Thursday, December 19, 2013

Customer Review - Freeze Frame

Freeze Frame
by Heidi Araybe [YA Ayarbe]

Impressive. This is the adjective that keeps popping into my mind when thinking about how to describe Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe.Freeze Frame is about a teenage boy who kills his best friend with a gun. It's disturbing that Freeze Frame is about a tragedy caused by the main character. Furthermore, for the bulk of the book we don't even know if the death was intentional. Yet we still have to care for Kyle because we're constantly in his head. That Ayarbe is able to pull off such a novel is impressive. That isn't all. For example, how did Ayarbe write over one hundred pages about just one week in Kyle's life? Even if those chapters centered around the aftermath of the shooting — which includes Kyle's arrest, trial, and initial meetings with his probation officer — it still blew me away how masterfully Ayarbe stretched such a short timeframe into so many pages. Just as amazingly, once Kyle returns to school and tries to settle back into routine, how does Ayarbe keep up the momentum? Consider that Kyle frequently escapes to his friend's grave, thinks about ways to die, and relives that fateful day at the shed. Freeze Frame could have easily become a depressing and wallowing mess. Instead, Ayarbe introduces school bullies, an adult mentor in the form of a librarian, and Kyle's new goal of becoming a protector of his best friend's younger brother. Ah-ha, but here again Freeze Frame could have become another movie-of-the-week, wrought with heavy-handedness over its topic of teen violence. But it never did. In fact, even though Kyle's mind regularly revisits the shooting, Freeze Frame felt to be just as much about family, fitting in, books, movies, moving forward, choices, and a thousand other things. Eventually Kyle also starts talking to a school outcast who likes to take photos of everyday sights, believing each one has a story. Finally, how did Ayarbe write about such a disturbing topic and yet manage to so intensely pull the reader into Kyle's world? Whenever anything interrupted me during my reading of Freeze Frame, I felt a jolt — as if Kyle's reality had become mine own. Even when the truth of that tragic day is finally revealed, I had no compulsion to shut the book. Because Freeze Frame is about more than that single life-changing moment. It's also about the life that follows. Freeze Frame is a stellar novel about the mental anguish one can face during tragedy. Ayarbe never hurries her story, but at the same time she keeps the pace quick, making for an addicting read. As such, she is a novelist to be watched. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

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