Official Review: 450 East by David R. VerValin

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any young adult books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Include the name of the book, and if possible the author's name, in the title of the topic. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Official Review: 450 East by David R. VerValin

Post by Miriam Molina » 22 Nov 2017, 23:47

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "450 East" by David R. VerValin.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The novel 450 East shows a young man, 17-year-old judo black belt and champion runner John Sebrook, who is forced to grow up quickly when his parents Mark and Carol die when their private plane crashes. John, used to the Santa Monica, California charmed life, is whisked away to rural Indiana to live with farmers Paul and Kathy, paternal grandparents he barely knows. (Paul and his son Mark had a big rift many years ago which was never patched up.)

At first, John strongly believes he can never be a farmer and plans to return to California as soon as the chance arises. But once he meets the neighbor’s pretty teenage daughter Madison, he quickly has a change of heart.

After several months of adjusting to his new routine of dating in lakes and deer stands and assisting his grandfather in working acres of soybean and corn, it seems that John is going to be a happy boy again. However, he soon makes shocking discoveries that rock his still unstable world. He finds out about his heritage as a Miami Indian, gets drawn to a mysterious blue light that suddenly appears in the woods on certain nights, and learns a family secret that had been buried for over thirty years.

The book is categorized as a young adult read in the historical fiction genre. From the “Author’s Reflections” at the beginning of the book, we know that D.R. Vervalin desires the American youth to appreciate their Indian ancestors more. As someone who is himself fascinated by the names of places in his native Indiana (like Fort Defiance, Wabash, and Wapakoneta), he feels that the average American youth needs to know about the rich history behind those names. The book definitely but subtly gives the readers interesting Indian stuff to chew on (tidbits about American-Indian battles, including a sketch of Indian Chief Little Turtle, animal spirit guides, the creator god Gichi Manidoo, and the happenings at a powwow) without ramming it down their throats.

The characters are well-formed and one will appreciate their growth (even the grandparents had some growing up to do!) throughout the story. The story focuses on the teenage characters John and Madison, and the reader roots for them to overcome their various challenges including Calculus, unfair school rules, and unnerving mysterious happenings.

The title 450 East pertains to the location of the Sebrook homestead near Fort Wayne (which used to be the Miami Kekionga village). The fields, parks, woods and other locations are described in picturesque detail. An accompanying map would be good though, especially as the author gives historical information about most places.

The story flows smoothly and the discoveries are paced well. The ending is unexpected but totally satisfying. There are some questions that are left unanswered which can well be used for a sequel if the author so desires.

While I find the story entertaining, there are some organizational improvements needed. One, the e-book (PDF version in my case) does not have a table of contents; thus, navigating to the chapters is hampered. Two, the titling of the chapters is confusing: the use of dates and locations is not effective as the chapters span several days and several locations. Three, while the author’s writing style is easy to follow, there are times when the reading is distracted by unannounced changes in points of view. Four, there is a need to tighten some scenes where the continuity is compromised (Chapters 10 and 11 relative to work on the toolshed is one).

The book also needs better editing. There are several mistakes, such as the following: the daughter-in-law is called a stepdaughter, the Friday-night homecoming dance is referred to as a Saturday event, and Chapter 7 lacks paragraph indentations. There are grammatical errors like misused punctuation, sentence fragments, and misspellings (“fuel” for “full,” “brain” for “bran,” and “hoped” for “hopped” are a few). There are also superfluous details included, specifically in the first three chapters where John’s parents are introduced and their activities expounded on.

In summary, I award 450 East with a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. It is an endearing read featuring loving families and mostly kindhearted people and a learning experience about Miami Indian tradition and folklore. With a good editor who will trim the superfluous pages and iron out the technical wrinkles, a perfect rating will not be far behind.

This book will be an exhilarating read for young adults who will surely enjoy the depiction of driving the first wheels, the nervous anticipation of homecoming night, the thrill of teenage romance, and the comfort of good family relationships. It is also good for city kids who want to know about life in the rural areas and the beauty of “amber waves of grain.” There might be an issue though about the extreme injuries John inflicts on his opponents; parental guidance may be necessary. The older crowd will also appreciate the book for the good story and the interesting Indian trivia. In terms of learning more about the Native American heritage, reading 450 East is surely a step in the right direction.

******
450 East
View: on Bookshelves

Like Miriam Molina's review? Post a comment saying so!

Adedola
Posts: 18
Joined: 22 Nov 2017, 16:34
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 2
2017 Reading Goal: 0

Post by Adedola » 24 Nov 2017, 09:00

450 East by David R. VerValin promises to be an exhilarating read. Those of you who enjoy driving & cars, the nervous anticipation of major events, the thrill of romance, and the comfort of good family relationships. Thank you!

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 24 Nov 2017, 10:38

Hi, Adedola! Welcome to the Club!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. If you do try 450 East, let me know how you find it. Yes, John did a lot of driving; you'd never guess what wheels he had!

