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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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The Sin Eater's Confession (Carolrhoda Ya)

The Sin-Eater's Confession - Ilsa J. Bick This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The cover is what first drew me to this book. I loved the image of the letter and how it was a little faded and travel worn. The scratched in lettering and the blood add an element of mystery and an interesting edge. The Gist: When Ben befriends a young boy who had lost a brother, he never thought that this decision would change the course of his life. When Jimmy reveals just how deep his feelings are for Ben, the town erupts with anger that a gay boy might be living among them. Ben struggles with his feelings of anger at having been duped and obligation to the boy that he cares about. When those responsibilities reach from beyond the grave, Ben tries distance himself from question, while at the same time attempting to seek out a killer.Review:The Sin Eater's Confession had a lot of flaws. Firstly, the main character was despicable. He was unlikeable, cowardly and an all around lame-ass human being. Whenever given the chance to prove himself and make a decision that might actually benefit someone else, he took the selfish way out. He seems like a very intelligent young man, but the entire book is based around the stupid decision that he continuously makes.The writing featured a great deal of conjecture in the main character's head. This was boring. repetitive and, ultimately, pointless. We were forced to tag along for the ride as Ben whined about his horrid little life with parents who love him and a looming admission to Yale, when it was abundantly clear that other characters had actual important issues to deal with. The book also featured frequent graphic descriptions of suicide and murder. These were crass and disturbing. While the use of this language appears to be intended to be edgy, it comes off as gruesome instead. I never really understood the point of the big cover up conspiracy. It felt like page after page where nothing really happened and, in the end, nothing was resolved. This book just did not work for me. Even with the issues that I had, all could have been redeemed with a killer psychological and surprise ending - but that simply wasn't the case. Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 16 and upGender: BothSex: Some description of naked bodiesViolence: Child abuse, Murder, Graphic descriptions of a dead bodyInappropriate Language: Piss, Ass, Jesus, Shit, Fuck, BastardSubstance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking