Right Handed Lefty

Right-Handed Lefty

Right Handed Lefty by Ryan Coughlin (Coming of Age, Young Adult)

This book has a strong sense of place, that place being southwestern Wisconsin in 1983. Locals talk like someone out of the movie Fargo, and small town life makes it hard to be different. Characters include a twelve-year-old Native American boy adopted by white parents; his two misfit friends, one of whom is Hmong; and adults haunted by the loss of a child, infidelity, and memories of combat in World War II. There is also a sexually abused girl and an elderly Native American man with his own history of persecution.

The story centers on the three boys but also delves into the minds and backstories of the adults, making this a multi-layered work that eventually all comes together. The one superfluous character is the girl, who has no real influence on the plot except to be a first love for Ellis, the Native American boy. It takes a while for the action to get going, but once it does, things move along pretty well. I admit to sliding over some of the description, and I really don’t like dream sequences since they don’t show what’s really happening and just bog things down.

The writing style is clunky at times, and the book needs a good editor. It has misspelled, extra, or missing words, and words that are just plain wrong, like “illicit” where the author meant “elicit.” I think the author has promise and his characters were interesting, but this book needs refining to be as good as it could be.

Bella gives Right-Handed Lefty three stars. 3 stars

POTTY-MOUTH INDEX: MINOR

Bella Reads and Reviews Books received a free copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Dew Angels

Dew Angels

Dew Angels by Melanie Schwapp (General Fiction: Literary)

Dew Angels is an amazing book. I didn’t know what to expect when I chose this book from Net Galley, and I am so glad that it was there. The writing is superb, providing incredibly vivid pictures of a place I’ve never been and introducing me to a young woman whose story is all-absorbing.

Nola Chambers is a dark-skinned teenager born into a fair-skinned Jamaican family. As a result, she is verbally and physically abused by her father and shunned by those in her school and her village. A series of misunderstandings and tragic events separate her from those she loves and leave her believing that she is nothing but a source of shame, worthless and unlovable. Yet her personal strength and determination give her the courage to do remarkable things in the face of adversity and danger, keeping this reader engrossed right through to the very satisfying conclusion.

I learned volumes about Jamaican culture, botany, dialect, and lifestyles through Melanie Schwapp’s rich use of language, while being fully engrossed in Nola’s story. And I was left with an uplifting sense of hope at the end, a wonderful way to finally go to sleep after reading this book late into the night.

Grandma gives Dew Angels five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

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