Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Reviews- Books to Avoid

I am an avid reader and am so pleased that my kids have taken a love to books as well.  (Well, a couple of them anyway.)  This also presents its self with challenges in today's world, finding appropriate books for my kids as they get older.  I am full of great ideas for up to, say 5th grade, but after that I am at a loss.
This tends to lead to discussions with my fellow moms about books that our kids can choose from. 

Because I love books so much and am trying to find great books for my kids, I thought I would start an occasional book review post.  Some kids books, some adult books, some fiction, some non-fiction.  It would be great for you to comment on books you and your kids enjoy or would advise we avoid.

I don't know what it will say about my first book reviews to post about books to avoid, but hey, that's what a reviw is for isn't it.  And you may not agree, but that's ok too.

Several months ago, I was having one of those "what kid books to avoid" discussions with two dear friends.  I made note of two of these books.  Well, wouldn't you know it.  In May both of these books made an entrance into our home.  One physically and one in conversation.  In the same week.  So, I got to reading.  And I wanted to share with you my reviews as these are very popular books among kids today.

Hunger Games - This is a pop-culture book series, highly popular among tweens and teens alike.  One young girl mentioned that her teacher was reading it aloud to the class.  Which left me quite appalled.  And here's why.  It takes place in post-apocalyptic America, which is now divided into 12 districts.  In order to pay homage to the Capital and to provide reality tv entertainment, each year these districts participate in the Hunger Games.  The process is this - all citizens ages 12-16 (or it may be 19, I can't remember) have their names placed in a drawing.  There are various ways that your name could be put in there multiple times, increasing your chances of getting drawn.  Each year a boy's name and girl's name gets drawn.  These select 24 then compete in the Hunger Games- a survivor-esque type competition where each of the 24 battle it out to see who is the lone survivor.  No, they don't get voted off.  They die.  Either by natural causes or get killed by the other participants.  So basically, it is teens killing teens for reality tv entertainment.  And yes, it is being read aloud at school.   This is what teens are reading.  Unfortunately for these teens, it is very very well written.  It makes you not want to put it down.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Do I think it should be completely off limits?  Probably not, depending on what your older teen can handle.  Notice I said "older teen".  It is not for the young impressionable tween or teen.  Unless you want them reading about teens killing teens.

Christy Miller- This is a series of books focused on the life of a 14 yr old girl and I believe continues through her college years.  It is very popular among the Christian tween/teen girl set.  But I had heard that it was one to avoid.  When it started getting mentioned I felt that I needed to see for myself.  So, my review may offend some, but this is truly an opinion with facts of the book drawn in.  My disclaimer is that I only read book 1 of the series.  But, frankly, that was enough.  This first book in this series touches on the following topics, some more in depth than others - dating, flirting, materialism, unchaperoned parties, marijuana use, underage drinking, suicidal thoughts, pre-marital relations, death of a peer, birth control pills, divorce.   These are all things Christy faces in some form or fashion in this summer of her life, while visiting with her aunt and uncle.   For today's Christian girl, I feel that there are better things to be filling her mind with than these topics.   Now, as one person I mentioned this to said, this book may have its place for a Christian girl to recommend to a non-believing friend who may be dealing with some of these issues.  It would be a subtle way to introduce her to Christ, as it does weave Christ and salvation into the story.   Again, maybe not a book to totally avoid, but certainly for the older teen and be prepared to read it with them to discuss the issues it deals with.

Take it for what it is worth.  Some of you may be thinking I have lost my mind in my critiques, but these are just my opinions.  

I'm thinking my next review will be books for great enjoyment!!

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