Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Book Review: Whispers in Graveyard by Theresa Breslin

This book might have been written for me if only for a few things.If it was Harder core and female lead.

They want me to join them. All I have to do is to reach out to them...

Nobody understands Solomon's dyslexia. The only place he feels safe in the old graveyard, under the rowan tree. But when the workment uproot the tree, a dark and terriflying power is released, and only only Solomon can stop it...

Whispers in the Graveyard won the Carnegie Medal, and has became a modern classic of children's literature.

This book has Graveyard in the title and main character dyslexia. If you've been playing attention then you'll know I am dyslexic (which explains weird spelling and grammer mistakes) and that if book has a graveyard in it I specifically tag it. Also Graveyards because character limits. It's a thing I have been doing since 13 February 2013. So of course, I checked this book of the library.

This book was written purely for Dyslexia by a librarian. I also stopped at Dyslexia so didn't see the modern classic bit. So once I started I checked when this book was written which as 1994.  Two years before Dunblane shooting where at lot of laws changed. It's of its time, but not in a bad way, it was just odd going in thinking this was a modern contempory and not realising that is was when it came out 23 years ago. When I was tiny and cute. So I'm talk a little abit about Dyslexia during this time and whether it get's it right.

So I was dynosis when I was eight meaning sometime in 2001, but had been probably going through tests since 1999 so 5 years after this book was published. Solomon has his eyes tested, colour tested, and hearing. I don't remember getting my hearing tested (nor does my mother). But my eyes were tested several times and remember doing the colour blindness tests a lot. Dyslexia was the thing during time, then it was ADHD (my headteacher was convinced what I had, though I had none of the symtoms). Now it's Autism, which basically means people know what it is in theory but also not at all.

So the writer has done their research. Do I think it is captured well? Not really, but kinda of. So I was dynosised just for having Dyslexia when I was eight, but also then Autism when I was Twenty-Two so my symtoms overlap. The crumsness of Dyslexia is there, but he never get offically dysnosised. There's just a wonder teacher that realises his disability.

My worst compliant about this book is that there's speech by the Wonder teacher that says dyslexia is not a dysabily. Oh, honey I just wrote Disabily completely wrong and I will forever miss-spell basic words. I live in a world with google and voice reconsigation solfware and you didn't know those things were coming. Dyslexia is a Learning Disability. It's a disabiltiy. Calling it a difficulty as those two thing don't mean the same thing in this situation, is missing the point. It's like getting upset when someone calls a novel a book. Yes, two different defintions. A book can be a non-fiction or a collection of short stories but novel always come in book form whether e-book, physical or a stack of maginze. Not that last one so much now and the best of those ended in up physical book form. It's ablelism. A Disability is something about your body that makes life more difficult for you than people who don't have the disability, that can be how brain processes things or that you can't walk unassisant. Being Dyslexia obvious never use be a big deal when most people were illeratiate and didn't go to school. You were just crumsy and had bad joints (yeah, those are dyslexic symtoms). However, you can be a real disadvantage now. A lot of Daily Life is reading whether that's paperwork or just trying to watch YouTube videos. Disability is not a dirty word. I know this was written over 20 years ago but I don't think enough people realise that now either. I say this as someone who could just passes as a bad speller most of the time and can read most things unaided. It's re-creating the written word I mess up (then there's the Autism and the thing that making my hands go dumb as I try to write this).  Also Beslin made the main character a boy because Statistically more boys have it, so sterotypeing then.

There's a lot of other issues going on. Solomon's mother has left the family home due to Solomon's father being abusive Alchoalic and then there's the ghost in the graveyard. Also this book is set in Scotland somewhere. Probably Central Belt. He love his local Graveyard, which is next to Kirk (church) which how I realise that this was set in Scotland. There also an evil entry connected to Scotland's past (go on guesss what it could be linked on, if you know anything about Scottish Supernatural history then you're get it, but I'll leave out because it kinda spoiler). There is a lot for a book less than 200 pages and some stuff does feel underdeveloped. The graveyard and Solomon's home life storylines don't fit that nice together. Hell, the evil enty doesn't even specifically want/need Solomon. Anyone in theory could have stopped it. The plot kinda works, but I think it just need more developed or more character agrency in the plot. Things just kinda come to point and that's that. This book is set in a Primary school so I probably should be less forgiving about the plot but I found it in the YA Section of the library. That was probably a mistake like the time I found R.L. Stine's one adult novel there too.

It has horror elements in it, but it's not scary hence the P5 main character (9 years-old). Horror didn't come to mind till I saw other people call it horror in the review. But I was already desenstive to any horror by the time I was in P5. The idea I like, the excuation not so much. It's fine, some of it works. Someone does die in there's that.

Solomon is pretty defined by his Dyslexia. He doesn't have any other characterisation. The story is told in his POV. Even the Dyslexia side is surface level. No one really does have much characterisation. His dad is probably the one with the most depth. The wonder teacher is unrealistic try hard. Also shows up at student's house which also how you know it was written in the 90s. Pretty sure you can't just take a kid out of his normal class on a hunch, even if his teacher is terrible and kicks him most of the time.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Rowan Berries. I think the dyslexia is really all this book has going for it. Of the other Carnegie Medal winners I have read, it doesn't match up to them. I would like this book if his teacher had Dyslexia. I felt like it was building to that in places but she doesn't. It's an okay protayal of dyslexia and his homelife is the better part of the book. The magic part doesn't work. I would love a book with magic with Dyslexia or any other disabiled character published in the main steam but this wasn't great on the supernatural side. However, this book is less than 200 pages and is worth a read if anything that I have said interested you. While I wanted better it's fine for its intented age group, not amazing but worth the read. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Book Review: Kid Swap by Michael Lawrence

I hated this book. I hate people who condescending to kids this does both.

