loved the themes of personal responsibility and I still wonder if Zack isn't too much of a evil genius. Spoiler --> that final scene he's practically rubbing his fingers together like Mr. Burns. Spell it out for me Scooby Doo bad guy! But at the same time I liked the interplay between him and Kyle. But! BUT! He took Kyle's job, his girl, and got his locker searched for drugs? Why the triple whammy? Wouldn't one have been enough? Too much I think. <--end of spoilers.

As for Nothing I think I was less impressed. The kids are 13 or 14 ish, but the girl who is writing it sounds far too young. I kept having to remind myself that our narrator isn't 9. It jarred me out of the story more than once. And the way she would use words to illustrate her opinion irritated me. "Dark. Darker. Afraid of the Dark." I didn't find that it added anything to the story except to make our narrator sound even younger. Perhaps that was the point? And if it was, why?

I found the story to hold up on the suspense and the slow building of the most grotesque conclusion in any teen book I've ever read. Which serves to make me very divided on this book. One the one hand I think the story is handled masterfully, the single lines on the end/beginnings of chapters was hands down brilliant. Had the lines been tacked onto the end/beginning of a paragraph they would have lost their power. It was the single line on a blank page that really drove the point home. "She shouldn't have done that." Gah! Seriously Frickin' OMINOUS!

This book is perverse and grotesque and true about human nature in a way that is unflinching and painful. This is not a happy ending (ha!) but it was an ending which, I think, was the point of the story and it was done for more than simple shock value. So thumbs up on that. Thumbs down on the weird narrative quirks.

Book Source = both Library Copies


Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Ah, the luxury of a re-read! I don't get to do that as often as I'd like.

Patti said...

I'm usually too concerned about reading a new book to re-read. It really is a luxury!