Friday, November 01, 2013

The Year of Billy Miller (2013)

The Year of Billy Miller. Kevin Henkes. 2013. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]

I liked some things about The Year of Billy Miller. I did. But. I didn't quite "love, love, love" The Year of Billy Miller. I liked that it balanced school stories with family stories. There would be scenes set in the classroom, with the teacher, perhaps, or with his classmates. There would be scenes set at home with Billy interacting with his dad, his mom, his sister, his best friend. 

I thought Henkes did a much better job with the home scenes, the family stuff, than the school stuff. I did get a good sense of Billy Miller's home, what his family was like, the dynamics of those relationships. I really liked seeing Billy challenge himself here. For example, his love-hate relationship with his younger sister. Sometimes he HATES her (like when she "adds" glitter to his school project), and sometimes he LOVES her (like when he goes to her bedroom and wakes her up because he's scared and doesn't want to be alone). I thought there were some sweet and tender scenes between Billy and the individual members of his family. 

I was not as impressed with Billy's school life, however. I thought the book started off promising with Billy trying to impress his new teacher, his biggest desire earning her love and respect, wanting to be thought one of the "good" kids in the room, etc. And in the few scenes we see with the teacher, well, it works well enough, I suppose. But what this book lacked that other books for this age group don't is memorable classmates. The school stuff just didn't work for me as well. The characterization just wasn't there, the descriptions just weren't there. Part of me liked the fact that the book was so rushed and that it was more a series of novellas than an actual novel, the other part of me wanted more continuity and less jumping about in time. (The first chapter starts with the first day of school; the last chapter finishes off the school year.) 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko 11:56 PM  

This is a new book to me, although I've heard of this author. Very nice, balanced review, Becky.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP