Books 6, 7, & 8

Posted on February 27, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So I was lazy, and when I finished Boy21 last week, I never posted. Since then, I’ve also finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which took me up until the day before yesterday, and The Night She Disappeared, which I started and finished yesterday (partly because it’s short, and partly because it’s really good).

Cover art for Boy21

Finley is somewhat of an outcast. He lives in a rough neighborhood. He’s quiet, and he’s the only white kid on the basketball team, earning him the nickname White Rabbit. He and his girlfriend Erin both work really hard at conditioning and training in basketball so they can get out of the neighborhood and not be stuck there like their families. Finley feels like if he can keep being starting point guard, a scout will see him, and he’ll be saved from working the toll booth like his dad, or worse. All of that is thrown into jeopardy when Russ moves to town. Coach asks Finley to take Russ under his wing because A. Russ’ parents were murdered, B. He’s gone off his rocker and is calling himself Boy21, and C. Russ is a nationally-recognized star basketball player who could win them the state championship. Finley’s torn between helping Russ because he clearly needs a friend and doing nothing so he doesn’t get benched this season.

I’m not a sports book fan, but Boy21 is less about basketball and more about the relationships between Finley and Erin and Finley and Russ. My biggest complaint with the book is that it ends abruptly. There’s no neat, tidy package at the end, but neither is there a real resolution. Still, it’s not bad, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good sports novel.

Cover art for Miseducation of Cameron Post

Cameron lives in Miles City, Montana. Cameron is on the swim team. Cameron was kissing her best friend the day her parents died. Cameron’s best friend is a girl.

The book starts when she’s eight years old, if I remember correctly, so considering the length of the book, this covers her entire adolescence. Cameron never felt like she liked boys, but her first thought when she found out her parents had been in an accident was that they’d never find out she’d kissed a girl. Cameron never feels comfortable with her sexuality. She knows that people think it’s wrong, and it’s just not something that’s done in podunk Montana, and she even tries to date a boy, but none of that changes her true feelings. Her best friend, Irene, moves away and pretends like nothing ever happened. The next girl, Lindsey, is from a competing swim team in Portland where being gay is no big deal, and Lindsey can’t ever understand how it’s different for Cameron. The last girl, and Cameron’s downfall, is Coley, a ranch girl who insists she’s straight up until she’s going all the way with Cameron. Coley acts like Cameron forced her into it, which sends Cameron to what I call a  “Pray the Gay Away” school called Promises. Cameron plays along until she realizes that she’s never going to get to leave, and that Promises can’t fix her because there’s nothing to fix.

I would be careful about who I suggested this to in a conservative community since it portrays those who think homosexuality is a sin as being ignorant bigots (I personally agree with that portrayal, but I know others in my community would not). This book did make me think about my own church’s beliefs, and I’m happy to say that we’re good with the whole loving thy neighbor and not casting stones.

Cover art for The Night She Disappeared

It was supposed to be Gabie, but he got Kayla instead.

One night, a guy calls into Pete’s Pizza to order pizzas for delivery. Drew takes the order, and Kayla, who is the one with the car, takes it out. From the title, I’m sure you can guess what happens next. Turns out, the name and address were bogus, and Kayla is either kidnapped or dead. The part that the police want to ignore is the guy on the phone asked if the girl with the Mini Cooper was delivering. The girl with the Mini Cooper, of course, is Gabie, and she and Drew are convinced the guy on the phone meant to grab her instead of Kayla, and that he still might try. Since the police think their idea is ludicrous, and everyone is almost pretty sure that Kayla is dead in the river, Drew and Gabie set out to find her before it’s too late.

The book is fast-paced and reminds me of watching my favorite crime dramas on TV. The chapters changed perspectives, from Gabie to Drew to Kayla to even the UNSUB (I’m using my Criminal Minds vocabulary). While this was hard for me to get used to in Wonder Show, it works in this book, especially if you’re visualizing it like a crime show on TV (and I’ve seen every episode of NCIS, NCIS:LA, Numb3rs, and… I’m getting off-topic). I would liken this to Alane Ferguson’s Forensic Mysteries or even Barry Lyga’s excellent I Hunt Killers.

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