We don't do stars...
We don't do thumbs...
We read children's books and grade them in 10 categories:
literary quality
descriptive ability
humor (if attempted)
illustrations (if present)
believability of characters
believability of situations
overall reading enjoyment

There is no grading curve. There are no points for classroom participation. There is no extra credit.
If you disagree, come speak to us after class.

The Grading System

A+.....this means (guess what) we think it's great. So great it surprised even us.
A.....this means it's pretty darn good. A book we'd recommend to just about everyone we know.
B.....better than most. Not exactly Shakespeare for kids, though, if you get our drift.
C.....mediocre. Like the color beige, it didn't stand out.
D.....we didn't like it. There were more bad aspects than good ones.
F.....it reeked of badness. We read it over and over when we are in dire need of hysterical laughter.
F-.....We're pretty sure Dante had a circle of hell for the people who wrote these...and a lower circle for those who published them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reporter's Review: Breathing, by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Viking; 2009
Overall Grade: A-

Savannah Georgina has suffered from severe asthma ever since her father left when she was little--he literally, so she thinks, took her breath with him. Not until she meets the boy of her dreams does she begin to get better--until he has to leave, too. Savannah questions her ideas of love and loyalty while they endure a long-distance relationship...but eventually true love teaches her the importance of breathing for herself.
Breathing is incredibly refreshing--I would say it's a breath of fresh air, but I don't want to fall into puns already! Basically, it is a very real, very honest love story that captures the essence of a first, true love, and brings it to life in a way that is both profound and inspiring. Cheryl Renee Herbsman has the ability to restore your faith in love and in human nature itself through her novel and its lifelike characters. The first-person voice may be a bit hard for some to digest; the story is told in a heavy southern accent and style, which was somewhat distracting to me, at least, as a Northerner, though it certainly brings a unique style to the story. I also questioned whether some of the phrases/metaphors Savannah uses would be accurate to a girl her age--they seemed more middle-aged than teenager at times, but truly I have no way of knowing as the jargon was so unfamiliar. If there are any southerners who've read this book, please leave a comment--I really would love to know what your (more informed) opinion is! And to everyone else: if you like contemporary romances, you'll be impressed with the poignancy, honesty and faith that Savannah brings to her story.

Literary Quality: B
Plot: B
Voice: A-
Originality: A-
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: n/a
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A+
Believability of Situations: A+ (The believability was exceptionally well done)
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A
Possibly objectionable topics*: crude language, sensuality, broken families, violence

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