Reviews: Some Girls Bind by Rory James and The Videomaniac by Wil Mara

somegirlsbindSome Girls Bind by Rory James

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: February 1st, 2019

Publisher: West 44 Books

Pages: 200 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Jamie knows that she isn’t like other girls. She has a secret. She binds her chest every day to feel more like herself. Jamie questions why she is drawn to this practice and why she is afraid of telling her friends, who have their own secrets. Could she really be genderqueer?

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

This is what is considered “hi-lo” fiction—short books that are designed to encourage young, reluctant readers to read more. This one seems like it is aimed for an early middle school to early high school audience, so basically mid-middle grade and early young adult. I did like this story quite a bit and I thought the diversity shown here was fantastic. I love seeing more LGBT+ novels entering the world and it is particularly good to target younger audiences. Novels like these encourage open-mindedness and may help readers become more accepting of others as well as themselves.

I will admit, I felt once again that this was a topic that would have been better suited to a slightly longer format. I think expanding the story just a little bit would help readers connect with the characters and better understand the subjects being addressed. However, James does present and explain the process of discovering ones’ identity in a clear and concise way. This is a positive story that I could definitely see inspiring readers to better understand who they are and helping them view the world in a new light. The main characters were likable and easy to connect with, which makes this a fairly engaging reading experience. Overall, I think this is a solid addition to both hi-lo and LGBT+ literature.

3.0 TARDISes

thevideomaniacThe Videomaniac by Wil Mara

My Rating: 1/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: January 15th, 2019

Publisher: West 44 Books

Pages: 120 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: At a local flea market, thirteen-year-old Brian Hart meets a creepy old man who gives him computer software that can predict future football NFL games. But is the power to see the future really as beneficial as Brian believes?

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

I feel terrible saying this, but I honestly don’t know what I just read. This is a weird story and, unfortunately, not in a particularly good way. Though it sounded promising when I first found it, I personally did not like the content of this story. The interactions between Brian and the future-predicting software system are quite eerie, which could have been a good thing, but I struggled to make sense of what was happening for the majority of the narrative.

All of the characters are really unlikeable, though the main character, Brian, is supposed to be to some extent. Their interactions with each other feel stilted and unrealistic. And what they let him get away with in terms of the bets they made also felt very unrealistic. The writing is very jumbled and confusing—it feels all over the place and there is no discernible direction many times.

Here is where I come to an opinion that is going to sound completely ridiculous given the type of story this is supposed to be. This is what is considered “hi-lo” fiction—short books that are designed to encourage young, reluctant readers to read more. This one seems like it is aimed for a late elementary school to early middle school audience. It is intended to be short, but this story just needed more. It would be better if it was more fleshed out—if there were more details about the program or his friendships. It really just isn’t the right type of story for this short format. I have to admit I do not feel that this would be the best thing for a reluctant reader to read.

1.0 TARDIS

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