Sunday, January 18, 2015

#CBR7 Review #05: The Death Cure by James Dashner

The concluding novel in James Dashner’s “Maze Runner” trilogy has a similar, helpless and not really know what the heck is going on feeling as the preceding two novels of the series. Yet being unsure and running around just trying to figure things out fell a little flat in this book, and almost seemed redundant and like they were treading water for far too long, until a hasty (though reasonably good) showdown near the end. I am glad to have gotten to the end and to finally have at least some answers as to what the maze and everything was about, though a few things still seem to be up in the air… and I don’t know if I’m entirely satisfied.

The first book of the trilogy (The Maze Runner) is very strong and interesting, and leaves you with so many questions that you just want answered. The second book (The Scorch Trials) were difficult for me to get through, and I found them tedious and not nearly as intriguing as the first novel, and even though it ended on a cliff-hanger, I found myself really not caring all that much about what happened after the final page. This concluding piece to the trilogy (The Death Cure) falls somewhere in the middle, and I finally brought myself to reading it after seeing the film for the first novel and realizing that, hey, I kind of do want to know how it all ends. Plus Dylan O’Brien has really pretty eyes.

The Death Cure picks up with Thomas and the rest of the Gladers at the WICKED headquarters after being picked up from crossing the scorch as a part of their second phase of testing. They learn that they were chosen for testing to read their brains due to being immune to the Flare disease that is infecting countless people on the planet (well, most of them are immune anyways), and WICKED plans to give all the subjects their memories back in order to complete the final phases of testing. Thomas, Minho, and Newt, however, refuse to learn about their pasts in helping WICKED and break out of the facility with Brenda, who they met in the scorch but happens to actually work for WICKED as well.

From there, they finally get to see what has become of the world and what cities look like now. Upon reaching the city of Denver, they realize they need to figure out what to do next, what the best plan is for not only their survival, but also others who may be threatened by WICKED’s continuing plan to wrangle up new subjects to put through grueling trials in a search for a cure for the flare. There is a lot of running around and not really knowing where to go or what to do, and new alliances are made with a group called the Right Arm who want to take down WICKED, and old alliances are put to the test. There is always a continual question of who is to be trusted and if what Thomas and his friends are doing is the right thing. Just like in the other books, we have as little knowledge of what is really going on as Thomas does, which sometimes can be intriguing, but can also be frustrating as there always seems to be more questions than answers. Inevitably, everything ends in a showdown between Thomas, his allies, and WICKED.

Dashner writes quite good action sequences, though sometimes they fall into the trap like what often happens in The Hobbit films: something or someone pops out of nowhere to save a person right before they are stabbed/shot/fall off something, etc. You could also see that there was an attempt to make an emotional piece with Theresa and Thomas near the very end and yet I found that I just stopped caring for Theresa a long time ago. And some others. Though not everyone. It was kind of mixed-bag in terms of affection for characters, to be honest. 

Overall I feel as though the ending somewhat makes sense and ties things together reasonably well, and yet I still feel like I wanted more. I’m not sure what it is that I think is missing, but there’s just… something.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#CBR7 Review #04: The Silver Drawing Test and Draw a Story by Rawley Silver

When I tell people that I am studying art therapy they often say things like: “so if I showed you one of my drawings you’d be able to tell me what’s wrong with me?” Um… no. That’s not how it works. Everyone approaches artwork from their own experiences with their own perspectives, and therefore often interpret pieces very differently from one another. Sometimes they aren’t even close to what the artist themselves intended. But whatever comes from the artist through their creative expression is an extension of the self, and can possibly provide some clues, cues, or ideas that may be further explored, but as guided by the client’s needs (and not hasty therapist interpretations which may end up being misleading).

Yet there are some simple drawing tasks that have been developed that can act as basic assessment tests. Presented in this book are the Silver Drawing Test, which assesses cognitive and emotional development, and the Draw a Story assessment which may be used to predict depression and aggression. These are two widely uses assessment tools, which can be administered by a range of practitioners in the helping professions.

The book itself details the development and application of these tests, and presents research studies, case studies, and specific areas wherein the test has been used. In this way, it can be shown the different ways in which the tests have either been shown to be valid, typical results and differences in different populations, as well as certain areas wherein the test may still require room for development and further research into it’s usage and the administering of it. I am giving the book a strong rating due to the fact that it was very understandable, particularly as compared to a number of the other books I’ve had to read for school lately. There were a lot of numbers presented and some of them went a bit over my head, but overall it wasn’t too tedious to get through as far as textbooks go.

