She’s So Dead to Us
by Kieran Scott
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
In She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott, Ally left Orchard Hill with the thought that she would never return, but of course she did. Now that she is back, she is no longer maintains the status of a rich popular “Crestie”. In fact, Ally finds herself living quite the normal life, in a small condo with her mother on the other side of town with all the other “Norms”. Ally’s family moved out of the small town after her dad invested money in the wrong thing and lost everything that his family had. He also caused several other “Crestie” neighbors to loose, A LOT, of money as well. So much money, in fact, that Ally’s old friends have deemed it impossible to ever forgive her. Forgiveness seems to be hard to come by in this small town, because Ally is finding it equally hard to forgive her father for walking out of her life shortly after he moved them away from Orchard Hill. It’s been months and no one has heard from him. Each day, Ally is plagued by the fact that her dad could be dead, or worse living without his family.
Like in all high school based books, there is a boy…The boy that everyone is in love with, the soccer star, the perfect gentleman. Only this boy happens to be living in Ally’s old house. Jake Graydon meets Ally just a couple hours after she arrives back in Orchard Hill because she could not resist the urge to take a look at her old house. After the brief encounter, Jake realizes from his friends, that Ally is completely off limit’s because of what her father did to everyone and their families.
Throughout the book, Ally tries to be accepted by her old friends, but she finds herself being shot down time after time. After humiliation, she tries to accept her life as a “Norm” and even goes as far to get a “Norm” boyfriend and a best friend. All the while, she finds that she is obsessing, or developing a “Jakesession” as she calls it. She cannot get her mind off of him, and he seems to be just as infatuated with her, despite what all his friends may say.
Her old friends hate her. Her dad is missing. She loves a boy. Her mom has a new boyfriend. Humiliation keeps coming back for more. Could Ally’s life be any more complex for a teenager? The answer is yes, yes it can. This happens at the very end of the book, when her dad randomly shows up.
I honestly turned the page, expecting another chapter, and there was nothing. I guess I was not under the impression that the book was part of a trilogy at the beginning. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. I can say that Scott’s writing style paired with the cliffhanger ending, has made me want to read the rest of the series.
Amanda King is a college student trying to make a difference. She is involved in several volunteer organizations and is always looking for a way to impact the lives of others. Although that takes up most of her time, her true passion is reading and she enjoys the ability to use books to escape from the ups and downs in everyday life. Check out Amanda’s personal blog HERE.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
One Christmas Eve, Kate is shaken awake by her mother. Kate, the oldest of three children, is implored by her mother to look after the younger two, Michael and Emma. The three children are spirited away in the middle of the night to keep them safe. For the next ten years, these siblings will find themselves shuffled from foster home to foster home, until one disastrous meeting with a potential adoptive parent lands them in the “orphanage” of Dr. Stanislaus Pym. It is a strange sort of orphanage, made so because of the enigmatic owner of the house, Dr. Pym, the old caretaker, Abraham, and the housekeeper who insists on speaking to the children in address of royalty, Miss Sallow. Oh, and the fact that Kate, Michael, and Emma are the only children in the orphanage.
Upon their first investigation of the house, the children find a book bound in green leather. Purely by accident, they stick a picture in the book and are transported back in time. It is here they meet the Countess, an evil witch in search of the book that the children themselves have found. When they try to get back to their time, Michael is left behind. The girls then return to find Michael, sending them on the adventure of a lifetime. The children seems to be on one adventure after another trying to right the wrongs of the past.
When I first started this book, I was not sure if I would finish it. The Emerald Atlas contains characters reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore and Rubius Hagrid, a story line about children entering another time (world) in order to save it as in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and a seemingly never-ending abundance of dismal situations a la A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was concerned that John Stephens would not find his own voice.
I am glad I kept reading. While the aforementioned nods to other great children’s literature do exist, Stephens begins to weave his own tale. The characters are ones for whom you can champion. I am a major fan of books that incorporate strong female characters, and Stephens does this twice with both Kate and Emma. He also manages to do so while keeping in consideration the fact that they are still children.
As with any book, I rate it based on its repeat readability (yep, making up words now). Stephens gets a solid yes. Stephens’ novel is great for young readers, rich in folklore and vivid imagery. I am looking forward to the next two books in this trilogy, even knowing I will have to wait quite some time (as Atlas is not slated for release until April 2011).
Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost..
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
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