Saturday, September 30, 2017

BES Group

Just a little FYI, I do have a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee Goodreads group if anyone is interested! We read a book every month. I post a summary, a bit about the author and some discussion questions.

We just finished 23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde.

Next month, we'll be reading Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk.

Stop in and join us!

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano

Nearly Found (Nearly Gone, #2)Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano is the sequel to Nearly Gone which was a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee for high school in 2015-2016 and, in my opinion, should have won. In the first book, we are introduced to Nearly Boswell, who at the time, was targeted by a serial killer. With the killer in jail, Nearly can now relax a bit and concentrate on her senior year of high school and an internship at the local crime lab. Thankfully, she is still with Reece, but that relationship is being strained a bit because Reece is now in a school across town and isn’t able to see Nearly as frequently as they have been. Also, he is getting pretty close to a girl at that school, but that’s what a narc is supposed to do…isn’t it? People in the hallways stare at Nearly as she walks through and her best friends, Jeremy and Anh, are not only not talking to her anymore, but now they are dating each other. This is Nearly’s new reality and one that gets shatter again with the first cryptic note left for her to find. Not only is she finding notes, but others are too and when they all get together, they realize that all of their fathers were in the same poker club together. Regardless of their feelings towards each other, this group of kids has to now work together before more people end up dead.

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano is just as good as it’s predecessor, Nearly Gone. Again, I’m drawn into this crazy, twisted plot that just when you think you know what’s going on, things change. I love the endings of both of these books that brings everything together and leaves the reader with a ‘Oh! I get it now!’ feeling. It really makes you want to read the book over again just to pick out little things that you may have missed. Again, as in Nearly Gone, I love that Nearly is intelligent. There’s nothing more I love than a brainy girl! We definitely need more of that and I do love Nearly and Reece together. Elle Cosimano is a very consistent writer whereas if you like one of her books, then you’ll love her other books. She’s very good at weaving very complicated, well thought-out tales with great detail. I highly recommend Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano. You won’t be able to put it down until the very last word!!

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23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

23 Minutes23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

** 2017-2018 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee **

Zoe Mahar is a blue-haired, 15 year-old who lives in a group home. She has the amazing gift to be able to transport herself exactly 23 minutes back in time. There are rules to such a gift though as well as pros and cons. Zoe can only go back 23 minutes. After the 23 minutes, the story is played out and she can not go back. Also, she can only do this 10 times so she has to plan carefully. Zoe calls her time relapses “playbacks” and to rewind a 23 minute chunk of time, Zoe wraps her arms around herself and says aloud ‘playback’ and she starts again. Zoe can bring back information with her through all of the playbacks, but the people she meets remember nothing of her or what’s happening. The story begins with Zoe’s 23 minute bank robbery story. Over and over as Zoe playbacks back the robbery scene, she learns more and more about the people with the help of one consistent person, Daniel. In every scenario, Zoe learns more about Daniel who recognizes the robber and ends up getting shot and through multiple playbacks, she is able to string together missing pieces that ultimately save lives.

23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde is an interesting take on Ground Hog Day whereas a young girl replays the same 23 minutes over-and-over again. It is definitely a refreshingly different topic and one that Vande Velde pulls off pretty well. I enjoyed that the first 23 minutes set up the basic scene: Zoe, rain, bank, robber, shooting, blood and brain matter. Yes, it was a little graphic, but it’s not overdrawn. With every set of 23 minutes the reader learns more and more about the characters and who they are and how they relate to the scene that is constantly unfolding. It is really quite clever. By the end the book, the final pieces are put into place. The one thing I didn’t like about 23 Minutes is the relationship between Zoe and Daniel. Zoe is 15 and Daniel 25 and there just seemed to be something between them besides an age gap. It’s like I was waiting for a romantic element to come into play, but that would have been a little weird. I think it would have been better to adjust the ages for the romantic element to play through or ditch that element altogether. 23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde is an interesting teen take on time travel!

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