Cover Image: Watches and Warnings

Watches and Warnings

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Member Reviews

I was lucky to receive an arc of Watches and Warnings by Ryan Wolf which is a Young Adult written in verse.  It tells the story of Phillip who not only has deal with living in the path tornadoes .  When we meet Phillip we learn that he has an older brother who has a drug problem and this problem is taking over.  I did like Phillip as a character but I did feel that Phillip had suffered with human tornadoes  in his chest and head as he found it difficult to be what his parents and brother wanted  him to be as they were at two different ends of the spectrum.  I did find the book a quick read and enjoyable to a point considering the subject matter so I have to give 3 stars
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Thank you to Netgalley for an ecopy. 

I gave this a two out of five starts. I thought this was very average. I didn’t connect with any of the poems. They weren’t very memorable. I didn’t highlight any lines in these collections.
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This was just alright. It was so short I feel like we didn't get to know any characters on a deep level. The plot didn't really feel like it went anywhere. But the writing was fantastic and it was a quick read. This book also gets major points for being factually correct about tornadoes.

Would I recommend this? Eh, I don't know. I suppose if you just want a quick read that does touch on, but doesn't dive deep, into tough subjects.
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Thank you NetGalley and Publishers for granting me early access to "Watches And Warnings".

I'm currently in the middle of a major move, but I definitely will come back at a later time and write out a full review and rating. Thank you so much!
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Thank you Netgalley for sending me this arc. I will be reviewing this book in the near future with an honest rating and review.
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This packed a punch. I'm not the biggest fan of poetry but I think it worked well for this particular story. It really evoked emotion about Philip's struggles with his family and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Watches and Warnings is a very run of the mill debut. It isn’t bad but there also isn’t anything particularly memorable about it. I was able to read the entire thing in less than an hour. While I wish it had been longer there honestly wasn’t enough of a plot for it to continue.

The author does have a great deal of potential and I’m interested to see what he does next. His use of imagery in several spots was impressive and at times I could “see” what he was saying. I also enjoyed the theme of religious intolerance throughout the story.

This book didn’t feel like a first draft but it also didn’t seem like it should have been the last either. I didn’t see near enough development in any of the characters and the plot wasn’t fleshed out enough. It was mostly just events happening one right after the other without any story flow to it. I wasn’t able to make any sort of emotional connection to the plot or characters whatsoever.

Unfortunately, Watches and Warnings is one that won’t be sticking with me. There wasn’t anything remarkable about it to set it apart. I don’t feel that reading it was a waste of my time but I definitely would have been disappointed if I had spent more than a few dollars on it.
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This is one of those books that makes me feel dumb. 

I feel like I'm dumb because I didn't enjoy it, because I didn't feel emotionally pulled into these characters lives, because the poetic format didn't work for me, because I left the story feeling like I was missing something, or a lot of somethings. 

The story is a sort of slice-of-life following Philip, a 16-year-old boy who helps pay for his brother's heroin addiction, and his family in the days following a tornado touchdown that decimates their small town. There's not much action (though I don't think there needed to be), and we're kind of thrust into this story without much exposition, which I think was probably part of the reason I didn't enjoy it.

Slice-of-life stories work when the characters are compelling. For me, potentially because the verse format doesn't leave much room for explanation, I never felt like I got to know Philip, or his brother, or his parents, or Mariana (who I'm still not sure what her purpose was), and therefore, I had a hard time caring about what was going on in their lives. This is a book full of tragedy and angst, but my cold, dead soul felt NOTHING. 

I'm certainly in the minority with this one. This book has gotten a lot of great early buzz, and I truly don't think it was a bad book. I just....don't think I jive with books in verse and I'm pretty bummed by how meh this was for me.

Trigger and Content Warnings: Natural disasters (tornadoes), death and destruction (including some graphic descriptions), blood and injury, drug (heroin) use, mentions of needles, mentions of overdoses, hospitalization, religion as a coping mechanism
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I could not finish it - I think I was disappointed on the format of the book. It has potential of being a great novel and I thought that is what it would be.
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Watches and Warnings
by Ryan Wolf
This is a quick read that is packed with a punch. At first glance of the cover the title, combined with the tornado, you would think this would be some sort of survival tale taking place when a tornado is coming. It is definitely a survival tale and there is a tornado, but the survival is more than rebuilding after a tornado hits a small town. Philip is the son of two prominent church leaders who are more concerned with their congregation than their own children. Even though Philip is the youngest of two boys, he is often seen as his older, drug-addicted brother’s keeper. Watches and warnings allude, of course, to tornadoes, but the deeper meaning is he and his family should be watching over his brother and seeing the warnings that he has returned to abusing drugs despite what he keeps telling them.  Coming from Vilonia where we have had more than our fair share of tornadoes, this story hit home.  Drug abuse can tear even the most well-meaning families apart. #watchesandwarnings #netgalley
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This is going to be the book I point out as what I want verse novels to be like. This book manages to have strong poetry and lots of plot and subplot. It's absolutely the perfect balance between the two. There is so much stuff packed into this short book and I loved the craft of this book.

