Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: More Than Good Enough

More Than Good Enough
Published By: Flux
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Page Count: 216
Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I was drawn to this title because of its connections to the Miccosukee tribe. Since teaching Native American students in Washington State, I find that I seek YA fiction that features Native characters. I also was intrigued that this one was told from a male perspective.

Trent Osceola doesn't haven't a picturesque life. His father, a member of the Miccosukee tribe, has just been released from prison. His mother, a UK native whose into homeopathic remedies, divorced his father when he was little. To have both parents thrown together under one roof is uncomfortable. After some series arguing, Trent's father decides he's moving back to the reservation and taking Trent along. Neither parent is really up to the task of raising a seventeen year old son. Trent feels like his life is spinning out of control. He isn't sure that he'll ever amount to anything or be good enough to earn the right to follow his dreams.

Everything changes when he starts attending a new high school and runs into a girl from his past. Pippa is the girl next door who once knew Trent better than anyone. Life has its way of pulling apart relationships, but Trent is determined to rekindle his friendship (and maybe more) with the lovely Pippa.

I did find that the Native American culture aspect was intriguing, but in many respects this story did not meet my expectations. For example, the pacing was odd. Every time I settled into a scene, it would abruptly change. The flow between scenes felt disjointed and awkward. I never could truly settle into the narration style and I found it to be annoying. In addition, I also had a lot of trouble liking Trent at times. I understood that he had a lot of family issues and emotional baggage to work through, but I didn't understand all of his choices. He had a "woe is me" mentality for a majority of the book. I wanted him to stop lamenting about the crappy hand he had been dealt and do something to change his life. Eventually, things do start to turn around for Trent, and this is when I really started to enjoy him as a character.

I did like this read, but it did require some work on my part. I also found that it brought up some important topics such as dysfunctional families, physical and emotional abuse, and the need to find one's place in the world. Trent's struggles are realistic and I'm sure many teens in his shoes would respond the same way he does. I think I had trouble relating to Trent because our lives are so vastly different, but many readers will find his story appealing.

One Last Gripe: I never truly understood how Trent's parents could be so selfish.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I am always excited to learn more about Native cultures.

First Sentence: Names are like tree rings.

Favorite Character: Pippa

Least Favorite Character: Trent's Dad

Trent Osceola's life is turned upside down when his mother announces that he will be moving to the Miccosukee reservation to live with his father, who was recently released from prison. Only half Miccosukee, Trent feels alienated from rez society and starts to question who he really is. When he changes schools, he reconnects with Pippa, a childhood friend who moved away, and together they tackle the class assignment to make a film of their lives. When he starts to see himself through Pippa's eyes, Trent’s not sure he likes what he sees. Will he ever be good enough for the rez, for school, and for her?

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