Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Sarah Smiles by Seanpaul Thomas Cairns

PG-13, 2.5 stars

The new kid in school, that's who Paul is.  With his dad in the British Army, his family ends up in Cypress in the 1990s.  He has to deal with the usual, including an unstable bully named Michael.  Paul meets an outcast, Sarah, and they become fast friends.

Paul first meets Michael during break at school when he is invited to play soccer or football as they call it with the guys.  Michael is high strung and everything has to be about him.  Pass the ball to him.  He will be the one to score.  Paul not doing that sets Michael off.  Michael and Paul hang out after school.  Michael shows Paul some of his secrets, like the cave he hides his stash of alcohol.  As they walk around a park, the boys get peed on by a younger boy.  Making Michael angry, he sets off to beat the boy up.  His attitude and anger force Paul to join in.

As it turns out, the boy is Sarah's brother and on apologizing the next day Paul and Sarah forge a friendship, a friendship forbidden by her abusive father as well as bully Michael.  Michael wants nothing to do with Paul when he's at school or with his friends, but after school, he wants to hang out.  Paul does not like this.  He gives Michael up and only hangs out with Sarah and her brother.

I appreciated the plot reading about Paul's relationships with different people--Michael, Sarah, Sarah's brother, as well as the other kids who play football with Michael.  The way certain events unfold seem too incredulous, too deus ex machina.  A bad thing happens and then two seconds later the person is on his or her knees apologizing.  It's unrealistic as is the ending.  It's a great ending.  I'm happy for what happens and all that, but it's too pretty, too nice and neat.  I don't feel that things would really go that way as easy as it comes in the story.

My favorite character is Sarah.  I like that she's a good mix of girl and boy, if you know what I mean.  Many times girls are written as one of the extremes--girly girl or tomboy.  She doesn't fit in either category, which I believe is how the majority of females in the world are.  We have characteristics of both and it's great to see a girl written that way.

I read this review request using the Kindle app on my laptop.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

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