The Returners-- Gemma Malley

Release Date: March 2, 2010
Pages: 320
Genre: Futuristic Historical Fiction


London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.
Review: It took me exactly one month to get through the first 150 pages of this book. It was just... so... slow... Nothing happened! Oh sure, there was a lot of talk about things that might happen, but nothing actually happened.

After the first 150 pages, the story definitely picked up again and really made you think. However, there was still something that really bothered me.

It was pretty clear that this author had an agenda. Throughout the book, the author is CONSTANTLY talking about being prejudiced, racist, and discriminatory. And eventually, the book doesn't end up being about a boy who's lived through history, but rather about overcoming racist thoughts and feelings.

Usually, I'd be fine with that, but it really just felt like the author was just beating your over the head with it. Eventually I just started to go "Ugh. I get it!" I don't mind if an author has an agenda, I just mind if they let the plot suffer to get that agenda across. Does that make sense?

I've liked Gemma Malley's past books, but this one falls a bit short.

The Problem

I've discovered the problem in my life. I can't believe it took me this long to realize it. It's something my mother's been telling me for far too long.

I watch too much TV.

This didn't use to be the case. I used to only watch a few shows, and I usually watch them with someone. Now I'll watch hours of TV all alone on my computer.

I think I figured out why I do this. Since I started college, I've done a LOT of reading, but it's all been stiflingly BORING! So, when I'm done doing required reading, the idea of reading feels repulsive to me. My subconscious has come to think that they only way to relax is to watch mindless cartoons, or re-runs of 30-Rock (which, I will say, is the best show in the world).

So, I'm going to watch less TV. I started last night. I had an hour of time before bed, and instead of watching TV like I usually would, I pulled out the book I've been reading since before Christmas. It's only 200 pages long! I ended up reading until almost 1 in the morning!

Oh yeah. We can fix this.

What did I miss?

This is a discussion post, so please feel free to comment with your feelings.

Have you ever read a book that either a) gets a lot of praise from people and/or b) wins awards, and you just don't get why it did? I've been feeling that lately as books are winning awards and cycling around the blogosphere. I won't name any books directly, but there were some books that I read that other people just love and I'm left thinking... what did I miss? What made that book so great to other people and yet didn't touch me at all.

Has this ever happened to you? Please discuss.

P.S. I know that a certain vampire-series probably comes to mind, as it seems to be the series that suffers most from this. Let's try and avoid talking about it as it raises negative feelings in so many. Try to avoid "trashing" a book. I know you guys are above all that, but I just want to make sure.

Books of 2009

I'm really caught up in beginning semester chaos. Here's a post I meant to do while Phil was gone. It's all the books I've read in 2009, the list is a LOT shorter than I'd like. I've marked all of the "Squeaky" books. Enjoy!

Death Sentence -- Alexander Gordon Smith
Solitary -- Alexander Gordon Smith


Yes, that's right, my computer just arrived back and he has a shiny new keyboard, mouse buttons, and power cord. Hurrah for warranties! You can be sure to get reviews soon on the two (yes, only two, I am so ashamed) books I read this break very soon!

Hurrah! How I have missed you, Phil!

P.S. Yes, my computer's name is Phil. I didn't mean to name him Phil, it just popped out of my mouth. I wanted to take it back, because I thought Phil was a lame name, but it was too late. So now his name is Phil.

Quick Update!

Not my computer. No time to type in complete sentences.

Happy new year! My quilt is almost done. I've reached an unfortunate reading slump that's made it so I've only read 2.5 books! ARGH! But I'm working on it. I'm listening to The Land of the Silver Apples in my spare time, so I'm not completely unproductive. And I've been working more than I expected, and money is good.

My computer is set to arrive Monday at 7 pm. Hurrah! I need it by Monday at noon, but 7pm is better than never.

Thank you to all of you who are still out there! And to the new followers I've gained while I was gone.

Now my mom wants her computer back.

Ciao, friends!
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