Leave This Song Behind – Teen Ink Poetry Collection

Poetry is not just for grown-ups or those trying to woo a lover. The Leave This Song Behind collection of teen poetry by Teen Ink is proof that poetry can be found everywhere in life.

The collection features some of the best teen poetry of today. Reflecting teen culture, many of the poems adhere to a more free-verse style as is evident in modern slams.

This collection contains some real gems of poetry, like Bluebells, Dear Michaelangelo, Don’t Fall In Love, and A Letter To The Past, Present, and Future Selves.

What really becomes evident is that this generation deals with some real and uly problems, deeply human flaws and raw emotions – and sometimes the best way to express all of these feelings is through poetry. With a collection of poems by several different authors, it is only natural that not all poems are to a reader’s individual tastes.

Because while there are some really beautiful and touching works in this collection, there are also a few which come across as overly pretentious. One run-on sentence in a weird format – like every wors in a new line – does not necessarily make a poem. And even though many of the poems deal with depression, selfworth issues, and unrequited love, the teen angst seems to be a red thread throughout the whole book.

It is a nicely edited book. The poems are split into different sections, which makes it easy to find a poem you are in the mood for. There are even notes by the poets, but unfortunately, these are at the very end of the book. Personally, I would have prefered to have the notes close to the poems they relate to, as the flipping back and forth does get tiresome. Another issue is that the best poems are towards the middle of the book, and the beginning of the collection is not as powerful as it should by rights be in order to draw the reader in.

Leave This Song Behind is a nice poetry collection which gives a unique insight into the problems teenagers of today have to deal with, but it could have made even more of an impact than it does.

 

Leave This Song Behind  was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by NetGalley

My Rating: ♥♥♥

Title: Leave This Song Behind
Author: Stephanie & John Meyer (Editors)
Publisher: HCI Books
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Pages: 216
ISBN:  978-0757318962

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Last Tango in Buenos Aires by David Marsh

Last Tango in Buenos Aires – Sketches from the Argentine by David Marsh is a raw and honest account of one man’s travel through small-town Argentina. From the very north of the country, the author travels by foot, bus and train to the End of the World

From the very north of the country, the author travels by foot, bus and train to the End of the World and meets the local residents along the way.

This book goes beyond a simple travelogue – it brings the South American country to life. With added facts about Argentinian history and how those periods affected and continue to affect the population, the story becomes thought-provoking.

Luscious descriptions of the landscapes, and honest encounters with the people along the way, from road-side acquaintances to those he meets in city centres, make Last Tango in Buenos Aires incredibly real.

This is a book that shows Argentina from all its angles, highlights the cultural and geographical diversity of the country, and emphasises Argentina’s beauty. It’s the people David meets, however, who are the soul of the book. Their anecdotes and opinions provide a lesson in Argentinian history, politics and culture that has not been glossed over by newspaper or textbook editors, and showcases lived history and the opinions of the people instead.

Last Tango in Buenos Aires by David Marsh was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by NetGalley

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Last Tango in Buenos Aires
Author: David Marsh
Publisher: Matador  / Troubador Publishing
Release Date: January 28, 2016
Pages: 192
ISBN:  978-1784625221

The Assistants by Camille Perri

Camille Perri’s The Assistants is a modern-day Robin Hood-esque tale of opportunity, financial gain and a sense of entitlement.

Tina works as an assistant for a media mogul. Like many others of her generation, she is highly educated, stuck in an unfulfilling and underappreciated job, and saddled with student loan debts.

So when she is handed a cheque that could end her financial troubles without anyone noticing where the money has gone, she takes her chance. What started as a means to an end soon spirals into illegal money laundering.

On the face of it, The Assistants would make a good, light-hearted movie about the trials and tribulations of recent college graduates struggling to find a proper job while trying to make ends meet. There is humour, blackmail and love. It has got the pace it needs, reads well, features a beautiful protagonist and a clever scheme. But said beautiful protagonist is also the problem.

Tina herself does very little out of her own choices. She gets dragged along by colleagues and friends, guided by the actions and decisions of the people around her. While she is the face of it all, she is not the mastermind. She commits crimes and gets away with them, while others convince her to keep going back for more. Self-pitying and self-righteous, Tina is a bit too whiny to be a proper heroine. She is meant to be competent but comes across as easily manipulated and bullied.

The Assistants is nonetheless an enjoyable read, which I would have no problems recommending for light entertainment and vacation reading. Tina’s initial situation may hit a bit too close to home for recent graduates, though.

My Rating: ♥♥♥

Title: The Assistants
Author: Camille Perri
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0399172540

 

The Assistants by Camille Perri was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead

Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney #60Books

Kelly Kerney’s Hard Red Spring brings one hundred years of Guatemalan history to life.

Told through the eyes of four American women who witness four different periods of the twentieth century in Guatemala, this novel beautifully combines historical facts with memorable fiction.

Hard Red Spring also takes a look at the cultural divide, not only between the Guatemalans and the four American women, but also the different cultural groups in Guatemala, notably the Mayans.

The 1902 disappearance of a young girl is the red thread linking the four women, but the real protagonist of this novel is the country it is set in. Multi-dimensional and dynamic, the story remains as intriguing as it is heart-breaking to the very last page.

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Hard Red Spring
Author: Kelly Kerney
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Pages: 448
ISBN: 978-0525429012

Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead

Daredevils by Shawn Vestal #60Books

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: One-word title

Daredevils by Shawn Vestal is a coming of age story with a twist.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s not so much a coming of age tale, but more a loss of innocence.

It follows Mormon life from the 1950’s Short Creek, Arizona to 1970’s Gooding, Idaho, and takes not only the characters, but also the readers, on a vivid roadtrip across the United States.

Central to the story is 15-year-old Loretta, whose life changes after she is caught sneaking out of her house one night. As punishment for wanting a normal life, her parents marry her off as a sister-wife to a Mormon Elder.

What follows is the urge to escape, the yearning for freedom from the confines of the family faith, not only for Lori who lives in a polygamist community, but also Jason who is also a Mormon but monogamist. He idolises Evel Knievel, and longs for a life of adventure. Together, they embark on a trip in search of gold and freedom.

The story is a page-turner from cover to cover, and not only provides an insight into Mormon religion and communities, but also into what teenage life is like governed by those restraints. Throw in the 70’s and a joyride across the States, and you’re left with a novel that shows the deeply human desire to break free.

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Daredevils
Author: Shawn Vestal
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1101979891

 

Daredevils by Shawn Vestal was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead