POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

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Book Review: Still Waters by Ash Parsons

Author: Ash Parsons
Title: Still Waters
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Philomel (Random House)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrator: Jason

Still Waters by Ash Parsons

What’s It About?

As a senior, Jason is known by all as the tough guy from the wrong side of the tracks. He gets into a lot of fights and has a scary reputation among his peers. But, in his view, he doesn’t start trouble; he is simply very efficient at finishing it. Defending himself and his sister against the abusive tirades of his father, experience has taught him to stand and fight rather than to walk away.

Jason is a loner. He is guarded in his relationships and only has one friend that he really opens up to. So, when he is approached by the most popular kid in school with an odd proposition, he is naturally suspicious. Seeking to build his reputation for an undisclosed reason, this other boy offers to pay Jason to hang out with him. Reluctantly, Jason agrees–because the money may just give him and his sister their ticket to freedom.

As Jason begins to hang out with the popular crowd, he senses that something is off. The more time he spends with them, the more he feels like he’s being set up. As new people come into his life, he isn’t sure who he can trust. Suddenly, the lines aren’t so clear. Who will he need to fight? And who will he need to fight for?

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy the kind of young adult story that centers on a kid dealing with a bad home life, you’ll probably really love this book. For a YA novel, it was really gritty and disturbing–so it’s not for the faint of heart. The focus on a disadvantaged kid trying to make the most of the situation reminded me a lot of Where All the Light Tends to Go. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue built up throughout, leading to a dramatic conclusion. Also, there’s a good balance of introspection and fast-paced action–so it would appeal to lovers of both literary and genre works.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Dee’s Reads, Bibliophile Gathering, Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Ash Parsons: Still Waters is Ash Parsons’s debut novel.

Book Review: Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

Author: Mark Wisniewski
Title: Watch Me Go
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: January 2, 2015
Publisher: GP Putnam (Random House)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrators: Deesh and Jan
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 66 reviews, the average reader rating was 85.15%.

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

What’s It About?

Deesh (Douglas Sharp) is a 30-something year old absentee father doing odd jobs with a few friends from his high school basketball team. When he and his friends take a nice-paying job to remove a large drum from under a woman’s house, his world is turned upside down. Through a series of missteps, Deesh ends up being framed for three murders. As he discusses his actions with a court appointed attorney, he sees little hope of proving his innocence.

Jan is a young woman growing up in the culture of thoroughbred racing. As she develops a relationship with the son of a legendary jockey, she reveals that she herself wants to be jockey–even though she is a woman. As Jan learns more about the world of thoroughbred racing, though, she discovers a culture of corruption that ultimately leads to her losing someone she has grown to love dearly.

With each chapter told alternately through the eyes of Deesh and Jan, the relationship between the two narrators is tied together within the final few pages. Deesh may just get the chance to have his innocence proven, and Jan may find justice for the victims of the culture in which she lives.

Should You Read It?

If you like the kind of story that weaves together multiple seemingly unrelated stories in a dramatic conclusion, you’ll probably like this book. The mood that hovers over each narrative is grim–with both characters feeling stuck in the circumstances of their respective environments. Nevertheless, the novel ends on somewhat of a hopeful note. If you like a good character-driven work that builds up steadily to a dramatic climax, I would give this a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Interview with Huffington Post, Interview with Examiner

Book Reviews: Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Mark Wisniewski: Show Up, Look Good (2011), All Weekend with the Lights On (2007), Confessions of a Polished Used Car Salesman (1997)