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48 Hour Book Challenge: Update #1

June 4, 2010

I began this year’s challenge by visiting the blogs of other participants. I’m probably among the last to start my 48 hour window, and it seemed like I’d been seeing updates from other participants all day long!

My first book for the challenge was The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler. I usually pick up books expecting, or at least hoping, to read the entire book, but this one was an exception. I knew even before I requested it that I wouldn’t read the whole thing, as most of the entries are by authors I haven’t read or by authors whose mystery series I no longer read. I planned on reading only the pieces by Carol O’Connell and Laura Lippman. And I read the O’Connell one, but when I flipped over to Lippman’s piece, I thought, “Hey, that looks familiar.” I’m pretty sure it was included in Hardly Knew Her, so skipped it this time around.

My second book turned out to be a fabulous choice for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Yay!

I sped through Allan Stratton’s Borderline. I don’t think I looked at the clock once while reading, and after finishing it, I was surprised at how little time had passed.

After the Mary Louse Prescott incident, Sami Sabiri’s relationship with his father began to deteriorate. His father pulls away, seems to start distrusting Sami, and what’s going on both in and out of school is only making things worse. Sami is an outcast, and the only Muslim kid, at his new private school, and going to a different school as his best friends also seems to be taking a toll on their friendship. Sami finds himself getting into trouble, even when he’s not to blame.

When his father postpones some planned father-son quality time, Sami becomes suspicious. But in no way did his suspicions even come close to those of the FBI, who raid the Sabiri home and take away Sami’s father, claiming he’s assisting a terrorist cell. Whatever his feelings about his father, though, Sami knows his father is innocent and he may be the only one who cares enough to prove it.

At times, I thought Stratton puts Sami into too many incidents that led to  good old “I’m telling the truth! Why don’t you believe me” fights between Sami and his parents. But it works. The first-person narration makes Sami extremely sympathetic, because, as the reader, you know what’s actually happening and what his decision-making process is. So when the action heats up, the sympathy Stratton has built up on Sami’s behalf makes the story even more tense. And Sami’s character development ultimately makes his actions to clear his father’s name rather plausible.

Borderline picks up speed as it goes along. Which is not to say it gets off to  a slow start, but that after Sami’s father is arrested, what had been a fast-paced story kicks into another gear. The jacket copy actually uses the phrase “an explosive thriller ripped from today’s headlines,” but there’s a lot more to Borderline than this.

Reading Time: 1 hour 48 minutes

Blog/Twitter time: 1 hour 23 minutes —–> Need to spend more time reading!

Oh, and I probably should have said this in my starting post: all books from the public library unless otherwise noted.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 11:18 pm

    I started late too: only 4.5 hours ago! I’ve done 2.5 hours now, but I didn’t keep good track of Blog/twitter time – I’m sure it’s more than it should be! 🙂

    Good luck with the next batch of reading!

    • June 5, 2010 12:07 am

      Oh, I’m sure my blog/twitter time is too high, as well. I’m keeping track of it right now, though I won’t start counting it as part of my total time until I hit the five-hours-reading mark.

      Thanks for the luck! I may need it, after reading Nothing by Teller.

  2. June 4, 2010 11:44 pm

    Hi Trisha!

    Borderline sounds like a good one!

    • June 5, 2010 12:15 am

      It is! I haven’t read Stratton’s other books, so I can’t compare it to them. I know he’s received a Printz Honor, and while this one won’t be on anyone’s mock Printz or Printz prediction list, it is a book that will hold your attention and continuing to turn the pages. About a third of the way into the story, it turns into a well-written thriller, and I mean this as a compliment.

  3. June 5, 2010 4:06 am

    Two books in less than two hours? You are a superstar!
    Keep up the good work, Tricia! Happy reading!


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