Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#WNDB Wednesday- Train I Ride

30037874Mosier, Paul. Train I Ride
January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC From Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Rydr has been raised by her grandmother in California because her mother is a heroin addict. When her grandmother passes away, she is sent on a train to Chicago where she will be under the care of her grandmother's brother, whom she has never met. She is being accompanied by a representative of the train, Dorothea, and makes friends with the food vendor Neal. There's also Carlos, who is traveling on the train in order to write poetry about it, and a troop of boy scouts. The scouts invite Rydr to play cards with them, and she's glad to fleece them of some cash so she can buy food, but it's the polite young scout, Tenderchunks (so called because his boorish troopmates made him eat dog food) who introduces her to Ginsberg's Howl and captures her heart. On the trip, Rydr reflects on her past life and starts to form a plan for her future.
Strengths: I'm not sure what made this so appealing. The writing? The relative brevity?The train ride? The romance? The diverse people Rydr meets? Whatever it was, this all came together in a very thought provoking way. Curious to see if other's liked it as much as I did. 
Weaknesses: Dead parents and grandparents. Rydr has green hair. She's still grieving. This had everything I normally hate in a book, and yet I liked it.
What I really think: I liked this a lot more than I thought I did. If I buy a copy, I can get the girls who want really sad books to read it. The cover is nicely neutral, though, so I can get some of the more mature boys to read it as well. 

I feel that I need to review the title below today as well. It had all of the sad things I hate as well. But I didn't like this one at all. 

25337548Standish, Ali. The Ethan I Was Before
January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline 

Ethan and his family move from Boston to the south to live with his grandfather, who is elderly and having problems. The family felt they needed to move because something horrible and undefined has happened to Ethan's best friend and neighbor, Kacey, and he was unable to move on. His older brother is really miffed, and the grandfather has been dysfunctionally grieving his wife's death from breast cancer 30 years ago. Ethan manages to make a new friend, Coralee, who has her own family problems. Ethan's family is concerned that he is replacing Kacey with Coralee in an unhealthy way. When a large storm imperils Coralee when she tries to save some wolf pups, Ethan feels he must go save her, since he couldn't save Kacey.
Strengths:The reviews I've read have said that this one is "beautifully poignant", and I have to agree. The writing is good, the characters are fine, and it moves along decently for a book where there's not a lot of action until the end. 
Weaknesses: I just can't get behind books that are primarily about grieving. They are boring. The grandfather especially irritated me. It's not okay for parents to ignore a living child when the parents are grieving. Not okay at all. Also, the child imperiled in a storm plot twist has been done too often, especially in novels set in the south. 
What I really think: A lot of people will like this one, but I will pass. 

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