Monday, January 02, 2012

Desert Angel

Price, Charlie. Desert Angel.
Angel and her mother have lived with Scotty, the mother’s abusive boyfriend, for only a month before he killed the mother and buries her in the desert. He then ties up Angel and sets fire to their mobile home with her in it. She manages to escape and is taken in by a family of illegal Mexican immigrants, but Scotty is a trained tracker, so hunts her down and terrorizes anyone who helps her. The family moves her to another town where she stays with Rita, a tough Head Start teacher. Angel is glad to have her support, but doesn’t want to endanger those who help her. She realizes that the best way to keep everyone safe is to find Scotty before he finds her, but he becomes increasingly violent as the two come closer to finding each other. Another title by this author is The Interrogation of Gabriel James
Strengths: Immediately gave this one to Picky Reader, who loves problem novels. This is not only abuse, but survival, and I can see it being very popular in February, when all of my students want the most depressing book I can give them. A real page turner!
Weaknesses: It’s very clear that Scotty was sexually abusing Angel, but since there are no details given, I think it’s okay even for middle school.

Wilson, N.D. The Dragon's Tooth.
Book received from publisher.

Cyrus lives in a run down motor lodge that he runs with the help of his older sister and brother because his mother is in a hospital and his father is dead. This is bad enough, but after Billy Bones appears and claims that Cyrus is the new caretaker of artifacts that will help save the world, the motel burns down and the siblings are sent on a long journey to save the world against the forces of evil. They have a lot of help from the Order of Brendan (in which their parents were involved) and they need it, since Cyrus' brother has been kidnapped by Dr. Phoenix, who is trying to take sacred relics from the Order. This is a new series from the author of 100 Cupboards.

Strengths: A lot of action and adventure, a well-constructed mythological base, and amusing characters. I don't have a lot of readers who want modern fantasy, but this will be good for readers who liked The Gods of Manhattan.

Weaknesses: I had trouble with this because I was so repulsed by many of the settings. The old hotel was disgusting, and I think I stayed in its twin in Kalispell, Montana in 1977! Gave me the willies! I read somewhere that the Archer Motel was based on a real place.... echhhh! Cyrus moved from one dilapidated place to another-- the writing must be effective because I was seriously so creeped out by the settings that I had a hard time concentrating on the book. I had to get up and vacuum and scrub because I could feel the gnats living in the damp carpet. Students will not have this trouble!

1 comment:

  1. The hotel didn't creep me out half as much as those spider things did. I had a nightmare about that. (Shudders-remembering.)