Book Review: Speak of the Tiger by Martha Deeringer


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

My Review:

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

Links for more information:

Fire and Ice Website

Martha Deeringer’s Website


Book Review: Intrigue in the House of Wong by Amy S. Kwei


Intrigue in the House of Wong by Amy S. Kwei

A Early Reader/Teen/YA Novel published by Tats Publishing (06/01/2008)



 Wendy Wong and her close-knit Chinese family move from familiar Chinatown to the Upper East Side so that she can attend a posh private school through partial scholarship. The Wongs go into debt purchasing the restaurant under their apartment. A stop work order on the renovation and sketchy thugs hanging out in the alley threaten to shut down the business, but the Wongs, along with their newfound friends and allies, will stop at nothing to save the House of Fortune. Their plans almost fall apart when one of their friends’ lives is threatened and Wendy is torn between obediently following her family and doing what she thinks is best.



 Chinese-American, Chinatown, culture, understanding, being uprooted, teen issues


My Review:

Wendy is not a complex character, she is just going through that period of time when she is confused about who she is and how she relates tot the world. Her Chinese culture butts heads with her new American attitude and she is forced to choose between the two in some circumstances. “Wendy never dreamed of doing anything shocking or scandalous.” (Location 90).

This book highlights the lives and feelings of Chinese living in present day America, their trials and tribulations and the way they are perceived by others. “…the Chinese were unwelcome guests, and the American Chinese would be foolish to act as if they were equal citizens.” (Location 575). Wendy herself feels like she is straddling two worlds and ultimately she feels alienated from both.

This book starts out slow, but soon progresses into a thought-provoking stance on cultural integration and how some people are not willing to change, not ready to change, or can’t change to fit in. Wendy learns that it is hard to be in a new place with new people who don’t know or understand where she is coming from. Not everyone is born equal, therefore there cannot truly be equality in this world, but you can try to treat everyone equally. Wendy comments that “Yeah, when you’re not on your guard, everyone seems to slip into group think.” (Locations 1572-1573) and that “In times of mass hysteria, people can forget to be human.” (Locations 1413-1414).

Kwei gives the teens slang that seems out of place, just like how Wendy and her friend Debbie sometimes feel out of place. The two teens want to fit in, but even their speech is not normal. The style of narration in the book is even subject to the semi-halting lilt of a young teenager’s emerging style and of one experiencing sudden change.

This is a book for teens and so the villains are softer and more subdued than the average bad guy you read about. These villains reveal their plans directly to the kids and act in stereotypical villanous fashion straight out of a Disney movie.


This novel was published by Tats Publishing 06/01/2008 and is available on Amazon here.


TLDR Star Rating: 3.50


Links for more information:


Tats Publishing