Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The $ummer of $aint Nick by Josh Burk

In this audacious book (part of a series), the story is written for the vocabulary instead of the vocabulary correlated to the story. This makes for a tendentious read yet not as bad as I expected. And anything to avoid more flashcards is commendable in my book.

It was formulaic enough that my mid tween actually read it willingly and was rather engaged with her hatred of the malignant bad guy. Its intended audience is for high-schoolers prepping for the SAT. You can never begin vocab prep too soon. Diligence pays. But when the vocabulary serves the story, the story suffers. It is a bit suffocating as a morality story.

The book purports to purposely avoid deleterious scenes. It describes the adventures of hapless Nick, a nerd who inherits a run-down home through the eminent domain legal argument. He finds a load of money hidden in the home and magnanimously donates it to needs he finds in his community.

But no good deed goes unpunished, and Nick is soon being harangued by a jealous classmate who soon destroys his home in a pique of jealous rage, and Nick must choose whether or not to use the money to anonymously help his tormentor...
Just think; when you're done reading, you'll have a large list of SAT words you can make flashcards out of with the handy definitions in the appendix.

Safety notes: Nick's father bugs out on him and his mom all in the course of one sentence and is never mentioned again. Misty is a character who runs into her boyfriend's arms and they start kissing. (Appropriately enough, the other teens start gagging.) The book makes a point of avoiding the some of the trashy scenes that can be found in teen books, yet rather unecessarily has a paragraph where a man interviewed by a teen reporter gives a confession (not lurid) of his young days drinking and doing drugs until he receives news he's a father. I guess the good part is that it makes him straighten his life up, but he doesn't live by or have contact with his own daughter now.

audacious: bold correlated: bring into parallel relation
tendentious: written to promote a cause commendable: praiseworthy
malignant: evil diligence: persevering deleterious: harmful
hapless: helpless magnanimously: generously harangued: harrassed



Nancy Piccione February 2, 2011 at 6:27 AM  

That's funny! I just picked up at our library one of these SAT prep novels, and my 13-year-old is previewing for me. I think the title of ours is called Head over Heels.

Tween Lit Crit February 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM  

mmm..have to check that one out... didn't see it on CafePress...

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