Teen Reviews: February 2010
The Life of Glass
By Jillian Cantor
The Life of Glass portrays love lost, grief, and friendship of the deepest kind. Melissa loses her father to lung cancer and begins religiously reading her father's quirky journal entries. Melissa's father always taught her that beauty was skin deep, but after her father dies, it's hard for her to maintain that mantra. Her gorgeous sister Ashley barely acknowledges Melissa, either at school or at home; and then there's her best friend Ryan, who may be falling in love. Through her father's journal, Melissa begins to let go of the past and start living in the present.
This book is a must-have for anyone who has ever loved and lost someone close to them. I found myself crying and laughing as I related to the events. It is a true tale of friendship and self-realization, and it is easy to connect with the main character. I like Jillian Cantor's ability to turn heartache into acceptance. She writes about the five stages of grief and allows the readers to identify each step and how to get past it. It is an inspiring, wonderful story.
Reviewed by Tasman Anderson, 17, Australia
Dust of 100 Dogs
By A.S. King
I usually enjoy reading science fiction adventures, so I was sure I would love Dust of 100 Dogs. The book is about a medieval pirate who is cursed with being reincarnated as a dog for a hundred lifetimes, but who is finally reincarnated as a girl once again. As I read the book, it did not live up to my high expectations for a praise-worthy sci-fi novel.
The story is extremely confusing. The author moves the story in and out of different time periods without explaining what just happened or what was to come. Also, the writing is very dense and graphic, which might not be suitable for younger readers.
For me, the sections titled "Dog Facts" were the only highlight. These are short asides in which the author gives the reader useful and funny information on how to train a new puppy. I would recommend this book to read if you have some spare time, but wouldn't run out to the book store to get it.
Reviewed by Marissa Blair Gofberg, 19, Pennsylvania
By Frank Portman
Random House, 2009
A synopsis of Frank Portman's Andromeda Klein sounds fascinating — a teenage girl obsessed with otherworldly things, a best friend communicating from beyond the grave, deception, missing boyfriends, and a lot of miscommunication. There is no lack of potential as Andromeda tries to use her knowledge of the Tarot to sort out her personal mysteries.
She knows so much about the Tarot, in fact, that the book is at times incomprehensible to its teenage audience. While the overall plot is relatively clear, resembling that of Portman's previous novel, King Dork, the writing is not. Despite some clever moments, I was very confused by the many references Portman drops throughout the book.
For all of my usual enthusiasm toward Portman's work, I cannot recommend this book. I spent the majority of it feeling like an outsider, reading through four-hundred-some-odd pages of inside jokes. I can only hope that Portman's next novel is more relatable. Having seen what he can do from King Dork, I would be heartbroken to see anything less.
Reviewed by Emily Bihl, 18, New Jersey
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