Another great read by Erynn Mangum. Very interesting story...I finished it in two days which doesnt really lend itself to good value reading but hey!! A bit different to her other books - of which I've read all - but think I enjoyed it even more than the coffee house books. Great book
Kate Carter loves to draw. That's the thing she loves to do most. She's not good at math, she doesn't do sports, and she doesn't have many friends. She keeps mostly to herself. Art is her favorite subject in high school and drawing is her thing. And, she has a gift for it.
In Sketchy Behavior (make sure the title is in italics), Kate unknowingly does a sketch of a wanted criminal as an assignment for art class. Her sketch is so realistic it is used to catch the man. That should make her happy, but it doesn't.
Her parents go off the deep end when they find out her sketch was used by the police without their knowledge or consent. Kate is pleased her artwork was good enough to use, but her sudden popularity at school is nerve-wracking. Then, things turn serious as Kate's life is threatened by an accomplice of the man who was put behind bars.
What I Like: I really like the main character, Kate Carter. The author, Erin Mangum did a great job of bringing Kate's character to life.
I also like the way the author tackled the subject of introducing someone to God and the church. Kate had heard of God, but she wasn't really sure what she believed in regards to His existence. Neither of her parents believed in Him, so she tended to follow their lead. She had been in church a few times, but only when her mother insisted they go for a special service, like at Christmas, so they could absorb "the culture". So, when Kate's mother insists they all go to church after Kate's near brush with death, Kate's reaction to the whole church service is just about what you'd expect from a teenager who hadn't been raised in the church. But, I liked the way the author kept bringing the subject of God into the text and how it was handled.
What I Dislike: The book starts with a scene that, at first, seems to be a suicide attempt in progress. That sounds dramatic, and I thought it was, but it turned out the person threatening to jump from a bridge wasn't serious about it and the person who was trying to talk her out of it knew that. The problem is, I feel the author handled the idea of a possible suicide a bit lightly. I'm sure she didn't intend it that way, but that's the way it came across.
I also found the premise of the story to be a bit unbelievable. A high school junior is given a drawing assignment that propels her into the world of criminals who are trying to kill her. That's doesn't sound very realistic. First, would a high school art teacher ever give their students an assignment to draw someone they only have a written description of if that description came straight from the police file folder of an unsolved crime? I really don't think that's likely to happen. The teacher might read a description of a person to the class and have them draw what they thought the person should look like. But, I don't think the finished sketch would be of a wanted criminal.
Kate's mom is a psychiatrist. She over-analyzes and has opinions on every type of situation family encounters. In regards to the teacher having the students do a sketch of a wanted criminal, Kate's mom says the teacher "obviously was not thinking clearly about the damaging effects to the kids' psyches." When the family has dinner at the governor's house and the governor's children misbehave during the meal and no one makes a move to correct them, Kate's mom says, "Those poor children are being raised in an atmosphere that is entirely inappropriate for proper growth." But when Kate's life is threatened and she is nearly shot, Kate's mom barely reacts. She's frightened and angry, but she doesn't say much at all. It just seemed out of character for her.
And, many, many people send Kate flowers after hearing about her. The flowers just keep coming and the family just keeps setting the vases around in various parts of the house. At one point Kate's mom reacts to the number of flower vases accumulating around them. She says it takes 30 minutes of her time just to water all of them. I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't donate at least some of them to a local hospital or nursing home. I just seemed so selfish to keep all those flowers to themselves.
Novels like Erynn Mangum's Sketchy Behavior are the reason that I enjoy reading young adult inspirational fiction. Although Kate Carter is a teenager, her character is relatable and her unusual talent of criminal profiling adds an element of suspense to the plot. The premise of Sketchy Behavior is fresh and unique, with the intrigue of a police mystery without the extra layer of technical crime terminology and descriptions to slow down the plot. Kate faces her share of fear, doubt, and danger throughout the course of the novel. Told from Kate's perspective in first person, the novel captured my attention and had me asking the same questions as Kate. The majority of the plot takes place in Kate's home or in the police station, with the same core set of characters. Some sections of the plot are relatively uneventful, but Mangum maintains a steady pace with her writing and keeps the reader's attention, primarily through Kate's candid thoughts about the major changes that are taking place in her life. The major climax of the novel occurs at the end of the book, and it had my heart pounding. But even in the tense situation, Mangum incorporates a touch of her trademark humor.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Erynn Mangum ticks all the boxes with her latest release aimed at teens, but still a story I adored, too. With a more serious storyline than her previous Lauren Holbrook and Maya Davis novels, Sketchy Behavior remains imprinted with Erynn's trademark humour, spot on first person voice and a spiritual message. Particularly appealing is the focus on the mystery element which makes it perfect for readers looking for something other than a romance for this age group. The interaction between Kate and her parents is authentic as Kate's perception of them alters as danger comes close. Kate is an engaging character, witty, quirky and honest. I'd love more stories about Kate, her best friend Maddy, Detective Masterson and Silent Justin ~ here's hoping!
Sketchy Behavior is a fabulous read you can't miss
July 11, 2011
Blooming with Books
By Erynn Mangum
Kate Carter is just an ordinary, unnoticed 16 year old girl until her art class assignment captures a serial killer. With notoriety thrust upon her, Kate is now in the spotlight - exactly where she doesn't want to be.
With the police watching her every step and news crews camped out in her front yard Kate is a national celebrity.
But soon she's the target of the now jailed serial killer's friends. With nightmares keeping her awake, fear dogging her every step, will Kate discover what comes after death before the next bullet finds its mark?
Sketchy Behavior is an intense book that realistically portrays high school life for someone who likes to remain in the background. With twists you're not expecting Sketchy Behavior holds your interest to the very end!
I for one hope South Woodhaven Falls will be the scene for more adventures. Fabulous work, Erynn!