The 2018 Review


*  The Naughty List:  Favorite DNFs  *

book toss

Finally, the following were my Top 4 Books I Did Not Finish of 2018. 

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.  My Plain Jane.  New York: HarperTeen, 2018.

My Plain Jane

This book tried so hard to live up to its predecessor, but, like Seasons 4-6 of Community, it just fell flat.  You could see all the strings behind the attempted meta humor, and the characters felt too much like caricatures rather than real people I could get invested in.  And the whole premise of 19th-century Ghostbusters just wasn’t as compelling to me as the 16th-century Tudor intrigues involving half-human/half-animal shape-shifters.

What did you think, fellow Janies?  Do you think Hand, Ashton and Meadows have a good series going, or are they a one-hit wonder?

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple.  Pay the Piper: A Rock ‘n Roll Fairy Tale.  New York: Starscape, 2005.

This story had a promising beginning, setting up the Pied Pay the PiperPiper as a renegade from Faerie who manifests in the 21st century as a hypnotic folk rock star.  But the teen characters’ Disney-Channel-esque dialogue (oh the cliches!  the catchphrases!  the annoyingly abbreviated words!), and the cartoonish behavior of the police officers who are searching for the missing kids, totally threw off my groove.  The whole thing just felt too much like a painfully cheesy tween movie.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder.  The Gypsy Game.  New York: Yearling, 1997.

The Gypsy GameThis one, too, had a lot of promise.  It started off as a neat lesson on Roma history, with library research sessions
helping the kids to bust their own preconceived notions about Gypsies.  It is a bit convenient that one of the characters just happens to be part Roma himself (something that was never mentioned in The Egypt Game), but that could have been handled in an effective, respectful way.

Instead, the story veers off into a grim custody battle, and by golly if we don’t get another pair of cartoonishly villainous/incompetent detectives on the case.  Can someone please point me to a story with realistic, three-dimensional Local LEOs?  Also, if your child has just run away from home and is being pursued by would-be kidnappers, and you suspect that his friends know where he’s hiding, would you shrug your shoulders and say, Eh, I’ll leave it to you kids.  You know what you’re doing?

The November GirlLydia Kang.  The November Girl.  Fort Collins, CO: Entangled, 2017.

November just isn’t the best time for me to read about emotional abuse and self-loathing and intense life-or-death struggles.  The magic and the love story weren’t compelling enough to overcome the grim setting and situation.  Isle Royale is not a world I want to escape to when I’m already feeling down.

Who knows, maybe I’ll give these books another chance in the future.  Maybe My Plain Jane will develop a less forced sense of humor in its second half.  Maybe The November Girl will feel less depressing and more magical in the summer.  In the meantime, this ship is sailing on to other worlds.


*  Until Next Year, Postcardians!  *

Once again, a Very Happy Holiday Season to you and yours!  Please enjoy my Top 12 Christmas Songs playlist (click the stripey symbol in the upper right corner to see the full list), and leave your own seasonal pop favorites in the comments!


  1. I love your blog! You have a way of being so personable! I look forward to what 2019 brings for your blog! Also, your grandma looks like the sweetest woman in the world!

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