Rhyme Schemer - K.A. Holt

this isn't even poetry.
It's just thoughts
on paper
rapid fire
with not as many words
as usual thoughts
and none of those dumb
likes or as-es
or talking about trees
that old ladies like.
These are real thoughts
like a TV scroll
with a flow that's like a stream
that just flies out of my brain
like barf
but less gross.
Most of the time.

Three likes just then.
Oh man.
Maybe this is poetry.

There! Right there! In just a few very short sentences, my thoughts on verse and its use in novels! Though Rhyme Schemer is brief and many pages contain short poems, the impact is no less than many other novels of 200 pages or more. Holt's novel hits home on motivations behind bullying and how bullies are just as easily affected by bullying as those being bullied (maybe a little confusing, but stick with me here.) Kevin is a bully, but when Robin, the boy he has been messing with, manages to gain leverage against him, Kevin's views on bullying change dramatically over the course of the story.

Kevin is a poet, but his talents are often unfocused and misguided. He also has an incredible talent for finding the poetic in random pages torn from library books (and while my inner librarian and book-lover cringes at the thought, I totally understand and love the purpose behind it all!) Another wonderful part of the narrative are the odes to the ties the principal wears, many of which made me actually laugh out loud (or, LOL, as the cool kids say...)

[Clearing throat noise here] 
O, Principal's tie
You make me want to scream
Because you are the color of
Puked-up Neapolitan ice cream

Mrs. Little is a fabulous secondary character who is both a disciplinarian at times, but also a librarian who nurtures Kevin's creative side in her own way, showing Kevin that there's more to life than one might expect at first glance. Kevin's brothers are important to the story as well, showing what motivates Kevin to bully others before realizing how much worse his own life can get when the tide turns.

Holt's Rhyme Schemer is terrifically relevant, poetic, and hopeful. This book truly embodies what I have come to expect from the wonderful publisher, Chronicle Books. 

Highly Recommended

(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out October 2014)


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