The Silver Drawing Test was first created as a means of trying to assess intelligence in some non-verbal children, as typically it is through language or words that our cognitive and intellectual abilities are assessed. For these types of clients, instructions may need to be written or pantomimed in order to be understood. The test itself includes 3 parts:
  1. Predictive Drawing: those being tests are given a task which involves them drawing a sequence or predicting how something should look in a certain situation, such as how water will sit in a bottle if it is tilted.
  2. Drawing from Observation: an arrangement will be laid out to draw by those being tested. Scores are typically made as based on how spatial relationships are portrayed between items, as well as the representations themselves.
  3. Drawing from Imagination: the clients are given a number of sheets/a booklet with various drawings of figures, animals, objects, etc. on them. They are asked to draw an image that tells a story that involves one or two of the figures within the books. The story is then written or dictated, so that they can be scored on emotional content, as well as representational and creative content.

Together, the three tasks of the test can be useful in determining different cognitive abilities of those tested, which may include observations of spatial relationships, ability to think abstractly, or ability to combine different elements cohesively, among other things. Depending on how the tests go, further assessment may be needed, or work on a particular area of emotionality, cognitive aspects of thinking to better align with their stage of development.

The Draw a Story test is similar to the Drawing from Imagination task within the Silver Drawing Test: clients are given a number of images of figures, people, animals, etc. and asked to create a story out of them in a drawing. The story is then recounted and titled, either by writing or dictating to someone administering the test. After this, the image is scored on three 5-point scales:
  1. Emotional Content: whether the image depicts a largely positive, largely negative, or ambivalent fantasy.
  2. Self-Image: is the person who created the image somehow represented within the drawing or not? Is the figure they identify with portrayed in a positive or negative fashion? How does the person seem to feel about themselves through their image.
  3. Use of Humor: though humor is not always present, a score is given based on whether the humor present in the image is morbid, self-disparaging, resilient, or playful.

Scores are then assessed together to determine if there are any indicators of possible depression or aggression within the individuals based on how they performed. In general, negative fantasies with high self-images tend to be predictors of aggression. Negative fantasies with lower self-image also tend to be predictors of depression. Yet it is important to keep in mind that other factors may be present, and this is just one assessment that may then be built upon. It is also often necessary to speak to the client about their drawing or have the story explanation to really see how they are identifying in their image (if at all), and to determine the true mood of the picture, given how misinterpretation may happen with artwork.

The one thing that I didn’t always necessarily understand within these tests was how to score for humor. Maybe it is more evident when actually administering tests, but the examples given, I saw things and would have no idea whether the person who depicted the story thought it was humorous or not. In general, however, The Silver Drawing Test and Draw a Story was very informative, and I appreciated the many cases and examples of application in practice to really understand how it might be used in a variety of cases.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Monday, January 12, 2015

#CBR7 Review #03: Art Therapy and Postmodernism by Helene Burt

In preparation for an upcoming course on issues of professional practice in art therapy, I read this book on postmodernism and art therapy, as edited by Helene Burt. The book itself is comprised of a number of different author’s contributions, who are practicing or researching art therapists themselves. The focus of the chapters vary, based on the practitioner’s area of personal research or practice. They include areas such as: language differences between clients and therapists, working with a diversity of culture in certain areas, feminist theory and art therapy, and working with transient youth populations. The one string that ties everything together, however, is the fact that the ideas presented all fall into what would be considered postmodernism ideas.

The one problem I found, however, was that how each author understands postmodernism is not specifically defined by them. In a book that emphasizes individual differences and the individual experience, it would make sense for the contributors to explain how they understand the concept, as this is not explicitly expressed in any manner. There are bound to be a few differences in conceptualization and understanding. The research portion presented is largely done so with studies involving small groups with qualitative data, as this field in itself is still in somewhat of a growing stage. Overall, however, the chapters are informative, though some of the writer’s styles do not exactly align with my tastes and come off as somewhat dry.

