Category Archives: small town

Don’t Stay Up Late


fear street

I’m not sure if I’m just too old or if I held these books up on too high of a pedestal but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this novel nearly as much as I remember enjoying the Fear Street novels. The plot was unstructured and left quite a few holes. It seemed to me like there was so much build up that the final reveal was a let down. It just didn’t quite all mesh together as smoothly as I remember.

The plot centers around Lisa Brooks who has just recently moved to town with her family. Very soon after the move her father dies in a horrible car accident and Lisa is left with a bad concussion that causes her to hallucinate. She starts seeing a therapist to help her get through her father’s death. It’s the therapist that recommends that Lisa should take a job to get her out of the house and recommends the babysitting job on Fear Street.

At first everything is fine. The little boy is adorable and takes an immediate liking to Lisa. However, it’s not long after Lisa takes the job that things begin to happen culminating in some seriously chilling murders.

The explanation for the murders unravels so quickly and is so loose that it left me unimpressed. This was much more like a mash between Goosebumps and Fear Street than a pure Fear Street novel. After reading this I do want to pick up an old novel to see the difference, if there is one. All in all, I’m sad to say this wasn’t one of my favorites. Hopefully the Fear Street books just haven’t hit their old stride yet.

Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy Reading!


The Casual Vacancy


casual vacancy

If instead of going off to Hogwarts with Harry Potter, we stayed behind with the Dursley’s the result would be this novel. The Casual Vacancy is exactly what it says it is. It’s a big novel about a small town. Rowling seamlessly blends all of the disparate lives in the village of Pagford together, showing you the entire picture of a town on the brink.

So many people have told me they hated this novel. After reading it I’m not sure why. The Casual Vacancy has everything Rowling’s writing has to offer. She narrates a tale that plays like a movie in your head. Never intrusive just laying down the picture of the way things are. There’s no magic in this novel, just the magic humans can create together. I really can relate to this novel, growing up in a small town myself. There’s so much politics in a small town and the good old boys network that wants to keep everything the same while a small minority fight for much needed change.

Pagford is a dueling town. It’s dueling with keeping the status quo or growing in beneficial but difficult ways. After the death of the town’s big fighter for change, Barry, the town is bereft. Barry left a legacy felt by everyone. The town and the people in it just come apart at the seams. They’ve lost the glue and the gusto in Barry and revert back to their petty feuds.

Rowling presents the town as the best realist writers do, faults and all. Every single character has flaws, and by the same token, redeeming qualities. No one is one dimensional. These are people that you probably know from your own life. From high school boys trying so hard to be cool, to overwhelmed parents who don’t know what to do anymore. The novel deals more with the real world than a fairy tale happily ever after. The plot builds until it’s final tragic conclusion. I won’t spill the details but the ending hit me hard.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Casual Vacancy. I liked seeing how Rowling deals with a world bereft of the magic of Harry Potter.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!