06 May 2015

Review: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Probably closer to a 2.5.

I hate feeling negative about this book. It's gotten a ton of awards and accolades, is well-received by people who know books.

Meanwhile, I was just sitting there puzzled by what I was reading.

Pros: a unique voice, and a prose structure that makes sense given the protagonist. An interesting premise that will get kids to pick the book up.

Cons: The structure is so weird and experimental that it really feels disjointed. The plot itself leaves a bit to be desired too, as it ventures into sometimes-more-activist territory than warranted.

To really damn it with faint praise, it feels like a Newbery book even if it doesn't match up with the more recent structures. I didn't find it especially enjoyable, and a short book like this shouldn't feel like a chore. I can imagine a reluctant reader (who is already going to be wary with that medal on the jacket) picking up this book and thinking they're going to get a fun ape adventure, and ending up with this story instead, and it just makes my head hurt.

It's not terrible, but it's not what it could have/should have/might have been for me. I know I'm way out of step with this one, but it just didn't work for me at all.

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