Friday, March 11, 2016

American Ace

American Ace. Marilyn Nelson. 2016. 128 pages. [Source: Library]

American Ace is a verse novel about a "white" (Italian/Italian-American) family learning a secret, unraveling a decades-old mystery, and in the process learning more about history (specifically World War II and the role of the Tuskegee Airmen) and themselves. The secret is revealed by Connor's father on the anniversary of the death of his mother--Connor's grandmother. Connor's grandfather wasn't his biological grandfather.

Connor's grandfather is a mystery to be unraveled. They have a ring (with a year and initials); they have pilot's wings; they have a nickname, "Ace." During this research process--some time spent at the library--they learn two things: he attended a Historically Black College and University, and, that he was a Tuskegee Airmen. In other words, their "white" family has some African-American genes mixed in. The book is about the family processing this information--as individuals, as a whole family.

The book is contemporary. Connor is your "typical" teenager excited about getting his driver's license, interested in girls and dating, having a fair amount of family issues to sort through. The family issues in this book are the family's secret and what it may mean, and, his father's health--physical and emotional.

The last section (or possibly last two sections?) of the book focus almost exclusively on the Tuskagee airmen, and on packing as much information as possible into the poems of this verse novel. You might say it is a bit fact-heavy at the end. But I personally didn't mind these details.

I struggled with this one. I struggled with the narrative voice. I struggled with connecting with the characters. It isn't that I didn't like them or that I actively disliked them. The characterization just didn't work for me personally. The characters didn't feel fleshed-out and living to me. I struggled with the fact that it is a verse novel. Perhaps the form of this one kept me from really connecting with the characters like I feel I should have in theory? There was just too much disconnect for me to really care about the book.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

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