What I’m left with the most from this book is the idea that while we may think we understand people’s experiences and can generalize them based on some factor (race, gender, sexual orientation), each person has had their own experiences in life. It really reminds me of the ridiculous new trend of people to say they are “women against feminism” because they feel they don’t need feminism in their own experience. But just because one person in a group does not experience something that doesn’t mean others don’t. All the little subgroups must be taken into account as well: ie, women of color, transgendered women, etc, who not only encounter certain oppressions and experiences due to being women, but also other issues within their specific groups on top of that. While we may sometimes want to say that we don’t see or recognize differences in others (the “colorblind” theory), this often informs us as to some aspect of how a person might experience or perceive their world. Furthermore, being culturally aware is important when working with others, as this can inform us of how they might view certain acts or actions: for instance, what is respectful to one may not be so to another, based on how their are raised or certain cultural views. 

I suppose what I’m taking with me more than anything is the idea that while we should treat people equally and without prejudice, we cannot just not see or ignore the fact that differences exist and that these differences will have an affect on how a person experiences the world. This is incredibly important to remember in the helping professions, so I suppose taking that message with me is a good thing, even if some of the ideas related specifically to art therapy didn’t stick quite as well with me.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Friday, January 9, 2015

#CBR7 Review #02: Amelia Bedelia 50th Anniversary Library by Peggy Parish

Oh Amelia Bedelia. She can either be seen as the most terrifying character ever due to the way she takes things so literally, or as a reminder that not everyone understands things in the same way, and sometimes we need to adjust or learn to communicate in new ways in order to facilitate different ways of thinking/people and how they are. In fact, at the end of the first Amelia Bedelia book, her employer Mr. Rogers makes a point of saying he will learn to say things in new ways for her to better understand and so that Amelia can keep working for him. Because what Amelia does well, she does VERY well, and it’s clear she is always just trying to please everyone as best as she can, even if she doesn’t always get what she’s doing or why.

The 50th anniversary library contains three Amelia Bedelia stories. The first is “Amelia Bedelia,” the original story written about the literal-minded housekeeper on her first day working for the Rogers. The collection also includes two of Peggy Parish’s most popular stories of Amelia, which are, “Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia,” about her helping the local boys’ baseball team when they are down a member, and “Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower” about Mrs. Rogers throwing a wedding shower for one of her friends. In the latter story, the children present especially enjoy Amelia and her nature, and there is a sense that even though things do not go according to plan for the shower, maybe it’s sometimes better for things to go unexpectedly, as people may have more fun and excitement in the process.

In any case, I can see why children would enjoy these stories. I myself still enjoyed them quite a bit now, too! And now I finally understand what my mother means when she refers to my sister and I as Amelia Bedelia when we sometimes do silly things or misinterpret one another. It’s been so long since I had heard one of these stories, I had forgotten! I might even look up and read a few more now, just for fun.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Friday, January 2, 2015

#CBR7 Review #01: Who We Are by One Direction

A new year means the beginning of a new Cannonball Read (or a half, in my case)! So before I get bogged down with reading and reviewing textbooks like last year, let’s start with something fun. And what makes me happy when all else fails? You guessed it: One Direction!

Of course there will always be differences between the publicly presented images of a person and who they really are, especially if the person in question is a public figure, celebrity, etc. So while it truly feels like the boys of One Direction want to be genuine about who they are as people, what they want to say, and how they want to grow and progress in their music, there is still something so controlled about how they are managed and how One Direction™ is presented. Not surprising, considering how lucrative being marketed at a young female fanbase can be (it worked for The Beatles during the time of “Beatlemania”, after all, right?). Therefore, despite the fact that this autobiography of theirs perhaps touches on some new information about the boys, their lives, their careers, and how they really feel about things, there is still missing something.

I opted to go through Who We Are as an audiobook, which had it’s pros and cons. On the one hand, it is always nice to hear some of the boys just talk about things, particularly Zayn who is someone more introverted and therefore doesn’t always get to speak that much in interviews with the other boys. However, even though these boys have beautiful singing voices (they are absolutely crushing their live vocals lately!), their speaking really isn’t all that suited to doing audiobooks. Though I will say that Louis’ speaking voice was quite nice to listen to, just because it’s kind of different. I do also know that the hard copy of the book has a whole lot of nice images of all the band members from when they were young, from their tours, etc, so it feels more like a collectors’ item than anything else. In any case, here is the kind of thing that I got to listen to as written in the book:

