Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{April 7, 2011}   Bull’s Eye, by Sarah N. Harvey

Synopsis from Orca Books:  “In the photograph, Aunt Donna is very, very pregnant. My mother is not. I look up at my mom and she is crying—silently, with her hand over her mouth. I just make it to the bathroom before I lose my breakfast, my lunch and my mind.  Emily’s life is turned upside-down by a visit from the UPS man.  After Emily’s aunt dies, Emily learns that everything she has always believed is a lie, and her world crumbles. Forced to face the fact that her mother is not who she thought she was, Emily tries to find the truth about her past and make sense of her future. Turning to graffiti and vandalism as a way to deal with her anger, she comes to realize that there is more to a family than shared DNA.”


Orca Book Publishers is an organization that produces fiction for reluctant readers, especially readers on the lower spectrum, with a reading level between second grade and fourth grade.  Bull’s Eye comes from the Orca Soundings series, which is for those ages 12+, and is written in a way that the reader, especially a reluctant reader, can easily understand.  

I had a really hard time getting into this story, and I think that is all based on personal preferences.  They story is very well written, and I think it will appeal to the young adult crowd, but for me, it just didn’t click.

Emily is a very selfish young woman who believes the world revolves around her, and I have trouble with characters like that.  Yes, her world is knocked upside down when she finds out her “mother,” Saundra, is really her aunt, and her recently deceased “aunt” is really her mother.  Yet, I don’t think that justifies the reactions of Emily or Saundra within the novel, especially because Emily states in the very beginning that her deceased aunt meant nothing to her, and she only met her once.  However, Emily flies off the deep end, as does Saundra, and their reactions were just not real to me.  Saundra seems like a loving, caring parent, but the fact that she doesn’t even blink when Emily runs off makes me question the validity of the story line.

I also had a difficulty following the timeframe within this story.  What I thought happened over the course of a day actually took place over eight days, and then the story continues to speed up as Emily returns and takes part in destructive decisions, landing her in some trouble.  The next segment is even harder for me to follow as Emily meets and young girl and must make the right decision in regards of helping her.  For me, this was all very quick and I feel like, as the reader, I was left behind.  The story begins at one point, and ends somewhere completely different, and I feel like the two points have no connection.  While the writing is fluid and very well done; I just had a lot of trouble with the storyline itself.  Two stars.

Check out my Orca Book Publishers page for more information, titles, and reviews for reluctant readers!


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