Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: Crossing the Tracks

Lately I've been working on some knitting projects, well honestly I started one project in mid-June, finished it in time for Otakon in early August, and then started another project in late August, and the thing is that I do most of my knitting on my commute. I take public transportation and, if I'm lucky enough, can get a seat for both the morning and evening and sitting while knitting is infinitely easier than trying to stand and balance knitting. Unfortunately this is also my biggest chunk of free time in the day to do reading so I'm starting to get dangerously close to the end of my book list for reviewing here and honestly even if I was reading on the metro it might not help, it's surprisingly hard to hold a book and turn the pages one-handed if you're trying to use the other hand to stop yourself from creating a human line of dominos. So bear with me if I have to skip an update or two in the coming months, especially since I'm starting a few new series and these days I'd almost rather review an entire series at once instead of talking about the series two or three times in three months or so, thank goodness not everything I'm reading is a sequel!

Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber

It's 1926 and Iris has never felt connected to her shoe salesman father which, since her mother is long dead, makes her feel as if she's at loose ends and ignored. The fact that her father hired her out for the summer to look after a doctor's ailing mother doesn't help this feeling at all, nor does Iris' habit of over-panicking, but in some ways this might have been the best thing that's ever happened to her.

Forgive me if I'm starting to repeat myself in these reviews but, this wasn't a bad book, it's even won some awards, but I can't call it an engaging book either. The book's style and tone actually seemed a bit old fashioned, it's only from 2010 but yet it lacks a lot of the stylistic details I usually see in YA these days. It was nice to not have a love triangle (/generally angsty love interest) or any general "angsty" tropes and yet, even thought you can write a simple story and make it good this one just didn't work for me. It wasn't quite boring but it was a bit paint by the numbers, no plot twist really surprised me (even the one that should've been shocking since the book flap hinted at it and that character was so far removed from the story that it certainly didn't give me an emotional reaction to it). There were Characters Who Are Good People, Characters Who Are Bad People, and Characters Who Aren't Bad But Certainly Unlikable, some of the characters were a little deeper than others but no one felt fleshed out enough to really be believable, again it reminded me of books from an older time where a character would miraculously stumble upon lovely people who would become the perfect surrogate family for them without any trouble at all. And this lack of conflict, the fact that the conflict in the story always came from an outside group instead, just made everything seem a bit too flat. I fear that this is the kind of book I'll end up forgetting about in just a few months which is always the exact opposite of what I hope for when I pick up a book to read.

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