Snapshot Review: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Words in the DustWords in the Dust is one of those quiet, no fuss books that tend to get lost amongst the pop­u­lar, well-marketed titles. If I saw this book on the shelf I would, in all hon­estly, be put off by the old fashioned cover and prob­a­bly carry on by. But this is a heart­felt, intel­li­gent book and I sim­ply can­not praise it highly enough.

Words in the Dust, writ­ten by for­mer sol­dier Trent Reedy, tells the story of Zulaikha, a young girl liv­ing in worn-torn Afghanistan. The Tal­iban may be defeated, but Zulaikha is bul­lied daily and shunned because of her cleft lip. Until the day the American’s arrive and offer her a surgery that will trans­form her life.

Words in the Dust is a rich novel that flows so beau­ti­fully, giv­ing an insight­ful glimpse into a very dif­fer­ent cul­ture and way of life. It was heart­en­ing to see Zulaikha grow in con­fi­dence throughout the book and ultimately choose her own future. One of the aspects I loved most (and found particularly powerful), was how pro-women’s rights the book was, all the while maintaining a respectful understanding of a culture where girls and women do face a lot of limitations. To that end, the authors note at the end is also well worth a read. An excel­lent book for younger and older readers.

*Many thanks to Frances Lincoln Books for sending this for review*

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Snapshot Reviews: Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Swim the Fly by Don CalameSwim the Fly is a lot of fun and a refreshing change of pace in the YA market.  While this is most definitely a ‘boy’s book’, its one that girls and adults can also appreciate and enjoy. Matt, Coop and Sean’s summer goal is to finally see a girl naked, but Matt is also determined to impress a girl called Kelly. Naturally, the only way to do this is by volunteering to swim the 100-yard butterfly. Needless to say, nothing goes according to plan and ridiculous hilarity ensues.

If you’re not a fan of toilet humor, this probably isn’t the book for you. For the most part I was torn between horror and hysterics. By all accounts, Calame appears to have pretty much nailed the inner workings of the adolescent boy – perhaps a little too well (there’s only so much time in a teenage boy’s head I can take). Yes, some parts were a little over the top, but Swim the Fly, while as gross and cringe-worthy at times as you might imagine, has some surprisingly heart-warming moments as well.

*Many thanks to Templar for providing a copy for review *