This is the second half of a doubleshot. If you missed it, be sure to check out what BigAl had to say about this same book this morning.
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Coming of Age / YA / Contemporary
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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“Brenda Vicars has worked in Texas public education for many years. Her jobs have included teaching, serving as a principal, and directing student support programs. For three years, she also taught college English to prison inmates, and outside of her job, she mentors children of incarcerated parents. She entered education because she felt called to teach, but her students taught her the biggest lesson: the playing field is not even for all kids. Through her work, she became increasingly compelled to bring their unheard voices to the page. The heartbeat of her fiction emanates from the courage and resiliency of her students. Brenda’s hobbies include reading, woodworking, gardening, and Zumba.”
For more, visit Ms Vicars' website.
“Fifteen-year-old Polarity Weeks just wants to live a normal life, but with a mother diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, that’s rarely easy. Her life gets exponentially more disastrous when her sixth-period history classmates start ogling a nude picture of her on the Internet. Polarity would never have struck such a shameless pose, but the photo is definitely of her, and she’s at a complete loss to explain its existence.
Child Protective Services yanks her from her home, suspecting her parents. The kids at school mock her, assuming she took it herself. And Ethan, the boy she was really starting to like, backpedals and joins the taunting chorus. Surrounded by disbelief and derision on all sides, Polarity desperately seeks the truth among her friends. Only then does she learn that everyone has dark secrets, and no one’s life is anywhere near normal.”
This is an outstanding story. It was easy to be drawn in to Polarity’s dilemma. The scenario is realistic, complex, and so are all of the characters. Not only is Polarity a victim of circumstance, but she has to deal with her mother’s borderline personality disorder. This causes Polarity’s mother to turn things around to make this all about her. This disorder causes her to be extremely focused on details others overlook. She is highly intelligent and a tenacious bull dog who won’t let things go. She is also willing to verbally attack with very little provocation. Polarity and her father certainly have their hands full. Her mother’s story is heart-wrenching in and of itself.
One of the story lines is the relationship between Polarity and Ethan. Ethan is a black student in her class that takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery of where this naked picture of Polarity came from. He is intelligent and has been at this school longer than Polarity so he knows the students better. Polarity is drawn to his strength of character and steadfastness. I enjoyed the way their relationship developed and the trials and tribulations they went through.
One of the main themes that runs through this story are barriers, either seen, unseen, or flat out denied to exist. At the end of the book are some discussion questions for book clubs to consider. The whole story is compelling with several elements expertly woven throughout the whole novel to give a well-rounded view of Polarity’s situation and the complexities that arose.
Ms. Vicar has done an excellent job with her debut novel. It is obvious that she has had experience with students, school faculty, mental disorders, and law enforcement advocates. Polarity in Motion is an eye opening story handled with compassion that everyone should be required to read.
I was given a promo copy to review, but found no significant errors in proofing or formatting.
Rating: ***** Five stars