Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Dash, Life Between the Lines - Greg Armamentos

A copy was provided by the Author
in exchange for
an honest review.
Dash--Life Between the Numbers by Greg Armamentos
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published on August 15, 2013
Published by CreateSpace
Pages: 184
Read From: 9.2.13 - 9.4.13

Thirteen-year-old Dexter loves to run. Whether along the roads or on the forest trails, he loves to push his speed to the limit. To him, running provides the freedom to dream. Already the fastest kid in his school, he has his sights set higher. He wants to be famous. He dreams of being legendary. 
But running also provides the freedom to not think at all. Because sometimes thinking leads to memories. And there are some memories of Mom and Grandpa that Dexter would rather forget. When he runs straight into a debilitating illness he has to wonder - will he ever be fast again? Will he ever be somebody?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? For the type of book this is, the cover design fits it very well. It does nothing for me specifically, but it'll catch the right audience's attention.

Characters: Dash - otherwise known as Dexter - was an all right protagonist. I didn't dislike him, nor did I especially care about him. He just didn't leave a lasting impression on me either way. This may be due to the fact that I simply don't get into stories like this one, so I failed to connect with Dash. Readers who enjoy inspirational reads may find themselves much more apt to caring about Dash. My feelings for the other characters was pretty lukewarm as well. They were faces with names, but I didn't feel any emotion towards any of them, except Paige. And it wasn't a good emotion. I honestly don't know why, but Paige annoyed me. I think maybe the Author tried too hard to make her optimistic and lovable and - even worse - too inspirational. Instead, rather than leaving me with the warming thought of, "I want to be like her" in my heart, I felt this zing of irritation up my spine every time she appeared in the story. Somehow, I don't think that that's how the Reader is supposed to react to Paige.

The Romance: There isn't any!

Plot: Dash loves to run; it's his absolute passion, and one that he shares with his dad, along with baseball. Dash would like to eventually become famous; make his name synonymous with some great achievement. But when he's diagnosed with cancer, Dash's running days draw to a rapid close, and all the dreams he once had are gone. Cancer is a battle that Dash doesn't think he can fight, let alone win. As it progresses, he suddenly finds that he has time to think about things that he would rather forget: his grandfather's death, and how his mom walked out on their family. But when your days are numbered, is it better to live them out with regret and disappointment, or to make up for lost time and be thankful for what you do have? I realize that some Readers out there enjoy inspirational reads like this. They make you weepy while sending a positive message about what's really important in life. These kinds of books just leave me horribly depressed. I don't get positive messages out of them; I get a message that says goals and ambitions are pointless, so don't even bother, because life will disrupt them. And because our lives are built on goals and ambitions, it's not inspiring to read a story that tells me that I'm basically wasting my life - and also sends the message that goals and ambitions are bad. I'm not saying that that is what Dash--Life Between the Numbers is saying, but that is the message I got, and it isn't true. Goals and ambitions and dreams are all very good things provided you don't forget about the people you care for. Dash--Life Between the Numbers jumps into Dash's struggle with cancer pretty quickly, so it doesn't waste any time. So the majority of this book - all of it, in fact - just saddened me.

Believability: Not complaints in this area.

Writing Style: First person . . . and I'm actually not sure what tense it was officially in. The narration jumped between past and present a lot, and it wasn't always flashbacks. The style itself was so-so. There was a lot of emotion in the narration, and very few typos. The biggest crux in the writing was the dialogue. The Author seems to be allergic to the word "said." He would never say who was speaking; there was just a bunch of dialogue with no "so-and-so said" or "so-and-so replied." The dialogue itself also tried too hard to be inspirational, and instead came across as rather corny.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The deciding factor for Dash is whether or not his cancer is terminal. It is. Dash's days are numbered. So, knowing that the protagonist is going to die of an illness in the end, my spirits became more and more depressed as the book went on and Dash's death grew ever nearer. My personal opinion of Dash--Life Between the Numbers is this: I, personally, did not like it all that much, because it left me depressed. But Readers who like such inspirational reads will find this one a short, enjoyable book.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, thirteen-and-up, fans of inspirational reads like The Fault in Our Stars.

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