The characters are absolutely amazing, and not because they're positive. Most of the side characters have glaring flaws that serve to make them feel more human. The interactions between characters that made drastically different decisions is absolutely fascinating, especially as Phillip tries to balance his wants and desires with what his parents and brother ask of him. I really love Phillip's relationship with Mariana, a girl he meets cleaning up from the tornado. This is a coming of age story that is circular and complete while still leaving open many possibilities for the future.

Overall, this was just a really great read that's quick and easy while covering a lot of ground and many important subjects. It's one of the best verse novels I've ever read, and I definitely recommend checking it out. This type of thing is why I love verse novels in the first place.
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I Received this arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
This book had me hooked from about the second page because it took a minute to get into it but there are some trigger warnings
TW: drug use, death,Natural disaster damage
I wasn’t sure whether to include the trigger warning for natural disaster damage but I know some people who have been really affected by this talk or have been through it themselves so if you’re triggered by this maybe think twice about picking this book up. But I did end up reading this book and one sitting I mean I didn’t even get up from my bed and I’m writing a review at 11 o’clock at night as soon as I finished this book so if that doesn’t tell you anything I don’t know what does. I really enjoyed this book but there were some aspects that shook me A little bit more than I was expecting to be about how the dad acted towards the Sun‘s about how they were I guess not what he raise them to be and he blamed them for that even though I mean I don’t really have a correct way to word it.  So I’m just going to leave it at that
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*recieved on netgalley in return for an honest review* 

Books written in verse are always my favourite, they pack such an emotional punch and this one didn’t disappoint.

Philip grows up in a religious household, his two parents youth pastors, with his brother Victor. Victor currently has a drug problem and is living away, and his family has adopted a Down syndrome child. Hurricanes and tornados are not uncommon where they live, and one tornado changes the course of all their lives.

This book was damn sad. Phillips really torn with his belief system at the moment, he’s supposed to believe in life after death but he’s so stunted by the events of life around him that he didn’t understand how there could be anything peaceful beyond. Death racks his every thoughts and the sudden blackness of it all. Phillip is also worried about his brother, and gives him $20 every week, which is brother obviously spends on drugs. When his family chastised him for this once victor had returned home, damn i felt all the empathy for Phillip. He didn’t want to see his brother struggling and in pain, and the only way Phillip felt he knew how was to fund his drug habit. his parents obviously disagree with that but he’s just a kid, trying to please everyone? 

This book truly showed the power of addiction and how it’s a snake waiting to bite anyone and anything. It shatters that preconceived idea that addiction is a choice, no addiction chooses you and you have to bend. Victors character is desperate and conflicting, it’s so hard to get out off and addiction can make you do horrendous things to get your next hit, even if it’s hurting everyone who loves you - but you need anything to take the pain away. 

The story wrapped up nicely and I’m glad we got to see not only victor get help, but Phillip again some happiness.

Some off my favourite quotes have been 

“Why should be expect anything after death? When the brain crackles off, you lose every memory, every dream of life. We had to make heaven for ourselves here. That was the key” 

“My world is tornados and tar and death no one dodges. Still I see neighbours thanking god they are here” - this one really resonated with me, how there is so many bad things in the world yet people still see the good.

“Life is all around - I just don’t know what to do with it”
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

This book was very, very short, and the formatting was odd. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Still, it read easily and quickly. I am not sure I'd call it a full novel so much as a novella. Phillip's family is dealt a hard blow when a tornado hits their town. With everything it takes, it brings home his older brother, a heroin addict. Will he get clean, or will drugs snuff out his life?
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The cover is fairly simplistic in its design, the blue background to represent the sky with the “twister” or “cyclone” being the main focus which the book plot is about. Though there is also the plot line of Victor and his drug abuse too. The genre’s listed for this book are Poetry, Teens & YA. I am not a great reader of poetry but I read this book and quite enjoyed it. I think it will certainly fit the “reluctant reader” category at schools. Though it will, in my opinion be suitable for older perhaps reluctant, or lower level readers too. I love reading a short book, all in one go sometimes and this one fit that bill perfectly for me.

