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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
Slipping Reality - Emily Beaver Also found here.Katelyn's brother is dying. He's been dying for three years, but this time it's very bad. She knows that, and thinks she's ready, but apparently, her mind doesn't agree, because she starts to have hallucinations. Two men, Tristan and Cedric, who start off as figments of her imagination, suddenly gain lives of their own and begin interacting with her. As Katelyn's brother gets worse, she dives deeper into her imaginary world, choosing her fictional stories over the real world. It's hard to review books written by teenager because let's face it, how can you possibly tell if a criticism is about the work or the author's age? How can you not be supportive of a young author? Age shouldn't matter, right? I have the highest respect for anyone who lands a book deal at fourteen. Nevertheless, the last time I read something by a teen author... it did not go well .I'll tell you this, though: this story is heartfelt. I don't know by what freaky coincidence I ended up reading not one, but TWO cancer books in the last week, but they came at a very difficult moment in my life. Slipping Reality impacted me very strongly, and part of the reason why is because of how personal it is. Emily Beaver started writing this while her own brother was dying of cancer and you can tell how invested she is in the story. The scenes between Katelyn and Matthew were heart-rendering, and indeed, I teared up a couple of times.Another thing I liked was the narrative, which combines "walking dreams" with real life events. Katelyn reacts as a normal person might - first with shock and disbelief at the fact that her hallucinations don't impede her real life, then accepts them, then realizes they're not so great. Her character arc is believable and well developed. Still, while I firmly believe that Emily Beaver has more talent in her pinky than Alexandra Adornetto has in her entire body, the book still isn't very good. I know this will make me sound like I have no soul (and indeed, I'm pretty sure that my review of The Fault In Our Stars will only cement that impression), but... it needs work.What I mean by this is not that the story itself is bad, or that a lot of heart went into it, but the storytelling techniques and the prose are not great. I don't think I can even properly explain what bothered me about it without sounding like a douche - it reads like something written by a teenager. There's a scene, somewhere in the middle of the novel, where Tristan talks about the death of his wife Diana, and while I realized it was sad and heartbreaking, I just couldn't buy into it.Which brings me to the other problem I had - character voice. While Katelyn's is well developed, the same can't be said about Tristan and Cedric. In a way, I guess it would be normal, since they are technically figments of her imagination, but afterwards they start having lives of their own, which confused me greatly. Are they meant to be parts of her own brain which she doesn't know exist? Are they mouthpieces for the thoughts she's afraid to construct herself? Nevertheless, this is a very powerful book in its own right, and I think is worth checking out. Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers on NetGalley.