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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aggie's Nine Heroes by Diana Laurence

Hi there readers!
How's your weekend going?  Good I hope.  I was up late so I figured I'd catch up on the end of GLEE Season 2 (was definitely feeling off for not seeing the last three episodes...what kind of fan am I?) and now that that is completed (good stuff too...definitely good), time for a little reviewing.  Just finished this particular title before the clock struck twelve yesterday and immediately I felt the need to jot a few things down that needed saying.  Ready to read all about it?  Here goes.  Today's book of choice is....

Aggie's Nine Heroes
by


From the author...

Meet the little girl who decided superheroes didn’t live only in comic books.Then learn how she—and nine other amazing people—proved it. Aggie Borkowski is only ten when she realizes the world needs help, and she can’t do the job alone. For the next dozen years, Aggie pursues her extraordinary goal: to gather a team of nine talented, dedicated people who want to be heroes. Number one on that roster is Aggie’s remarkable grandfather, Bernie. His indomitable spirit--undaunted by personal tragedy and a sometimes-terrifying handicap--is key to the realization of Aggie’s dreams. The Borkowskis’ story spans five decades, from Korea’s Demilitarized Zone to the high-tech minefield of life in the 21st Century, including a sojourn in that fearful place called middle school. With Bernie’s loving guidance, Aggie develops exceptional coping skills, all the while facing the conventional challenges of growing up and finding true love. Aggie is just one girl trying to make a small difference…but like Bernie taught her, “When you do a good thing, no matter how small, the goodness that results can be great.” And it works even better when you can do it with a team.



Click here for an excerpt from the book.  As for the review, I'm just going to jump right in....
Bernie Borkowski (slightly inspired by her own dad...how cool!?!) was a remarkable character as were Aggie and her friends, but he had unusual circumstances to boot dealt his way and thus he gets the spotlight first. A character with mental illness...especially one that's not flapping around like Renfield whilst alluding the men in white coats (pardon the dramatic explanation, no offence intended...just setting a contrast)...is often unheard of or rather seen/read of in literature. The spin put on his overactive mind and the creativity that sparked from it was amazing....

(LINES REMOVED PER REQUEST OF AUTHOR...PARDON THE MESS)...

An issue so hard to deal with yet he found a way to "make it work"...but that's not all. It wasn't just his stubbornness that drove Bernie to try to learn a "normal" life (quotations used there because really, normal is relative to some degree), but strength, conviction, courage, and love. He possessed all of these qualities, tried to surround himself with like minds and in the end the world was a better place for it. We should all be so lucky to have a person of his caliber touch our lives even for a moment. Now Aggie...

Aggie was a brave girl. A girl who looked life in the face, listened to what it wanted and made it a compromise it couldn't refuse. She wasn't a bully, but she knew what was right and stood as best she could for it. When times got tough, she got going and by going I mean building an organization (non-profit no less) that would help solve those problems too big for Johnny Q. Public but too small for the big arenas to deal with properly. Can you believe it all began as the idea of a young impressionable child with a love of Neil Gaiman comics (which is totally explainable...it seems a few shades of the author colored this particular area...) and a dream of a better world for all? A remarkable child that grows into a remarkable young woman that despite the encroaching world with all its ugliness, she fought to keep a light on the goodness around her. That power and strength went two fold stronger for those closest to her...including those within the inner circle of A9H (aka Aggie's Nine Heroes). She sought out the extraordinary in the ordinary world and found those that would share in her vision who not only become a formidable team but her extended family. From the Tri (three computer hac....I mean geeks... ^_^) and Nita (a real people person), to Jason (the actor) and Brandon (dojo master and long time friend), there are so many personalities and so many skills amongst this group I could go on for days. Will I? No. Why? Simply to let you discover them on your own. I know I know, pretty nice of me, right? (LOL. ^_^)

Now don't get me wrong, there are a few points on which the lows settle. A grasmmar error here and there plus a break down of content once or twice and foul language unfortunately do happen...but it's not enough to stop the show from rolling on (oh pardon the theater reference, was watching Glee when I typed that part...hehe). Let's blow through them rapidly. The romance aspect for Aggie after nearly 200 pages of the book seemed like an after thought. It still worked but the story and characters already had so much going on that set them apart, it felt a little like a "what-else-can-I-add"-ish sort of moment. Also, the descriptiveness of her intimate encounter is not for the kiddos....a fact which is understandable when her other works are taken into account (apparently the author has previously penned a collection of "tasteful erotic stories" among other things). Whew! Still there? Okay....truly those are the big things, anything else was easy to pass right by and seriously had no bearing on the overall story.

All in all, a surprising read that will have you glued to the page at first out of curiosity, then out of interest and finally out of a need to see where a not-so-simple dream carries a group of people so different and yet all in to affect the same outcome...a better world for one and all. Recommended reading for older teens through adults. Be prepared for a curious journey that will take you near, far and everywhere in between whilst leaving you with many points to ponder.

Special thanks to author Diana Laurence for the ebook review copy. (THANKS!) For more information on this author and her current works, feel free to visit her website, friend her on Facebook, or check out the blog. It might do you well to hear some great news that the author was kind enough to clue me in on. This book was up for an award recently in the Hollywood Book Festival and guess what? It received an honorable mention in the General Fiction category! "Awards are given based on the author's storytelling ability and the book's deserving the attention of film, television, and other media." (Congrats Ms Laurence!!) Read all about it folks....just click here.

One more thing...the author is using the funds from the sale of this book in a very special way. Check it out....

Aggie’s Nine Heroes explores themes related to responsible living, charity, and benevolent entrepreneurship. So, the author wanted to use the proceeds of this book in a manner that Aggie and her grandfather Bernie would approve. Kiva.org is an 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to microfinance institutions in developing countries around the world in the U.S., which in turn lend the money to small businesses and students. Kiva enables people who otherwise would be “unbankable” to start businesses and become productive members of their local communities, while bringing themselves and their families out of poverty.

25% of the proceeds of the sales of Aggie’s Nine Heroes will be donated outright to Kiva for ongoing administrative expenses. 75% of proceeds will be provided to investments through Kiva.



Definitely an effort that Bernie, Aggie and the whole crew would be proud of....



Until next time...happy reading!
 


1 comments:

LoriStrongin said...

Just reading this review--about the awesomeness of the character and of the author herself--inspire me. I will definitely be picking this book up. Thanks so much for the rec!

(And just want to say HI FELLOW GLEEK!!!! Did you did you love the Kurt-Rachel duet in the finale as much as I did?!?!)


Smiles!
Lori

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