Review: Channel ’63 — By Bruce Edwards

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Channel ’63 (The Age of Amy, #3)

Author: Bruce Edwards

Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fiction / 244

Summary: What if you could tune your TV to the year 1963, and watch—live? A new theme park attraction allows visitors to not only observe, but talk with the people of that turbulent decade. For 16-year-old Amy, it’s the perfect escape from her own time, and the hardships of teenage life in the 21st century.

Things get complicated when Amy falls for a teenage boy in the 60s. Trying to build a relationship across time proves maddening, especially when computers bleep any language that might impact the future. Happily, Amy acquires a “magic clicker” which defeats this annoying restriction. But gaining the ability to speak freely comes with a heavy responsibility: Amy now has the power to alter history!

Cover Review: It’s a very simplistic cover, but it’s not awkwardly posed clipart, which is more than you can say for most covers nowadays. I like it!

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Age of Amy is a morality play. A hyperbolic story. A cautionary tale. Everything in it — characters, plot lines, events — is exaggerated to teach a moral. It’s not supposed to be a story where you think “Wow! I really relate to that character and what they’re going through right now!” It’s one of those books that makes you think “Wow. Maybe I should re-evaluate that aspect of my life. …Okay, I’ve thought about it, I probably won’t change anything, but it’s a fun story anyway!” Kinda joking there, but it really does teach important lessons, in a very fun way. 

Personally, I found the endless 60’s references a bit tedious for my tastes. It was clear that the author was reliving his favorite era in the writing of this book. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, write what you know, etc., but it definitely didn’t captivate me, a 21st century teenager. The political agenda in this one wasn’t really my cup of tea, but being politically over-the-top has always been what makes these Age of Amy books so much fun. And this one was a lot of fun! I didn’t like Channel ’63 as much as I liked the first book in the series, Bonehead Bootcamp, and the second book, Thumper Amendment, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Amy is intelligent, rebellious, and fiercely independent. She’s a teenage girl trying to be a grown-up, and doing a pretty good job at it, honestly. Her voice is raw and defiant, and her story is almost inspiring. The only REAL issue I have with this book is the Robert A. Heinlein-esque borderline pedophilic relationship that was referenced but not explicitly stated, at the end of the book… That’s the best way I could describe it without any major spoilers.

Content Advisory: Some swearing, some intense scenes – medical emergencies, domestic fighting, and armed assault. Nothing graphic, detailed, or excessive. 

To Sum It Up: Fun, fantastic (Definition: imaginative or fanciful), and more than a little crazy, The Age of Amy: Channel ’63 is the perfect choice for a younger reader — or for an adult looking for a break from the intense realism of most modern-day literature. I recommend this book to readers ages 10+.

Review: The Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment – by Bruce Edwards

First, an apology. College is crazy. And so my blog updates have been VERY lacking, and for that I apologize. I will NOT let it happen again. Time flies when you’re studying for a test, yeah? But from now on there will always be at least one review a week.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: The Age of Amy: The Thumper Amendment

The Thumper Amendment will be released April 1st. It will be available for purchase via Amazon HERE in one month! Make sure to buy it! :)

Author: Bruce Edwards

Summary: It’s an election year, and Congress has lowered the voting age to 14! In support for her favorite candidate, 16-year-old Amy joins his campaign — not out of patriotism, but because the opposing candidate’s son bullied her in the third grade. Defeating her offender would be the perfect payback for her maltreatment.

Presidential campaign reform laws now require that all candidates participate in the TV reality show, The Race For The White House, USA. Amy accompanies her candidate-of-choice in this bizarre, cross-country contest, where she encounters robot presidents, mutant laboratory animals, and escapes injustice in America’s “wild west” of the future.

But, there’s a problem. While Amy is committed to seeing her grade school nemesis get his just deserts, the wicked boy has grown into a tenderhearted (and cute) young adult, making it difficult for Amy to dislike him. Her vengeance turns to feelings of affection and admiration. Is she falling in love?

This fantasy-adventure for young adults examines just how mean people can be—personally and politically—and under-scores what Bambi’s friend, Thumper, always says, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/212

Rating: ★★ (3.5 of 5)

My Review:  

First Paragraph: “Let me go!” My demand went unheard over the playful din of grade school children at recess. Two large boys held my arms behind my back. A third once casually walked around me, his cold stare never leaving my angry face. The boys jeered and taunted me as I struggled to get free. What had I done to deserve this kind of abuse? Elementary school is a wondrous place to learn and grow, to discover reading, writing, and finger painting. But for naive school girls lie me, we sometimes get more education than we signed up for.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Hero/Heroine: Amy & Peter. As always, I loved Amy. She’s spirited, fun, and a touch rebellious. I mean, how often do you find a 16 year old willing to run for Vice-President of the whole country? She is seriously amazing. I love her. I even wear a clip-in purple streak in my hair, sorta like Amy. :) Peter  is a very complex character, with a fascinating back story. He’s romantic, cute, willing to admit mistakes, and has the amazing ability to see the bigger picture. How cool is that? Even the touch of romance between them was very well written, enjoyable, and engaging. The inter-character relations were all perfectly executed.

Plot: Though I didn’t like The Thumper Amendment as much as I liked the first book in the series Bonehead Bootcamp (check out my review HERE.), it was still enjoyable. The first book had focused more on personality problems and lesson to be learned from them, whereas this one focused more on politcal problems and lessons to be learned from them. The premise of the book was absolutely enthralling – imagine! The voting age has been lowered to 14, and teenagers cannot only vote, but the can also run for office! Not only that, but the presidential campaign is actually a reality tv show where candidates traverse the country in a race to reach the White House, all the while facing endless challenges and tests, to determine which candidate should be voted into office. However, I believe that, overall, it could have been better executed. This book is intensely political – but that’s what I loved about it! It addresses many different issues – from teenagers getting the right to vote to scientific cloning!

Content Advisory: A lot of minor cussing. Probably about 40 or 50 minor cuss words — way to much for a middle grade novel, and every single cuss sounded out of place and forced. 

To Sum it Up: Though considerably different from Bonehead BootcampThe Thumper Amendment was still thoroughly enjoyable. You have to exercise the suspension of disbelief in order to truly enjoy the book, but it teaches many important lessons and morals, while still being a fun, light, MG/YA novel. I really enjoyed it! I recommend The Thumper Amendment to readers ages 12+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?