Jiggy is horrified to hear that his parents have signed him up for a reality TV show called Kid Swap. He is to move in with another family and everything he does will be filmed. Sadly, most of what he does while the camera is pointing his way is not the kind of thing he wants to share with millions of total strangers. 

And then, on top of it all, there's his bizarre skin problem...

Find out how Jiggy copes with TV fame and
flick the pages for a disgusting dinner!

My little brother had been moaning about his English Homework for months. At first, I thought he was exaggerating but then I read it. It was terrible. It has no plot, it has no character developed and lacks entertainment valve. Then there's the 23-year-old women flirting with 13-year-old. I have nothing positive to say about this book. It's lazy and has dated horribly since 2008 release date. Michael Lawerence doesn't appear to have written anything else since this series ended. Probably for the better but I doubt Lawerence put any effect into this book.

The main character is unlikable twat at the age of 13. His dad is out of work, his mum is pregnant. They want him to do this show for the money, he's mad about it because he thinks be made fools of so does everything possible to be made a fool of. No one comes as likable or real people. His family and friends all say that the kid he swaps with is better than him. There's also this weird thing of Earth-saniser which are the opposite of vegetarian in that they only meat as the Earth is dirty. This is mainly dumb as that means they survive only on protein and fat, missing out every other core food group. I know Lawerence did this for a laugh and therefore think of what realistically they be eating, which just be meat. Should their vegetarian and clothes be made from bones and plastic? The dad of the family is a doctor of some kind and their kids seem to be healthy taking only vitamins (which sources must be of the Earth. One way or another).  But the main character develops a terrible skin problem because humour.

Like I have hinted at this book contains things I would not want my 13 yr old brother to read without me telling him that is fucked up. He basically knew already but kids' knowledge and wisdom varies so much. My little brother does dumb shit all the time because he's 13 and media is such a dangerous tool at that age. First chapter has a sex change joke, that is if the show was called Gender Swap, he would have to have a surgery to be a girl. This is a dad joke written by 60 something man in 2008, so it just part of it that badly dates it as nothing else said about Trans people and this show was probably made at the time. There was one about swapping races. There's an unnecessary fat joke when Jiggy wears giant swimming trunks. Why don't just have him worn the dad's and have the same effect. Though it's a scene that realistically would never make tv because even then that's a naked minor. It would have to be blurred, they would still have gotten shit for having shown that. The main thing is that the Director's assistant (no title is actually given) flirts with 13-year-old boy to get him to comply with the show. This made worse with being in his head. He somehow thinks she 17 when of course she can't be. The thing ends when Jiggy finds out she 23 and is dating the director. Like this is all for laughs when she 23 and knows what she is doing. It is gross but mostly messed up that it's played as a joke when even then there was a problem of children being groomed and ending up in dangerous situation, we know this more now, but it was a known thing at the time. Sure, all she is doing is getting him to humiliated himself but storylines like this have to be dealt with better. Even in 2008, I don't think there's an excuse. It is another thing that dates this book, but I don't think it would get published with all the Scandals that have come out of the entrainment system. Though, even now male victims are not taken seriously as they should be, and people like to deny that women predators do exist. They like to deny the males as well. People suck. 

This book has an interesting idea, but it's waste within this series. The book I read from didn't make clear that it was part of a going series which would have made it a bad idea to do a school project on with only 20 minutes to pick a book to nine pages of work on. But hey maybe that just a bad thing to ask a class of 12/13-year-olds to do on a random book with no guidance. (I'm kinda annoyed at my little brother's English teacher, mainly because he told me the Amazon reviews are positively when there is one that from 2015 saying it the worst book they've ever read. 

There is now two out of 15. The better argument is that it has 85 ratings on Goodreads with an avenge rating of 3.86 stars (which was probably higher till I rated it)).  This is book is just a series of events that go no way despite having two places for a climax. As part of my brother's homework we read each chapter together and he was to summaries and rate the excitement of each chapter. All 23 of them. So, I have analysed this book more than it was ever meant to be. But nothing happens to carry on the plot in a lot of chapters. Another highlight is when Jiggy befriends a bunny obviously meant for Dinner for it to be finally killed and served several chapters later. My favourite has to be when an elf randomly shows up to offer the boy Jiggy swaps with the perfect life because he's good, smart and born rich. Like why would a magical creature would do that. If it meant to be commentary on the upper class having everything, then you missed the beat. The Elf might have been less jarring if had read the other books in the series with such titles as "", "" and "". So first show of magical in the book, but not in the series. Still just random as fuck. The plot is just Random as Fuck.

Normally I don't swear in reviews of books where no swearing as appears but 13 yrs swear all the time, this is 10 old book that should probably be forgotten, and I feel like it as its a descriptive word.

Overall, I give this book 1/5 stars for Sexual Manipulation of all ages. I just hate this book, I think some of my anger is more directed at my little brother's English teacher because I had spent hours trying to work from this book to help my little brother learn something. Not that is English teacher seems to care if that was possible. He also mocks my brother's reading ability whose Autistic and Dyslexic, so I really dislike him, and this review is for you Brendan from someone whose Autistic and Dyslexic that knows what it like to put up with Ablelist teachers throughout high school that don't want to do their jobs. Frankly, I think it was ridiculous to let any kid to do for so long without feedback and I don't believe for one second you would have let him changes books without my mother's complaints. Though, I am angry with how stupid this book is. Kids ain't idiots. There are good books for this age group and reading level. Does this book have positive reviews, yes, do I think they thought about it for any length no. Also, Twilight, 50 shades of Grey all have positive reviews so that means nothing.