Who We Are features five sections, one for each of the boys, and hits on a lot of stuff that we’ve already heard before about One Direction: how they all basically went to X Factor auditions when they were teenagers and have hardly been home since, getting thrown together with four strangers into a world where they didn’t know what they were doing or where they were going or how their lives would change and become so crazy. The boys always make sure to mention how the fan reaction was really what created their success and the decision to keep their group going after they lost the X Factor, and they really do seem to be grateful for this contribution to their success. They talk a lot about the recording of their first songs and early tours, and it is interesting to hear now about how over the course of the past few years they have learned so much about the music industry, after basically just being tossed into it with no knowledge at the beginning, just doing what they were sort of directed to do. The five boys are becoming more and more involved in the decisions and writing of their new songs, which have progressed quite a bit since “What Makes You Beautiful“ came out over three years ago (speaking of which, I’m really hoping they choose to make “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” their next single, because that song is an absolutely cracking tune!).
Even though a lot of this information is known and gets covered in typical interviews with the boys, there are some new items of information that I found to be somewhat interesting to hear the lads discuss:

For instance, it was neat to hear what being at the X Factor house was like for them, which Zayn tells as being a big part of how they formed such a strong bond with one another. I guess all the contestants who made the finals on X Factor how nice, big rooms to stay in in the X Factor house, yet the five boys of One Direction ended up sharing the tiniest little room in the house, leading them to become super close friends insanely quickly. And that’s one of the best things about One Direction in my opinion: you can tell that the boys all really love each other.

Zayn also discusses some things about his childhood, and about how he was treated by some of the other kids at school due to the different races of his parents. He didn’t really see what the big deal was, but hearing that makes me think of how even now, Zayn’s religion is so often focused on or used in negative connotations for jokes about him. (Oh, didn’t you know he’s the “mysterious ethnic one” of the band? Puh-lease! Can we not reduce people like that? He’s also passionate about art and it’s wonderful!). I will go to battle for that kid.

In the Louis section, there was also another piece that made me a little sad to hear about, just like in Zayn’s, and that is about how Louis didn’t feel like he contributed to the group at all in the beginning: he was never given solos to sing on the X Factor, and doubted that he really belonged in One Direction at all, even though all the boys clearly wanted him to be there. Louis talks about how he never felt confident in his voice after that, until their third album “Midnight Memories” was released. And while maybe he doesn’t have the strongest voice in the group, whenever I hear One Direction sing acapella or acoustically, his voice rings through during the chorus so clearly, filling out something that would be otherwise missing and tying all the harmonies together. I will go to battle for this kid, too.

Honestly, I’ll go to battle for every one of these kids. And I keep calling them kids despite the fact that they are… well, just a couple of years younger than myself. I absolutely adore One Direction and think the boys in the band are really interesting kids who seem like a lot of fun. But I like them better when they are unscripted, together, and just get to be who they are, not who they are told they should be. I mean, have you seen that Harry Styles boy in concert or in daily life? He’s a total weirdo. But an insanely endearing one that is always said to be nothing but polite and charming whenever someone new meets him. And that’s what I like to hear. (You keep doing you, little buddy!)

It’s clear when you read/listen to this book that One Direction works insanely hard, and that the boys in the band are trying really hard to grow and just be who they are. But there is still something reserved about them and how they are presented as a product, and I hope that they can overcome this in whatever way works best for them as they continue in the industry. I also just want them to be able to get some rest and time to spend with their families. Precious little beans.

Wow, now it looks like I’ve just wrote a novel about One Direction (surprise surprise) so I will leave with this note about Who We Are: if you are a fan of One Direction you might find it interesting. If not, I might suggest watching their movie This Is Us instead. Sure, it still has some of the same issues that this book has and is largely of the boys on tour for the “Take Me Home” album, (meaning that it won’t show as much of the growth that they have had during the creation of their 3rd and 4th albums), but it is a much more entertaining use of time. Plus the songs they perform in that are ridiculous but so much fun. 
All I know is that One Direction seems like they are all in on some big secret. And I really want to know what it might be.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

