Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kay Brookes - Through the Eyes of a Geek

Through the Eyes of a Geek

By Kat Brookes

Kindle Edition Available

Product Description (from Amazon) 

Publication Date: August 15, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Matthews had always been the ‘cool’ kid in school, but being ‘cool’ doesn’t get him a free pass into Heaven. Marty, Heaven’s gatekeeper, refuses to let him in until Ryan returns to Earth to make a difference in someone’s life. Sounds easy enough. That is, until he learns that ‘someone’ is Zachary Adams, his old classmate and the world’s biggest geek. Convincing Zachary that he’s his angel isn’t an easy task. Especially since Ryan hadn’t exactly been nice to him in school. But Ryan is determined to see this assignment through, especially when he begins to see life through the eyes of a geek. To make up for the way he’d treated Zachary, Ryan is not only going to teach him how to fit in. He’s going to help him win the heart of Kristen Williams, a girl Ryan used to be close friends with, the same girl Zachary has a thing for. Will Ryan finally get those white wings he’s been working toward? Or will he end up on the wrong side of those Pearly Gates a hopelessly fallen angel?

About the Author (from Amazon)

Kat Brookes has penned numerous award winning adult and young adult fiction stories. Some of her contest successes include winning Harlequin’s Great American Romance Novel Contest and finaling in the American Title III competition put on by Dorchester Books and Romantic Times. She is also a 4 time finalist in RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart contest and has finaled in/and or won more than 75 RWA chapter writing contests with more than a dozen manuscripts.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Rachel

“Through the Eyes of a Geek” teaches a moral lesson for the middle and high school grades.  Other than the frequent language outbursts, which would be considered mild by most people, I actually quite enjoyed the book.

As the book begins, Ryan finds himself at the gates of heaven, having just died.  But to get to the “babes” in heaven, he must first help someone on earth.   The someone is the school’s “biggest Geek”, Zachary.  Ryan is sure he’s going to fail.  But Ryan isn’t really a quitter, so he lands “plop” in the front seat of Zach’s car and Zach promptly runs off of the road.

The two main characters of this book are Zach and Ryan.   These two characters are fairly well developed, but the rest remain on the flat side.  Ryan is the super cool guy in school, not quite a bully, but he has handed out quite a bit of teasing to those who were not cool and runs around with the bully crowd.  But his cool attitude hides dark secrets of his home life, and the reason he keeps his friends at a distance.  Meanwhile, Zach is the biggest geek in the school, dealing with his own home heartaches.  Each begins to see the world through the others eyes and a deeper understanding grows between them as they begin to work together.  For the first time, they each can say that they have a real friend.

The plot was very predictable.  It used the formula ... bad but cool boy/girl must help good but geeky outcast to reach a personal goal.  Along the way, the two become friends.  Cool kid helps the geeky kid come out of their shell and achieve a secret wish of their own (usually a date with the girl/boy that they secretly like).  Geeky kid turns out to be pretty cool.  Both learn from the experience, and it changes who they are.

For the most part, the book was entertaining and fun, although I was dismayed at the huge amount of money it took for Zach to become a cool kid.  Money he did happen to have, but a path that might be well out of reach for geeky kids looking for inspiration to become less of a target at school.  Also, Zach knows ta-kwan-do, and is able to defend himself and Kristen against the biggest school bully.  Still, it did offer some good ideas, and encouragement to look beyond a person’s appearance and get to know them anyway.

It turns out that Zach’s father was a minor league baseball player, so baseball works into the story often.  Shopping eats up a good portion of the book as well.  And there is the dog, which is a big part of the solution in the story as well.

Overall, this was a good book.  You really got to know and even mostly like the two boys.  I found myself cheering for them on many occasions, and the book doesn’t slip in very many disappointing twists or turns.  It even has a fairly good amount of humor that had me chuckling as I pictured Zach chatting with Ryan and others not able to see him.

On the other hand, the plot was so predictable, that it was almost dull.  I’m sure the teens and preteens will mostly enjoy the book and its message.   Unfortunately, I was also put off by the language which slipped in far too often for my taste.   Sex was definitely an undercurrent topic, never quite out in the open, usually only as a discussion “would love to make out with that girl” or “never wanted to push our friendship by making out” and the bully she went out with once having “octopus arms”.

Note:   Most middle school kids should enjoy this book, but the situations it covers may not be suitable for elementary children.   Easy and fast read with a moral lesson.

Genre/Theme:   Angels, Fantasy, Afterlife, Teen/ High School life, baseball, Bullies and Cool Kids

Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school, easy reading, teen situations in high school
Profanity: LOW - few mildly offensive words  -  most of the book
MODERATE - mild words & a few stronger expletives  --  before Marty tells Ryan that he can’t swear as an angel, and occasionally elsewhere
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit  --  Ryan helps Zach get the girl he wants, teen romance with innuendo from some of the characters
Other: Ryan is killed in a car accident, Zach beats up the bully

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