4 out of 4 stars
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A Bloody Book is a poignant and shocking crime, thriller, and young fiction novel written by Chris Bowen.
Maxx is thirteen years old. He attends a remedial class also called the Reading Hell. The class is held in a smaller, special, windowless classroom for fifteen to twenty students that is now holding thirty five. The students in this class are either too slow, too recalcitrant, or too jaded. They are treated differently from other students and they feel mocked, despised, and rejected.
One teacher, however, takes the time to understand the students in this class. This teacher, in his unorthodox, albeit, effective way, is able to penetrate through the barrier that the students put around themselves. Gradually, the students find themselves opening up and cooperating in the activities in class, until the teacher asks them to write about when they stop caring about school and about life in general.
Written in the first person perspective of Maxx, this is a moving, touching, and shocking book with twenty-one chapters. Using occasional sentence fragments effectively, the author is able to make the story very engaging and suspenseful. The book begins with a seemingly mundane issue about a defiant young boy living a difficult life. It gradually shifts to more serious issues including domestic violence, extreme poverty, and drug addiction. What started out as a funny and amusing story turns out to be a profound, chilling, and disturbing thriller. Admittedly, I found it genuinely shocking.
The book presents a realistic portrayal of young people’s perspectives on how adults deal with children, personal problems, and society as a whole. It offers suggestions and practical advice regarding tactfulness, sincerity, and empathy. The author emphasizes the importance of parenting skills, parental involvement, parental guidance, or at least parental presence in the lives of children and the development of their cognitive, mental, emotional, and social capabilities.
In addition to the very interesting plot are thoroughly described scenes and realistic dialogues. The characters, even the minor ones, are well-developed and are given short but substantial backstories. Finally, I like the ending. I find it cleverly written and satisfactory.
The best part of the book, for me, is the depiction of the various social issues that affect a lot of people in our society, the impact of these issues on children, and how they deal with such issues. It may make some readers more appreciative of things they take for granted in their everyday lives.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot. It is an easy read and a real deal crime and thriller novel. However, I found the plot too dark for young adults. Moreover, there are noticeable errors within the entire book which are, fortunately, very few (like trying to created the arc and Mrs. Greener instead of Grenner). Finally, I found some gaps in the story which are not elaborately explained and that’s the part I like least.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is moving, touching, and shocking. I recommend it to fans of crime and thriller novels. Scenes of abuse, drug use, and murder, however, may not be suitable for very young readers.
A Bloody Book
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