#CBR6 Review #31: Hellblazer, vol. 2 – The Devil You Know by Jamie Delano

I told myself I would not end this year’s Cannonball read with a review of a textbook. And so, here is the second volume of Hellblazer, which I finally managed to find over a year after I read the first volume. Though I normally can pick up a series and remember most parts of what had happened previously once I get back into it, I had trouble this time, to be honest, and needed a refresher to really start enjoying the story again. Overall, my feelings towards the Hellblazer series so far are similar to my feelings regarding the Constantine tv show that the books have now spawned: it’s a pretty good read and interesting, though there isn’t really anything that makes me feel as though I need to keep going or need to know what happens next. The best thing this series has going for it is the main character, John Constantine, who is curmudgeonly and full of personal demons that all seem to want to spill out while he fights… literal demons (and I might add that the character is what I find to be the best part of the tv series so far too, and Matt Ryan is just stellar playing him, while the story is kind of hit and miss for me).

The Devil You Know picks up after the previous volume, and features some flashbacks to John’s early days when he was in a band with some fellow magic enthusiasts. It tells the tale of one of John’s first major losses against a demon which has affected him ever since, which then leads us to a new fight with that same demon in a more present time. The volume also includes some serious dream sequences and a lot of gross body horror. The artwork itself featured in the book is not of a style that I typically like all that much, though there is still a clear talent in drawing there. I was more drawn to the artwork of the final story within the book, which was painted by David Lloyd (co-creator of V for Vendetta). This tale centers on a mysterious young woman adopted from another country, who seems to leave nothing but sadness and peril behind whenever she meets someone. In all honesty, this was the most interesting story in itself within this collection of issues, in my opinion.

Overall, I’m not sure I’ll really keep going with this series. Not that it’s bad or anything (I mean, I do love all the supernatural elements to it as always), but there are just so many other series that spark my interest more. I do love this character though, and find him to be super intriguing.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site, and think about signing up for Cannonball Read 7!]

Friday, December 5, 2014

#CBR6 Review #30: Approaches to Art Therapy, Theory & Technique, Edited by Judith Rubin

One last textbook review for the year! At least that’s what I’m telling myself. In Judith Rubin’s second edition of Approaches to Art Therapy, she invites various authors and therapists to contribute chapters on their different theoretical approaches towards art therapy. These are divided into various subsets, including the psychodynamic approaches, humanistic, psycho-educational, integrative, and systemic or group therapy approaches.

As with any book written with various authors making contributions, some chapters read easier and are more inviting than others. Similarly, some of the theoretical frameworks are much easier to understand and I seem better able to connect with than others. Yet, seeing a vast range of approaches to one field is always important, as all the different frameworks contribute something different that may be more useful to some patients than others, and can be integrated into a therapist’s main theoretical approach that they develop personally over time.

While I am more familiar with the psychodynamic theories as originally developed by Freud and Jung, I am particularly drawn to the humanistic theories (including Gestalt, Phenomenology, and Person-Centered Expressive Arts Therapy), as these are more based on the actual expressive experience of the client. But let’s not go too deep into all that right now.

All in all, I read through this book quite slowly, but it was good in giving an overview of many of the various theoretical approaches that an art therapist may use or integrate into their personal practice.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Friday, November 21, 2014

#CBR6 Review #29: Hawkeye, vol. 3 – L.A. Woman by Matt Fraction

I adore Matt Fraction’s depictions of Hawkeye. He comes across as so dry and hilarious, while still having a huge heart and caring for those around him. This volume of the Hawkeye series, however, focuses on his young, female Hawkeye friend, Kate Bishop, who is sometimes just as ridiculous as Clint Barton when she gets herself into trouble. It’s funny, too, because I had just finished reading this book the other day when my friend text me to ask if I wanted to go to the archery range as she needed to de-stress from her studies (neither of us practice archery but we went anyways and it was a good time), and I noticed that I was wearing a lot of purple, just like Kate does. Coincidence? Probably. Also I realize that that was a bad story... Aaaaanyways:

In “L.A. Woman”, Kate buggers off across the country to Los Angeles for some time alone, only to end up in a huge mess of a situation basically from the moment she gets there. And who is to blame for everything? Kate’s foe, Madame Masque, who she previously had altercations with. But despite wanting to get out of town almost as soon as she arrives, Kate is just like Clint in wanting to finish what she starts, and taking care of those who have a part in her life. She may come across as an angsty young lady at times, but she has spunk and charisma: people are drawn to her, just like I am drawn to reading about her character.

