Today I share my review on the blog tour for Till it Stops Beating by Hannah R. Goodman. This one was published on July 5th!
Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab).
Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear.
Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.
Author: Hannah R. Goodman
Published: July 5th, 2018
Reviewed By: September 28-October 6, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
I did not realize this was book four in The Maddie Chronicles when I started it. The first three in the series are:
My Sister’s Wedding
My Summer Vacation
Fear of Falling
When I found out it was the fourth then things made sense: I felt I was ‘missing’ pieces of information during the first part of the novel. I would advise you to read the others in the series before reading Till it Stops Beating.
OK, now that that is over…..
Till it Stops Beating is a coming of age novel for Maddie. She is transitioning from childhood to adulthood and along the way faces some difficult issues, among them anxiety and cancer. Hannah also deals with heartbreak in relationships, family issues and of course: jelly doughnuts. The first few chapters had me craving doughnuts!
Goodman did a good job capturing a teen dealing with anxiety and an unknown future that makes up one’s senior year of high school, which really is a year of change and big decisions. Then in addition to all of that, she has to deal with a relative’s cancer diagnosis and that unknown can be heartbreaking
I enjoyed the second part immensely; I felt I really got to know Maddie through the road trip she took with friends.
You will laugh and might tear up reading this one. The ending is a pleasant one with hope for the future. And the title just gives you all the feelings once you have finished the novel!
About the Author:
Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.
Hannah’s first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.
Hannah is a member of ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.
Author: Frances Hardinge
Published: May 10, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3.5 stars
In Caverna, lies are an art — and everyone’s an artist…
In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…
I have had this book on my shelf for a while. I bought it on BookOutlet for a great price and the synopsis sounded really good! But, y’all know I’m a pretty ADD reader and I got distracted so I only just now picked it up and read it. And I wish I could say that I loved it . . . and I did strongly like the last half, but that’s about it. It was just really slow in the beginning.
Thankfully, the mystery of Neverfell’s identity was firmly established from the beginning and it was that that kept me reading. What I thought would fascinate me most, a group of people who have no facial expressions and must be taught expressions only by facesmiths, actually got really old, really fast. For some reason, it just didn’t capture my imagination like I thought it was going to.
Once Neverfell got involved in the politics and elite of Caverna, things started to finally get interesting. I liked how little mysteries kept creeping in to try to distract from the main story and throw you off. I found the Grand Steward to be the most fascinating character of all! Because he has lived so long, he has trained his body to sleep only one half at a time . . . as in his left side is awake while his right side sleeps. And both sides have different personalities!! I will admit that he saved the story for me. Once the Grand Steward entered, I was good to finish the book. Had it been half the length it was, I think I would have liked it a lot better. Overall, I would say that this book is worth reading once, but I’ll probably never come back to it. It’s also safe for younger teens, at least the detail-oriented ones! I can’t say that I would recommend this to all teens, but you could definitely do a lot worse!