Friday, January 02, 2015

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (2014)

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms. Katherine Rundell. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 256 pages. [Source: Library] Mild spoilers.

The heroine of Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms is a girl named Will Silver (full name Wilhelmina, don't dare call her Wilhelmina though!). Will loves living on a farm in Zimbabwe. Her father doesn't own the farm--Captain Browne does--but he manages it. She can't remember her mother, but, life there with her father and her friends (mostly farm workers and local boys) and her animals is near perfect. Until her father dies from malaria. Just like her mother.

After his death, Captain Browne is her legal guardian. The problem? Well, this older gentlemen has fallen head over heels in love with a horrible woman with an evil plan. At least that's how Will sees it. Will soon finds herself heading off to England and boarding school. The situation seems bleak. And it is. And I think that's one reason why I didn't exactly love Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms. It is a bleak middle grade read with little hope. I like hope. I need hope. Will finds herself in dozens of desperate situations, and, it doesn't get better, it just ends. True to life? Probably. Is it important to be true to life and authentic? Sure.

Will is displaced. She's out of her element in England and at school. She's never interacted with girls her own age. She's never formally attended school. She's never had to follow rules. So she struggles with EVERYTHING. For example, she struggles with the concept of staying inside, staying inside classrooms and buildings during school, of staying in her room at night and sleeping. She can't understand why no one will let her sleep outside wherever she wants whenever she wants. She can't understand why no one wants to be near her despite the fact that she hasn't changed clothes or taken a bath or washed her hair or even brushed her hair in three weeks or so. She gets angry when people tell her to use a fork and knife to eat. So it's an understatement to say she's out of her element.

The book is interesting enough, I suppose. But I didn't really enjoy it very much.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kate Midnight Book Girl 9:56 AM  

The cover and title are so lovely, but MG is hit or miss for me, mostly miss. I don't know that this one appeals to me, but it's hard to resist the cover art!

Ms. Yingling 6:08 PM  

I didn't care very much for this very much, either, but the cover is very pretty. It was just so sad. And ONLY six books a week? ; ) You read a lot AND you read a lot of different books. Love that we read so many of the same ones- I always check to see what your opinion is.

Becky 6:43 PM  

Ms. YIngling, one of the first things I do when I'm on goodreads is see if you've read the book I'm adding :)

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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.
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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.
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