So even though this volume of Hawkeye may not have been about our usual, surly hero, Clint, I was not disappointed in following this Young Avenger for a little while. We even got a bit more of a glimpse into her life and where she is from, which up until now has been particularly elusive or left out of Fraction’s comics. If you like the superhero genre, I would definitely recommend at least trying this series out.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#CBR6 Review #27-28: Chew, volumes 4 & 5 by John Layman and Rob Guillory

 I feel like there are so many comic book series that I start but don’t keep up with in a timely manner. It’s been almost a year since I last read an installment of Chew, but I still managed to remember most of what was going on. That might be because this series is just so different and strange, that it’s hard to really forget. Or maybe it’s just easy to remember once you get back into it. Describing the plot of this series is difficult if you haven’t read any before, however, as things get… weird.

In any case, volumes 4 and 5 of this series are entitled “FlambĂ©” and “Major League” respectively, as we follow Tony Chu through his cases with the FDA, only to eventually have himself and his partner transferred to other law and enforcement divisions. Meanwhile, an ominous message in flames is seen in the sky, which is assumed to have been put there by aliens. Chu’s daughter also gets tossed into the middle of things, and we find that she too has a particular, food related gift. And of course, as always, more new abilities are exhibited in new characters, including a Effervenductor who can control people through messages in coffee foam, a Voresoph who becomes smarter the more he eats,  and a Xocoscalpere who can sculpt chocolate into forms so accurate that they mimic what they depict exactly (ie, a chocolate sword that can slice just like a real sword).

I feel like my description of these books is making little sense, but if you are already into reading the Chew series, then you know how bizarre and gruesome (yet enjoyable) they are. They are imaginative and perhaps a little gross at times, but interesting enough and with so many threads being sewn into the mix of things that I want to read more and find out where this all goes in the end.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#CBR6 Review #26: Kingdom of Scars by Eoin Macken

The simplest way to describe Eoin Macken’s debut novel Kingdom is Scars would be to say that it’s about an Irish boy just living his life and experiencing the things that teenage boys go through: trying to fit in and become a part of a group, being bullied at school, disrespecting authority, flirting with petty crime, first sexual encounters, being unsure how to deal with girls, drinking, smoking, and all other kinds of things.

And while this may make it seem like just another one of those novels trying to be ultra profound about growing up and coming into manhood, Kingdom of Scars doesn’t seem to try and be extremely poetic about the experiences at all; that is not to say that there is no skill in the writing, but the story told just plays out as if to say, “it is what it is”. In fact, I have difficulty describing what the overall plot of action would be in this novel, as it comes across almost as a series of connected vignettes of one boy’s experiences that come to affect him, his actions, his relationships, and his understandings of the world. Our lives are a series of moments and experiences that shape us, and that is what I see Kingdom of Scars as describing.

The protagonist of the novel is young Sam, who lacks a circle of friends at school (save for one boy), and is trying desperately to be fully accepted by a group of boys who he lives by that he likes to hang out with on a regular basis. The novel follows Sam for a period of time as he engages in different acts and experiences with the boys he wants to be a part of, as he is introduced to a girl and takes his first steps into the world of dating and sex, and as he learns what it means to assert yourself when you need to. In the middle part of the novel I got a little excited by the prospect of there possibly even being a little bit of a surprise paranormal element to the story, but that didn’t really play out like I thought it might (not that that’s a bad thing, I just really like supernatural stuff).

More than anything, however, I was struck by how Kingdom of Scars seems to examine this idea of the illusions we hold of people (though that might just be my interpretation of it): Sam would be seen holding people in such high regard and wanting to be closer to them, only to find that perhaps people are not all that they seem once we do break the barriers and come to know them better. People float in and out of our good graces as our illusions of them are broken by their actions or our new understandings of things, and the more you learn about someone or go through your life experiences, the more you come to grow in terms of seeing people for who they truly are, and seeing yourself for you who are. These are the things that I ended up thinking about while I was reading this novel, and I particularly enjoyed the fact that it got my mind going about such topics.

Overall, I read Kingdom of Scars quickly, and it’s not difficult to get through as the language is reasonably straightforward and effective. While many may be tired of reading angsty teenage stories about growing up and experiencing the world, I found the novel to be illustrative on the experiences that many may have, and to be presented in a way that was simple and not exhausting like I often find some of the more weighty writing styles to be. But then again, that’s just me!

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]