An author recently sent me a middle-grade fiction book to review. I read it and declined to review it. But I wanted to offer some thoughts on it.
The book, which I am not going to name, has the rousing approval of the reviewers of the world. It has a mainstream publisher. The reviewers find it hard to put down, and a great study in character development. One called it “an action-filled survival story aimed at middle grade readers.”
It is all those things, but it’s also very dark. It reminds me of Lord of the Flies, actually. There is such a bleak view of human nature, and not enough in the way of redemptive themes–although there is one character who prays and whose influence is for the good. In fact I cannot imagine my sons picking this up and reading it for fun. They’d read it if a teacher made them, of course, and would identify the themes, and the character development, and so on. All that is very well done.
I love books that aim for joy.
I am hoping to review books that my kids would read for fun. So I’ll let the other folks review the ones the kids would have to read for school.