Wallace, Brandon. Wilder Boys
May 5th 2015 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Jake and Taylor are worried after their depressed mother is beaten by Bull, her boyfriend, and taken to the hospital. They are not sure that she will survive, and they know that they must leave or Bull will turn his anger on them and their Jack Russell terrier, Cody. Packing up provisions and the journal and letters that their father left before he left the family to live out in the Grand Tetons, the two hop a train from Pittsburgh to Chicago, get a ride as far as Montana with a sympathetic trucker with a checkered past of her own, and stow away in a luggage compartment on a tour bus to the Tetons. There, they attempt to follow the map that their father has left, but are short of supplies. Luckily, they save a man, Skeet, after a rock falls on him and breaks his arm, so he helps them learn survival tactics and gives them supplies. Their faces have been on the news, and they are still ill prepared for the rigors of backwoods travel, so will they manage to find their father?
Strengths: Lots of adventure and survival in a variety of settings. Even though each activity wasn't a good idea, I appreciated that the author was realistic about the dangers and still made it seem like the boys had no other choice but to do what they did. Every time I thought "No. Not going to work.", there was a good excuse or a save from an unexpected source. Had a My Side of the Mountain feel, and notes on surviving in the wilderness. Very nice!
Weaknesses: The ending was a bit deus ex machina-- don't want to spoil things, but the reappearance of a main character twice seemed a bit much, and the beginning was super depressing, even though it was very quick. Still, a petty complaint about an otherwise good book. On the digital ARC, the appearance of a page decoration along the bottom of each page slowed down turning the pages horribly. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the final copy.
O'Dowd, Chris and Murphy, Nick V. Moone Boy: The Blunder Years
May 5th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
ARC from Baker and Taylor
I mention this one because it is a notebook novel of sorts, although the letters are typed onto lined "paper". Plenty of illustrations are included. However, this book was so very, very Irish that there were parts that even I did not understand. There are sidebars with explanations of vocabulary, but it was still something I don't think I will buy. It is apparently based on a Hulu television program, which I'm almost tempted to watch, if only for the scenes with the house surrounded by asphalt. As for the book, though, I think I'll pass.
From the Publisher:
"Martin Moone is eleven and completely fed up with being the only boy in a family of girls. He’s desperate for a decent wingman to help him navigate his idiotic life. So when best mate Padraic suggests Martin get an imaginary friend—or "IF" for short—he decides to give it a go.
His first attempt is Loopy Lou, a hyperactive goofball who loves writing rubbish rap songs. But Martin soon gets fed up with Lou’s loopiness and decides to trade in his IF for someone a little less wacky. Enter Sean "Caution" Murphy, an imaginary office clerk in a bad suit with a passion for laziness and a head full of dodgy jokes. Sean is full of tips and tricks to guide Martin through the perils of the playground, from dealing with his sisters’ pranks to besting the bullying Bonner boys. But getting rid of Lou is not that easy, and having TWO imaginary friends is a recipe for trouble!"