Leftover Girl

Leftover Girl
ISBN: 9781946089007, Dirt Road Books, an e-book by C. C. Bolick

This ‘coming of age’ (with a twist) book follows a period in the life of Jessica Ray Delaney, a 15-year-old as she and her family return to her adoptive mother’s home town of Credence, Alabama after numerous and often abrupt unexplained moves. (Her adoption had followed her being found under strange conditions by her adoptive father at 4 years of age). Her life appears to be filled with the numerous challenges of a teen entering a new school with its already structured social groups, bullies and all. However, her problems are exacerbated by the fact that her parents although loving, seem to emphasize the adoptive fact and she also worries about her adoptive father’s health problems. She is close to her Aunt Charlie’s daughter Bailey and is attracted to her Aunt’s son and popular football player Pade which is the source of further bullying. This fact, associated with another relationship that she gradually develops with Chase, a new boy in town whose mother is Jes’s English teacher gradually gains increasing importance as the tale unfolds and the reader learns more about Chase, his mother, Jes’s earlier history and her family attachments. Of further importance are her dreams and return of memory of her early life. Unfortunately, much of this material had been known by her adoptive mother and father but had not been revealed to her because they had been told by counselors not to do so because her mind eventually would supply the facts. The ending is acceptable for the plot and provides an easy entré to the next volume in the series.

Discussion: This is a rather complex story with acceptable ‘other worldly’ overtones that should be most enjoyable for young adult readers and for the reader who is less pragmatically inclined. For these latter individuals, regrettably there are far too many unexplained actions and unresolved issues other than the ‘other worldly’ matter which is, to reiterate, acceptable and interesting.

3* 4* For Young Adult and/or readers less pragmatically inclined.

Alien Abduction

Alien Abduction ISBN: 9780984026593, Laurel Canyon Press, an e-book by Irving Belateche.

Plot: Eddie is a middle-aged investigative reporter who obstinately hangs onto his job even when his salary repeatedly is reduced and his wife Jenny implores him to recognize the deteriorating publishing picture. Ultimately fired, he is faced with a suddenly desperate situation. He has little savings. Worse, he is no longer covered by health insurance. Jenny, who had been a TV producer and recently, at Eddie’s insistence, had turned down an offered job that would have provided some tie-over income, now, was discovered to have cancer requiring extensive and expensive therapy even to provide a possible 2-year survival. Another problem, their son Jake will not listen and change from his desired college selection to another that provides heavy scholarship aid and angrily calls Eddie a ‘loser’. His daughter Hannah, is a little kinder, but continues in her rebellious teenager role. Unable to find a job, he resorts to tutoring to provide at least some income. One of his students is Mason, son of Ben Kingsley, who Eddie surreptitiously discovers is a wealthy man but with an income from a vague employment source that Eddie believes would be helpful to him as well. Desperate, he forces Ben to take him to meet his employer. This turns out to be Abel, a cyclopoid alien. The cyclops is not pleased, does not require two employees, and so liquidates Ben and Eddie now is to replace him as the abductor of attractive young women. He must render them unconscious, transport them to Abel’s residence, wait for 20-30 minutes and return them to the place from which they were abducted. He is sorry to be in this position, but cannot decline or he will suffer the same fate as Ben. Compensation fortunately is in cash, minimally one hundred thousand dollars or more per abduction. The story progresses with his activities and those of Abel, Jenny and the rest and ultimately concludes on a difficult to believe level of satisfaction for Eddie and his family.

Discussion: !SPOILER ALERT! Most regrettably and apologetically this is one of the few books since some of the early offerings of POD publishing that does not seem to provide this reader with much in the way of material for positive comment. However, although the characters are thin, the author does depict Eddie and his family quite well as being illustrative of today’s often described family life.                   The protagonist is obstinate and does not present too prominent mental acuity; the son exhibits similar tendencies and the entire family is functionally at odds. The plot is acceptable but would benefit from reshaping and the action is slow moving and somewhat repetitive in movement about the city. The author further has been able to generate a certain amount of suspense at times which, regrettably for the most part fails to follow through. The ‘all’s well that ends well’ finale leaves this reader speechless.

2* For the author’s effort with this reviewer’s sincere regrets.