. . . ’cause I read it for you. I know about the 50-page rule and Nancy Pearl’s addendum to it:
When you are 51 years of age or older, subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course, gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before you can guiltlessly give up on a book. As the saying goes, “Age has its privileges.”
But I still have trouble not finishing a book that I’ve started. Even if it’s a bad book, and I can tell it’s a bad book, I want to know what happens. I want to finish. It’s not a matter of guilt—it’s more curiosity. I can’t bear to not know. Did the book get better? Does it end the way I think (fear) it will? Do the characters become more or less likable? Is this book really as much of a train wreck as I think it is?
So, I finished the following YA novels, but you don’t have to read them. They really are not worth the time, unless there’s nothing else in the house to read or you’ve already started on one of these and have the same compulsion I have to finish.
Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale. Such a soap opera, with a fictional soap opera actress thrown in as a minor character. Rosie’s mother dies of Huntington’s Disease, but Rosie finds out that her mom wasn’t her mom at all. Rosie and another baby were switched at birth! And that’s not a spoiler because that surprise revelation drops on page 46. But oh my goodness, there are many more confessions, and admissions, and drama-filled disclosures still to come—one about every forty or fifty pages in this 445 page tear-jerker. But I wasn’t crying because the roller coaster ride of emotional reunions and spectacular crises left me feeling . . . nothing much. It was all too, too much, and I just had enough curiosity to read to the end to see who would find out what next, and how many fireworks could be stuffed into one overly long book.
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet. I really enjoyed reading two other books by award-winning author Mal Peet, Exposure, a novel set in South America and based on Shakespeare’s Othello, and Tamar, a book about World War II spies in Holland. However, this latest YA novel by Mr. Peet was a clumsy amalgam of two stories. In 1962,two British teenagers, Clem and Frankie, from different sides of the cultural divide, muddle their way toward a sexual liaison while world leaders Krushchev, Castro, and JFK blunder their way toward World War III in what later became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. These two events, the sex and the world crisis, are supposed to have something to do with each other, but I never saw the connection. At the point of connection, there is an actual explosion, and then at the end of the book another explosion (9-11) is supposed to lend irony to the entire mish-mash. But it doesn’t really. The novel was a disappointment with way too much graphic sex.