AskDavid.com has compiled all the links related to Bend Me, Shape Me (Street Stories Book 2) and gives you an opportunity to submit your review of the book right from their site. Painted Black (Street Stories Book 1) can also be found there.
Starza Thompson over at Windy City Reviews gave Bend Me, Shape Me a long and marvelous review today. Below are some of my favorite excerpts, but I really hope you will click through to read everything she had to say.
Bend Me Shape Me takes a deep and fascinating look into the world of teen homelessness in Chicago. Through the eyes of Snow Ramirez, Jo Sullivan, and Leonard Goldenhawk, author Debra Borys shepherds the audience on a terrifying journey of homelessness, mental illness, family problems, and murder.
This novel was chock full of nail-biting scenes and page-turning tension, making it very hard to put down. Throughout the book, Borys does an excellent job of painting a realistic picture of homeless youth and the struggle they have with mental illness, family, trust, and more. From the very first page of this novel, the audience is pulled into Snow’s story and her struggle to keep her brother and herself safe.
For me, this book was both entertaining and eye-opening. The plot twists and multiple narrators kept me flipping the page to find out what happened next, while the reality of Snow’s situation made me want to learn more about how I could make a difference in the lives of homeless youth. As someone who loves psychological thrillers and who is a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters, this book combined my interests in ways I didn’t think possible. I immediately wanted to know more about Snow and her brother and could have easily read a book twice as long on this topic.
Bend Me Shape Me is a chilling and tension-drenched thriller that will enable you to take a long hard look at the plight of the homeless. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers that make you think—once you pick up this book, you will struggle to put it down!
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Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago. When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Blitz may have been diagnosed bi-polar, like Snow herself, but no way would he have offed himself like that if the shrink he’d been seeing hadn’t bent his mind completely out of shape.
Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? After all, she’d gotten out from under the doctor’s thumb weeks ago and it was too late for Blitz now, wasn’t it? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.
Available in Trade Paperback or E-book
On November 12 at 6:30 p.m. I will be reading from Bend Me, Shape Me at the Princeton Public library, 698 E Peru St, Princeton IL 61356. I will also talk a bit about how setting influences crime fiction and answer any questions you might have. Afterward, there will be an opportunity to buy books and have them signed.
I hope you will join me. I look forward to seeing everyone.
If you are interested in the reading i did last year from Painted Black, the whole event was recorded and is available on my Painted Black website.
I knew from an email Jill at IndieHeart sent me two weeks ago that this review of Bend Me, Shape Me would be a good one. Jill has experience working with troubled teens and so her accolades are high praise indeed. Please click through to read more, including a brief overview of the main characters that you should find interesting.
I found most of the characters in Bend Me, Shape Me to be well drawn. Alley is the perfect picture of a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. Snow, who has been diagnosed as bipolar (like many traumatized teen girls with legitimate anger) is a strong and compelling character. You will find yourself pulling for her from the beginning.
The author also brings a high degree of craft to the elements that make the story an experience you can see, hear, and smell; she has a talent for both descriptive language and dialogue. The conversations between characters, in particular, ring true. If you want your street people to speak a polite, formal language, look elsewhere. This story is a story of the cold winter streets and abandoned squats of Chicago where survival is difficult and language is colorful. Ms. Borys paints a picture that makes you feel you are there.
I find it interesting that on the same day I receive a review complimenting how strong the characters are portrayed, I also find another which says the opposite. The Pankhearst Review posted a review on August 14 that I found only because I was bored and did a Google search for “Borys” and “Bend Me, Shape Me.” Despite the fact that the reviewer felt disappointed with the character depth and thought the ending seemed rushed, he did have a few good things to say and ended his commentary with: “”It’s weird reading a novel and being satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
This is the only 3-star review I’ve ever received, but I find it wasn’t as painful as I thought it might me. You might say I also am “satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read with an intriguing plot and interesting subplot, then I do recommend you pick up a copy of this novel. There are many things to like about Borys’ writing style and content wise Bend Me, Shape Me has a fair amount of meat for you to feast on. With gritty and harsh moments, you’ll be drawn into the story and constantly wondering ‘what’s next’.
I am, Indeed gave Bend Me, Shape Me a 4-star review and had some great things to say, particularly about Snow and Jo as characters.
Snow’s “determination to protect her brother and survive against horrific odds is a testament to her strength.”
“Jo is pretty amazing and the careful nurturing of the budding relationship that she is building with Snow is well-defined and presented with a solidity that feels both possible and realistic.
I hope you will click through to read the whole review, but here is another little taste of the a 4-starry goodness:
There must be something in the air or some odd convergence of planets: I’ve had a group of books that I have read lately that, at least tangentially, deal with characters that are “less than” in society’s eyes. Bend Me, Shape Me is no different. Debra Borys deals with the issue of underground teenaged runaways. Often squatting in abandoned buildings, abused in birth families and targeted for abuse by the predatory denizens of the city, and often with recurrent and severe mental illnesses, this is not a pretty set of circumstances for a quiet afternoon read. That should NOT discourage you, however, because it is a beautifully written, well-presented and completely engaging afternoon’s read that will have you wondering if you can find somewhere to make a difference in this world.
Shelagh Watkins was one of the first people to interview me after the publication of Painted Black, so I am honored she found room for another round of questions and answers now that Bend Me, Shape Me is out. I hope you will click through to read the whole article. I talk about writing, my inspirations and what I’ve been up to lately. Here’s a teaser talking about where I got the idea for the plot.
“For Bend Me, Shape Me an article about a family suing their son’s psychiatrist planted the germ of an idea. Their autistic son had been exhibiting violent and dangerous behavior after beginning treatment and because the family insisted on further investigation, the police discovered the doctor was actually a paranoid schizophrenic who planned to brainwash his patients into becoming his own private security force. I simply asked myself “What if?” What if the patient had no family, no one who cared what happened to him? What might the end result have been? For me, the end result was this book.”
If you missed my interview with her last year, please CLICK HERE.
This update to MJ Joachim’s review sounds like kind of a big deal to me. Click through to read the whole blog post above and tell me what you think. Am I silly to be so excited about this?
Last week I posted a link to a review of Bend Me, Shape Me by M.J. Joachim. While she had many good things to say about the book, she concluded at the end not to add the book to her Recommended Reading list. While I was disappointed, I was happy with the many things she did like about the book.
Snow and Jo were not done with the reviewer, however. Recently MJ wrote this note on a review she did for a John Grisham book:
Note: I added an update to my recent Bend Me, Shape Me review. This book touched my heart and prompted me [to] read and conduct further research about homelessness. Consequently, I published another book review for Danielle Steel’s book, A Gift of Hope, today on my Effectively Human website, and have added Bend Me, Shape me to my Recommended Reading List
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