What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's A Little Haywire by Elle Strauss

I read Elle Strauss's Clockwise a few months ago, and really enjoyed her writing style, so when she approached me about reviewing her new MG book, I thought it sounded like fun, even though MG isn't a genre I read a lot of.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been “exiled” to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don’t look so hot this year, in fact the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.

Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen’s help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town’s suffering citizens?

And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps’ house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?

What I Liked: 1) Owen. I always seem to like books with male MCs. And Owen is a sweet kid realizing new things in the world as he grows up. I really loved how he started seeing things with new eyes, because he was getting older and starting to think about things in new ways and realize what is important. 2) Owen's first taste of a little crush. Awe, this was cute. He starts having these feelings about Mikala and he doesn't understand them. And then of course since he is staying with his Gramps for the summer, Gramps is the one who has to explain, or try to explain it. 3) Loved the chapter headings. Each chapter was titled Owen the ....... fill in the blank. Forgotten, Exciled, Philosopher...those were are really cute. I'm not one who pays much attention to chapter headings (most of the time if chapters have titles I don't notice) but I took notice of these, and found myself checking to see what they were. That was very clever. 4) The overall theme of the story. I don't want to give anything away, but this was a very uplifting story about a young boy learning about the important of selflessness in life, and really growing up.

What I Didn't Like: One thing that struck me a little was that Owen's speech pattern and vocabulary was more mature than I would have expected from someone his age. Maybe I am not around people around that age enough, so I'm not really sure how mature they are in their speech.

Overall thoughts: I would recommend It's A Little Haywire to anyone who enjoys MG books, and to all kids in the appropriate age range. The characters are well developed, and the story sends a great message about caring for other people, appreciating the things you have, and sharing with others.

My rating: 4 shots

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