Speak of the Tiger by Martha Deeringer
A YA/Teen Read Novel published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (03/10/15)
“It was a great feeling to do something you weren’t sure you had the courage to do. Especially after it was over.” (Kindle Locations 566-567).
When the ninth grade class goes on a long field trip in a semi-isolated ranch in South Texas, they expect fun filled days of camping, horse riding, and camaraderie. Before they’ve even arrived the problems begin and the students are quick to point the blaming finger at the quiet new boy, Lee Boyd. As issues escalate, from toilet papering to property damage in the hundreds of dollars, everyone is more and more convinced that Lee is the instigator.
Justin wasn’t the only one to misunderstand and make assumptions of Lee, but he is surprised when the new boy steps up during the biggest turmoil of them all. Was Lee the one causing all the catastrophes, or was he framed? After the big thunderstorm and daring rescue, Justin will try to befriend Lee and break down the prejudices surrounding the boy.
Change, horses, school, Korean, boys, 9th grade, high school, fitting in, thunderstorm, secrets, bullying, needing help
If you like reading at the level of the Magic School Bus about bullies and boy troubles and friendships, you will like this book. This book had a little bit of each of many issues that plague pre-teens/teens, but didn’t delve too deep into the nitty gritty of them. The issues of bullying and suicide are very real and very serious and this book touched on both. Personally, I wanted more emotion, more action, and more consequence related to these issues, but if you don’t want to get too emotionally involved in this book, then the way the author writes them into the story won’t bother you.
I thought this book was a fun easy read, but I didn’t come away with anything unique. It was just a story about two boys becoming friends and overcoming sucky teen attitudes and prejudices. The book wasn’t deep into any of the subjects or themes.
A girl showed some bullying, but it was very vanilla. These were ninth graders in high school and there were no insults, no name calling, no extreme racist remarks. The bullying was toned down as if the kids had grown up isolated and protected and their best insult was laughably poetic and only the intent communicated that it was an insult. Are these really ninth graders? They appear very polite and behaved, only committing what seemed like isolated acts of defiance and damage and only a few of those acts. Where are the teen attitudes? The sulking? There wasn’t offensive language or swearing. There was no sexual tension. These kids acted far more like sixth graders than ninth graders.
I did quite enjoy the story of Justin becoming unlikely friends with the quiet and misunderstood Korean boy and I thought the twist involving his home life was fascinating. I would have enjoyed a book told from Lee’s perspective, because Justin wasn’t that big of a personality and only got sucked into Boyd’s story.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
This novel was published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books on March 10th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75
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