Sixteen-year-old Philip is the son of two Evangelical youth pastors. He also secretly helps his older brother pay for his heroin addiction. When a massive tornado touches down in their small town, Philip's family becomes heavily involved in the post-disaster clean-up as Philip struggles with the return of his detoxing brother. With his life swept into sudden chaos, Philip grapples with questions that cut him to the core.

The main character is called Philip, a 16 year old boy who works for his neighbour, Mr Gregor, at the weekend to earn himself a little money. Philip’s parents are youth pastors at the local Evangelical church. Philip has an older brother called Victor, but he no longer lives at home as he has a drug addiction problem. Unbeknownst to his parents, Victor has kept in touch with Philip. In fact, Victor regularly meets up with Philip. Philip keeps the meetings secret from his parents knowing that they will not approve. Philip also keeps the amount he receives as wages quiet, as he hands over half of it to his brother, thinking it will help him. 

There’s a severe weather warning so those that can take shelter do, be it in basements, cellars, under a table, wherever they think will keep them safe.
The book goes on talking about the destruction and aftermath of the storm. Philip’s parents of course have obligations to fulfil at their church and obviously go above and beyond to help those less fortunate than themselves. They open their church to those whose houses have been flattened or are no longer habitable because of the storm. Around all this going on, Victor turns up at his parent’s house and they accept him back, but they are determined to help him keep clean and free of drugs. Naturally things don’t go to plan.

Obviously, I liked the main character of Philip, even if he is rather naïve thinking he is helping his brother by giving him money that his brother immediately spends on drugs. On one hand Philip is feeding his brothers habit though on the other by giving Victor money, Philip is preventing Victor stealing or mugging someone for the money to buy drugs.

Whilst Philip is the main character, I also really grew attached to Mr Gregor despite him not being in the book that much. Mr Gregor helps Philip by employing him to help audit and re-arrange his cellar. You could say that Mr Gregor is a prepper, he has plenty of provisions should there be severe weather or in fact some sort of “end of the world” catastrophe. Despite others in the area thinking Mr Gregor a bit strange, Philip gets along with the older man. Mr Gregor is a rather sad, lonely man, having lost most of his family and not ever really getting over it. 

This book is labelled as a Hi-Lo book, which basically means “high interest”, lower (easier) reading level. I think books like this are the way forward to encourage both youngsters to read and for adults who maybe didn’t read so well when they were younger to get more reading practice and gradually a higher reading level. Readers of all ages need to be encouraged, not put off.

To sum up, I did enjoy the book, both its content and styles. It worked really well as a great short story. There was enough going on to hold your interest without there being too much going on to keep track of the book. I will certainly check out other books written by this author in the future.
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Ryan Wolf writes in a way that reaches two of my loves - poetry and young adult literature.  Watches and Warnings is an effective blend of both.
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This book stroke me as a negative of small-town life in the USA.
I liked Philip and I understood his struggles. He has an older brother that he loves so he lets himself be roped into feeding his drug addiction, he has two parents that are good people but who love for God supersedes their love for their neighbor and that care more about feeling good about their good deeds than doing them and on top of that Philip is sixteen and his own thoughts and beliefs are starting to clash with the life that his parents force him to live.
When the storm hits Uktena, there is an opportunity for people to show their small town spirit and help their community in the rebuilding effort but also to let themselves be swallowed by the disaster and show the ugliest parts of themselves.
I liked that one of the big themes in this book was also religious intolerance with Philip's two parents being youth pastors yet being completely dismissive or even insulting to anyone having another set of beliefs, no matter how similar to their own.
This is another very short story told in verse that is the perfect read no matter where you are or what you are doing. The characters are complex and easily recognizable from our own lives, the theme is real and it is a story that stays with us even after it ends.
Thank you to NetGalley and West 44 Books for this ARC.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this title. Sometimes, I lose connections with verse-style fiction, but this one had a few real gems of poetic beauty. In a few of the sections, I focused more on the poetic style rather than the story line. I really enjoyed the sparseness of it all--a beautiful complement to such an ugly, difficult topic. I'd love to introduce this title to those who've enjoyed Ellen Hopkins' works.
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This one fell flat for me. I was a little confused and it was harder for me to finish. I think it was a good concept it just didn’t work for me.
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