Wednesday, November 2

Abandoned: SkateFate

by Juan Filipe Herrera
HarperTeen 2011  

A teen journal, mostly in verse, of a boy ironically nicknamed Lucky as he picks up the pieces of his life following an accident that leaves him in a wheelchair.

It isn't a hard and fast rule, but when I come across a novel in verse, or one that purports to be the inner most thoughts of a teen, I kind expect it to blow me away. Otherwise, why bother with either format?

I've listed this as an "abandoned" book because I didn't finish it and didn't feel compelled to finish it, but I nearly labeled this a "failed" review because of its inability to grab me. But I pulled back at the last minute because I wondered if the failure was partly my fault. See, poetry is one of those areas where I feel you know what does or doesn't when you read it. And my "work" I mean for the individual reader. Not all poetry is meant to be understood and appreciated by all people. I do think people should have more poetry in their diet, but I don't think they should convert to all fiber, if you know what I mean.

The problem for me here was that I didn't get Lucky's voice. I didn't get where he was coming from, and since its an indirect journal full of allusions to details presumably to be filled in later, it was difficult to see where he was going. Basically, the writing didn't carry me along far enough to make me wonder or want to care what was going on in Lucky's life. That's a pretty heavy problem when the book is (apparently) about a skater who ends up in an accident that puts him in a wheelchair, kills his friend, and shoves him into the foster care system because his mother has died of cancer.

There may be a good and compelling book in SkateFate, but I couldn't find it in time to not set it aside.

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