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November 01, 2013

Double Review: Every Day After by Laura Golden & Engines of the Broken World by Jason Banhee

Every Day After
Title: Every Day After
Author: Laura Golden
Publisher: Random House Canada
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Genre(s): Middle Grade (Realistic Fiction)
Source: Publisher 
Format: ARC
Pages: 224
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It's been two months since Lizzie's daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie's praying he'll return to Bittersweet, Alabama, for her birthday. It won't feel special without him, what with Lizzie's Mama being so sad she won't even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for a mortgage payment.

Daddy expected her to be the best at any cost. But Lizzie claims "that cost me my top grades and my best friend. It's dumped 'em both square into Erin's hands. She's gone batty if she thinks she's gonna get me carted off to the orphanage."
While Lizzie waits, she gets comfort writing in her journal. As time passes, she can only picture her daddy's face by opening her locket. If others can get by, why did her daddy leave? If he doesn't return, how can she overcome the same obstacles that drove him away?
Lizzie Hawkins' life is going way downhill. Her daddy left her, her mama won't do anything other than sit and stare, the bank is nagging for the mortgage on the house, and the pressure of having the best grades in school is killing her. Then, a spoiled brat named Erin comes in and tries her very hardest to make Lizzie go to the orphanage and her mother to a mental asylum. On top of that, Erin tries to snag Lizzie's best friend Ben. How is Lizzie supposed to handle all this stress? 
I liked this book quite a bit. Lizzie is a really likable character and almost all of her reactions are something along the lines of what i would do. Ben was also a good character, but he trusts a bit too easily. Each character has their own flaws and problems, which makes them all very well described. The book took place right after the Great Depression, and they described everything perfectly. 
The book did not have any unnecessary parts in the story, which is really good. Its written in first person, which is really nice. The flow was a bit tedious in the beginning, but evens out and becomes very well written. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend this to teens ages 11-15. 

Engines of the Broken World.
Title: Engines of the Broken World
Author: Jason Vanhee
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Horror)
Source: NetGalley 
Format: eARC
Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby. . .
Merciful Truth has just lost her mother to a awful illness. Its winter, and its the harshest winter Merciful and her brother Gospel have seen. The ground has frozen over, so they decided to put their mother under the kitchen table. They don't really have to much of a choice, and the Minister, who preaches and keeps the siblings company, doesn't try to make them feel any better about it. Merciful tries to ignore her guilt, until she sees her mother rocking back and forth in a rocking chair, singing a lullaby......which doesn't make sense.......because her dead. With a strange fog rolling over the land, destroying everything in its path, Merciful has to find the cause of all the strange things going on.
I've never really felt impending doom until I read this book, and let me tell you, it's not a very pleasant feeling. I felt like the characters could have been described a bit more, because then I might have felt more connected to the characters. The parts of the story that were supposed to be scary were pretty good actually. I can't stomach scary stuff. Take it from a girl who slept with the lights on after reading the book Coraline, this book is the perfect kind of scary (for me at least). If you prefer scarier reads, this book will appear pretty weak, which is unfortunate, because I liked it a lot.  
Nothing in this book bothered me, as the story was interesting and the plot was good. Something that might have annoyed a lot of people is the quick introduction of new characters. Throughout the story, new people who weren't very well described appeared. It might annoy some people, but I thought it was ok. The flow in Engines of the Broken World is good, a bit slow for my taste, but in what parallel universe do horror stories end quickly? I unfortunately don't think I'll read any more horror stories from this author, but I might read one of his other genres. Recommended for teens 11-14 (or a easily scared person looking for a mild thrill).


  1. Out of the two books that you reviewed Danna, I think that Engines of the Broken World would be more my sort of read, despite me not being a huge fan of horror books. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy both books Danna. Great reviews! :)

  2. They both sounds good. I would probably pick up the second one more so than the first. I like the scary ones. :) Great reviews.

  3. These both sound interesting, and the impending doom is always exciting as you read, too bad the characters weren't fleshed out more. I do love a good horror story though .

  4. Great reviews. I think I would like the first book, but the second sounds a little too creepy for me.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Danna! I like the theme offered in Every Day After. Engines of the Broken World seems a bit weird to me but it's good to know that it's only a mild sort of scary.