Sunday, October 21, 2012
Program + Review: beTWEEN the lines
My last post regarding my beloved book club for tweens posed some questions about how to get more kids coming to the program. Maybe the secret is simply in the books chosen. Our October meeting was tied as our most successful (in terms of attendance numbers) to date - five kids showed up, including two boys. I didn't really do anything differently in terms of publicizing the club, though I may have gotten the information on our website earlier than in months past. So, I'm inclined to believe that the number of attendees has more to do with the title we picked rather than the publicity options utilized. The title in question: Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander.
I've been wanting to read this one for a while, having heard good things about it and knowing it was popular with kids. So it was partly for selfish reasons that I chose the title for our October book club. I'm certainly glad I did now, as it proved a popular choice. However, my experience with the book was less than ideal. I was frazzled and stressed, frantically trying to get the book read in time for our meeting and I found it much slower reading than I had anticipated (I think that when I get stressed about reading, it slows me down, which is the reason I get stressed in the first place - VICIOUS CYCLE!). That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book - I actually really loved the Underland and all the characters. Gregor is a reluctant yet thoughtful hero and Boots is much more than just a burden that Gregor has to bear on his journey. I liked that Collins used creatures typical of the underground - these creatures are not usually thought of as ones you'd like to be around or read about, but they are humanized here. The pacing was good, though, as I said, it felt like a slower read than I expected. The twists and turns of their adventure were exciting and kept me interested in the book. I also liked that Collins didn't shy away from the dangers inherent in questing. We've been recommending this series to kids whose parents don't want them reading The Hunger Games yet and I actually think it's a suitable readalike, now that I've read both series. I definitely want to pick up the next book and see what other adventures are in store for Gregor.