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Monday, March 19, 2012

At Least the Cover Speaks to Me ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After nine years of dealing with infertility, 33-year-old Susan Weller and her husband, Brent, finally get the baby they've been dreaming of for so long. Adopting Anna, an infant whose birth parents died in a car accident, replaces the cruel emptiness in Susan's heart with a joy she's never known. Not only is her daughter perfect in every way—healthy, smart, beautiful, happy—but she's actually more than that. She's ... special. Like an angel. She's got an otherworldly quality about her, something that's difficult to understand, let alone describe. It just seems that when Anna enters a room, it becomes instantly brighter. When she's present, people are nicer, teachers are more effective, and the world at large seems a kinder, happier place.

Susan's astounded by Anna's abilities. She knows she has to protect Anna—if anyone knew about the girl's extraordinary gift, they would want to study her, exploit her. Susan can't let that happen. But, the older Anna gets, the harder it becomes to explain why she's so different. Especially to Anna herself. Torn between trying to keep her daughter safe and letting her use her special talents to help those around her, Susan must decide where to draw the line.

Ugh. Describing the plot of Gifted by Karey White is difficult because, really, it has none. It's simply the tale of a child who changes everyone who comes in contact with her. The premise isn't bad at all, it's just not developed well enough to make a compelling novel. Add in flat characters, a meandering storyline and the author's preference for telling vs. showing and the book just doesn't stand a chance. Which is a bummer because the cover really speaks to me—unfortunately, it's the only thing about Gifted that does.

(Readalikes: Reminded me a little of Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult)

Grade: C-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for mature subject matter

To the FTC with love: I bought Gifted from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.


  1. I don't like books that have no real plot and just poke along.

    1. Me neither. It's irritating, not to mention boring.

  2. I have to completely disagree with you about this book not having a plot. It's hard to tell the plot without sharing spoilers but this book definitely had a plot. It came highly recommended to me from one of my fifth grader's moms and after I read it, I read it to my class. It crosses generations and had about half of my students in tears. When I had them write a paragraph about what they got from the book, they shared some very poignant feelings. I love that it was entertaining and that it prompted my students to want to improve the lives of those around them.

    I know that much of book reviewing is subjective, but I find it unfortunate that there will be some who choose not to read this beautiful book because of your review.

    My class and I loved it.

  3. Actually, ALL of book reviewing is subjective. A book that speaks to a class of fifth graders and their teacher might not speak to me at all and vice versa. That's why I appreciate comments like yours, even when the opinions expressed aren't the same as my own (maybe ESPECIALLY when they aren't) because it helps give potential readers a more rounded view of the book.

    That being said, I stand by my opinion of GIFTED. The writing, to me, seemed dull and lifeless, with stiff dialogue, (way) more showing than telling and a contrived plotline. All of these things got in the way of the message the author was trying to get across. I agree the moral of the story is a good one, but without dynamic writing, a book like this just comes across as preachy and sappy. That's my opinion, anyway :)


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