Title: Kindness for Weakness
Author: Shawn Goodman
Release Date: May 14, 2013
First Line: “White-clad paramedics run alongside the gurney, guiding me through the electric gates of the facility and across the parking lot, where a helicopter awaits.”
“A fifteen-year-old boy from an abusive home desperately seeking his older brother’s love and approval starts pushing drugs for him and suffers the consequences.” – from goodreads.com
My thoughts: I don’t really know how to review this book. It’s not a genre I normally read. I really liked James, but the hopelessness of his situation was really depressing. It was almost a relief for him to be sent to a juvenile corrections facility. His mother is basically non-existent, his stepfather abusive, and his older brother, who for some reason James looks up to, is a total douche (excuse my language). James is hungry and tired, with no means of transportation aside from his worn-out shoes. Instead of helping him, his brother basically sets him up. At least when he’s in juvie, he’s getting food and sleep. But then that situation takes a much darker turn as well. Although there are a couple of well-meaning guards the boys interact with, most of them are cruel and ridiculous, making for a horribly vile environment. Shawn Goodman apparently has some direct experience with kids in juvenile detention, but I don’t know how realistic this book, and its heartbreaking ending, really is. I certainly hope the outcome wouldn’t be the same in the real world, but if Goodman’s intention is to bring attention to the hopelessness of some of these boys’ lives, then I think he did so. It scares me that boys like James could end up here.
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5
Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Release Date: March 26, 2013
First line: “Mama says no matter how poor folks are, whether you’re a have, a have-not, or break your mama’s back on the cracks in between, the world gives away the best stuff on the cheap.”
“A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.” – from the book jacket
My thoughts: There are some very uncomfortable situations to read through in this book, but I think Murdock did it in a way to minimize that discomfort as much as possible while still giving the reader the full impact of what happened. I found it interesting how the places of the parents change as you figure out just how sick Carey’s mother really is, and how much she has been lied to throughout her entire life. I’m glad that Murdoch allowed her and Janessa to find some peace in a family that was entirely normal after the horrible way they had been living for years. As the revelations came to light bit by bit about just how sickening their mother had treated them, it was a relief as the reader to feel trust for the adults now in their lives.
This book is a difficult read in some parts, but it manages to be a beautiful story of strength and family while at the same time being a horrifying story of abuse and neglect. It definitely reminded me how grateful I am for the parents I have.
Kept me interested: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5