User avatar
CommMayo
Posts: 274
Joined: 22 Oct 2017, 14:19
Currently Reading: The Outlander
Bookshelf Size: 17
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-commmayo.html
Latest Review: "Curve Couture" by H M Irwing
Reading Device: B00G2Y4WNY
2017 Reading Goal: 6
Goal Completion: 200

Post by CommMayo » 24 Nov 2017, 13:54

Thank you for your very detailed review of the novel. The story must have been very compelling for you to rate it so highly in light of the clear lack of professional editing. I'm not so sure I would have been able to be so generous...

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 24 Nov 2017, 21:20

The errors were not enough to detract from the story. I had fun growing up with John during this very eventful year in his life.

Thanks for dropping by, CommMayo!

User avatar
Mercy Bolo
Posts: 585
Joined: 31 May 2017, 03:44
Favorite Book: The Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 101
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mercy-bolo.html
Latest Review: "Matilda the Queen" by Richard
2017 Reading Goal: 0

Post by Mercy Bolo » 24 Nov 2017, 22:25

This story sounds interesting. I would be glad to join John on his journey of discovery and learn a few things while at it.
"The minimum requirement for a dream is a safe place to lay your head."
~OluTimehin Adegbeye

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 24 Nov 2017, 23:37

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mercy Bolo! The loving grandparents, the supportive friends, and the pretty girlfriend all helped John get over his grief over the loss of his parents. We all need other people.

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 6430
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 258
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: "The Amazing A-Muse-ing Lillian" by Maria Bakalis
2017 Reading Goal: 52
Goal Completion: 100

Post by bookowlie » 25 Nov 2017, 12:18

Great review! It's too bad about the errors and other issues, since the plot sounds very interesting.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 25 Nov 2017, 13:49

It's a great reading experience for young adults. But it definitely can be better.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Bookowlie!

User avatar
inaramid
Posts: 142
Joined: 04 Nov 2017, 11:22
Currently Reading: The Siege
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-inaramid.html
Latest Review: "My Ladybird Story" by Magus Tor
2017 Reading Goal: 10
Goal Completion: 70
Location: La Trinidad

Post by inaramid » 26 Nov 2017, 11:35

This sounds wonderful and totally well-intentioned. I do hope though that the grammatical and spelling problems you pointed out get sorted out soon. I'm curious about the plot but errors in the text are really distracting. Thanks for this information.

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 26 Nov 2017, 13:31

The errors were not glaring and did not ruin the story. I only found them because I was looking.

I still recommend you try the book, inaramid. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

User avatar
Bret Isgette
Posts: 2
Joined: 23 Oct 2017, 22:02
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 2
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bret-isgette.html
Latest Review: "Tips, Myths and Rips: A Physician's Advice" by Morton E.Tavel
2017 Reading Goal: 0

Post by Bret Isgette » 26 Nov 2017, 20:15

This was a wonderful review! Because you said there was an unexpected ending...it makes me want to read the book. Thanks for the insight and honesty concerning the errors, but that it was still an enjoyable read.

User avatar
Kalin Adi
Posts: 735
Joined: 01 May 2017, 14:29
Currently Reading: Wuthering Heights
Bookshelf Size: 95
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kalin-adi.html
Latest Review: "Border Post 99" by Kedar Patankar
2017 Reading Goal: 5
Goal Completion: 880

Post by Kalin Adi » 26 Nov 2017, 20:21

It's a good thing there are authors like VerValin still out there that care about illuminating the present/future generations about their roots. So a little bit of history mixed with teenage romance sounds just the right way to do so. Too bad about the poor editing in the book, though. Buen trabajo, Miriam! :)

User avatar
Miriam Molina
Member of the Month
Posts: 1698
Joined: 02 May 2017, 20:17
Currently Reading: A Stained White Radiance
Bookshelf Size: 462
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miriam-molina.html
Latest Review: "450 East" by David R. VerValin
2017 Reading Goal: 36
Goal Completion: 155

Post by Miriam Molina » 26 Nov 2017, 20:33

All who will read the book will learn lots of lessons from the story of John. As I mentioned in the review, even the oldies around John grew up, too. No one is too young or too old to learn something new.

Thanks for the appreciation, Bret Isgette!

Muchas gracias, mi amiga Kalin!

User avatar
Gunnar Ohberg
Posts: 106
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 18:08
Currently Reading: The Stand
Bookshelf Size: 45
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gunnar-ohberg.html
Latest Review: "The Ultimate Guide to Zombies" by Dave Robertson
2017 Reading Goal: 0

Post by Gunnar Ohberg » 27 Nov 2017, 07:33

I don't think I could handle the spelling and grammatical errors. They seem very glaring. Decent review.

Post Reply

Return to “Young Adult Fiction Books”