I would begin by Congratulating the young author for his noteworthy achievements in the field of writing, and for his first published book – Just Another Horrible Year.
This story is about a boy named Michael who moved to California after his father got transferred there. Steadily, he adjusted in a new environment, and cracked the mystery revolving around their school principal, Mr Chore. The young author handled the characters very well and gave each their required space. The premise was set in a welcoming way that’ll rouse every readers interest to read forth. Definitely a must-read.
My favourite characters were Michael and Mr Chore. Edmund, the principal’s son, was a troublemaker who never missed a chance to bully Michael. Though both the father and son was accused of several felonies, Michael was understanding and empathetic towards them. His positive outlook, thoughtful acts made me connect and like him more. His caring nature, the zeal to initiate a search to crack the mystery, the steps they took, their plans, dilemmas, difficulties faced, the patience they put up-all were noteworthy. When I won this book at a writing contest on Penmancy, I didn’t know it would be such an interesting read. I applaud Srikar for his efforts to pen such a fantastic suspense story that kept me hooked till the last leaf.
The author’s flair and love for writing was prominent and I found the presentation very engaging. Srikar was careful with details and maintained the show-don’t-tell aspect that made me witness all the events. The plot was gripping, full of suspense and a bit of humor sprinkled here and there made it more exciting. I felt like I was reading a story from the Hardy Boys series. Another thing I loved about his style was the way he tried to communicate with the readers. He asked questions, wrote lines that’ll make the reader look forward to the next set of events. I enjoyed reading the dialogues, and how Josephine would crack jokes to scare Michael. Their friendly and kiddish banters reminded me of my school days.
There was conspiracy, humour, suspense in the story, and these took me on a rollercoaster ride. The language was simple, easy to read and connect to. Each part ended and started on a note that led me to the next chapter; it compelled me to read on so I could know all about their journey and plan to solve the case and nab the culprits. Being a fan of Nancy Drew series, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. Looking forward to read more of such stories from Srikar. His imagination skills to set up a thriller plot as such is praiseworthy. Presense of mind, making right use of technology and gadgets, not falling for bribes, sending a noble message for other young and mature readers about the right and wrong… all such important points were thoughtfully incorporated in the story.
The only glitch I noticed was in the editing part. Though it didn’t mar the essence of this exciting story, yet a bit of fine editing would’ve fixed the minor creases. On the whole, it’s a fun to read story that’ll make the readers want to read more about Michael and his friend Edmund. I liked the way the story was concluded, with an excellent message about friendship, bonds and the importance of a teacher’s role in a students’ life. The story exceeded my expectations as it is truly a good read. Not to miss the cover photo that was kinda cute and matched with the content of the book. If you are yet to read this book, go get it now. I’m sure you’ll enjoy and please do a review to cheer the young author, Srikar Chitta.
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