Flashback October 2009

A look back at what I reviewed in October 2009:

The Haunting of Derek Stone: City of the Dead (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book 1) by Tony Abbott. From my review: “It all started when Derek and his family were in a horrible train wreck; his father’s and brother’s bodies aren’t found. Weeks later, a miracle. His brother Ronny shows up at their home in New Orleans, alive! But he’s acting odd. Acting, instead, like someone else. Derek finds out the hard way: ghosts are real. Except instead of haunting people, they take over their bodies. Ronny isn’t the only one.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett. From my review: “Anax is facing an incredibly difficult examination. She wants to enter the Academy; and is now facing three examiners, in her area of choice, history. Not the far history of the 21st century and the conflict, wars, plagues; not the founding of the isolated island, the Republic, but later, as society tried to adjust to its new way of living, a new civilization. In particular, her specialty is Adam Ford. Every schoolchild knows about Ford; but Anax believes she has a new, unique viewpoint. Will the Academy accept her?

Dollhouse: Season One. From my review: “Echo (Caroline) is a “doll” in the “dollhouse.” High paying clients pay to hire a doll to be anything the client wants. This isn’t acting or pretending; the “dolls” original personality has been removed, and depending on the assignment, a new personality is downloaded into the doll and the doll becomes — the perfect girlfriend. Hostage negotiator. A singer. Whatever you want. It’s not exactly legal; so FBI Agent Paul Ballard is investigating, looking to find Caroline with only a photograph, a first name, and rumors as a lead. How far will the Dollhouse go to stop Ballard? And does the Dollhouse have any limits in what it will — and won’t — do to fulfill a client’s wishes?”

Betsy and the Great World and Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace. Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition, 2009. From my review: “Exploring Europe on your own, setting up your own life, focusing on career, getting married — Betsy’s life isn’t so different from anyone today. . . . Anna Quindlen’s foreword is her 1993 speech to the Betsy-Tacy Society. It focuses on the feminism in Betsy’s world, where Betsy’s writing, her talent, her future success is never doubted by her family or friends. Betsy gets to have her cake and eat it, too; as Quindlen points out, “the most important thing about Betsy Ray is that she has a profound sense of confidence and her own worth.“”

I Will Never Know Why  by Susan Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold; published at O, The Oprah Magazine. From my review: “My heart breaks for Susan Klebold. She has exposed herself terribly in this article; I dread reading the comments there, or the commentary that will be elsewhere. When someone goes public with something personal, it’s easy to judge them as a Gosselin, doing something only for fame. Because her son isn’t here to be the target of hate, it’s easy to turn that hate onto her. Klebold’s very personal, very revealing article is the opposite of someone seeking fame. It’s words on paper, not a paid trip to a big city to sit before an audience. It’s a parent’s anguish over both the loss of a child and the damage that child has done. Her words about Dylan’s actions are never excuses. And her description of a young Dylan, an elementary school Dylan, describes many children we know.

Jin Jin and Rain Wizard by Grace Chang; illustrated by Chong Chang. From my review: “Jin Jin, the water dragon, wakes up one day, just like any other day. Except today – he cannot breathe water. Usually, he can breathe out water, giving his friends a fun shower. Not today! Can he figure out why he’s lost this ability?

Betsy Was A Junior and Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace. From my review: “As I explained earlier, yes, I posted about Betsy: The High School Years; but with the opportunity to see what was being done with the reissued books, well, I had to post about the new forewords or back matter.”

The Miles Between by Mary Pearson. From my review: “Destiny Farraday is subject to her parents whims. Since age 7, she has been shipped from boarding school to boarding school. Just as she settles in one, they decide to send her someplace new. Ten years later, she’s learned her lessons. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t make friends. Whatever you do, don’t love anyone. Any day now, she may have to leave Hedgebrook Academy. When the one person she can count on, Aunt Edie, doesn’t show up for a scheduled visit. Des wishes that for just once, life would be fair; that she would get one fair day. When Des sees the car — the pink convertible — it looks so, well, inviting. Literally. Door open, engine running. She doesn’t think twice; she decides to just go. Problem? She cannot drive. So she asks Seth. And Mira sees them and comes along; and then Aidan; and now these four have escaped school for one day, one fair day. Is there such a thing as a fair day? . . . A fair day. Not a good day; not a happy day. Not a day where you get what you want. Rather — a fair day. What would your fair day be?”

When Mike Kissed Emma by Christine Marciniak. From my review: “Emma’s life is perfect. Boyfriend? Yep, she has the perfect boyfriend, Trevor. Best friend? Lauren, BFF since preschool. Family? Ok, sometimes big bro Jake can tease a bit too much and little sis Sara needs a bit of confidence, but these three like each other and hang out together. School play? Yep. OK, well, she hasn’t actually gotten the role of Leisl in The Sound of Music yet — but she’s confident she’ll be playing Leisl to Trevor’s Rolf. What could ruin her perfect life? Getting the lead role of Maria. Which her BFF wanted. So Lauren is mad at her. And Trevor got the role of Rolf — opposite Sara. Somehow, Sara is mad about that. And tattooed Biker Mike got the role of Captain von Trapp, because it turns out he can sing and act (not too mention some amazing blue eyes.) She’s hanging out with him, reading lines, and no one is happy with that. What’s a girl to do?

Heavens to Betsy and Betsy In Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace. From my review: “When you fall for Betsy Ray, you fall hard.

Reality Bites. From my review: “Post-college life of Lelaina, want to be documentary film maker; her roommate, Vicki, manager at the Gap; their drop-out friend, Troy; Sammy, who is gay but doesn’t date; and the businessman Lelaina is dating. I have a love-hate relationship with this film. Which means, so much I adore about it; and so much I hate with a passion. . . . Because the reason I cannot full-out love this movie is Lelaina . . .  In a nutshell, she wants to make documentary film; she’s in Houston, working on a morning TV show. . . . Lelaina has no idea what she wants or how to work for it, other than to make self-indulgent rambly films about her friends and edit them. She talks about how much she works at it, but all we see is her shooting random video, editing it (without seeing the end product), and having no plan on what to do with the product beyond getting the local morning show to use it as a guest video spot. She is angry that her parents won’t pay her bills when she cannot find a  new job and scams money off her father.”


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