The Pages of REd Diamond
Hazel is your average 15-year-old, except at school everyone sees her as perfect, pretty, and popular. Maybe her life is perfect... except that people judge her too quickly, her money-mad parents (now divorced) could care less about her opinions, and her so-called "friends" at school are so makeup-addicted they spread lipstick on their foreheads to "make up" their minds. But there is a place -- a magical place -- where she is able to show her true self, and that's Red Diamond. Who knew that books could literally take you to another world? But what happens when Hazel's friends in this precious haven are put in danger?
The Pages of Red Diamond was certainly an entertaining read, with its fantastical worlds, its high-tech gadgets, and its relatable characters. However, there were few elements I did not appreciate as much. This is a good novel, but with a little touching up I think it could have been better.
Remember The Magic Tree House series? Gabriella's story is a modern, tween-aged take on that. The main character, Hazel, is able to get to Red Diamond by using a magic book her father gave to her, thinking it was just a normal journal. Red Diamond is like any normal city, only there, Hazel is a hero. There are fancy gadgets that Hazel's genius friend, Calvin, invents for her to punish the baddies and protect the innocent. I think these gadgets should've been named; it would enhance the sci-fi elements of this story. It's just "this" gadget and "that" gadget. If the inventions were named, the story would have been more genuine. Often, Hazel's gadgets come out of nowhere, so I think it was a bit fast-paced.
You can find the characters of The Pages of Red Diamond anywhere in your own world. There are always those egotistical popular girls (the J girls); there's always those best friends you tell everything to (Amber and Calvin); then there's that one girl, who stays safe and confident by conforming to society. In this story's case, that girl is Hazel, which makes her easy to relate to. In the beginning of the story, however, I felt that Hazel's character was not as rounded. She seemed a bit too perfect. I mean, perfect grades, perfect looks, very athletic? It would be more real if she had at least one flaw. Nearing the middle, I think Hazel's true character became evident. I could sense her insecurity, her anger, her sadness. Her feelings became my feelings.
Though Gabriella's novel was well-written and had excellent word choice, there was some inconsistency that confused me. The J girls' names were sometimes altered, two or three characters had the same name, and there were also many noticeable grammatical and spelling errors. Though some writers are not as meticulous as others, I consider spelling and grammar the bases of good writing. You can be a brilliant writer, but if you misspell words or if you leave out punctuation marks, it may be difficult to get the point of your story across.
Gabriella's story was not perfect, but it was definitely a fun, easy read with a happy ending and a good message: never be afraid to be yourself. The Pages of Red Diamond is perfect for tween SmartGirls, or just anyone who wants a coming-of-age story that deals with divorce, friendship, and everyday life with an imaginative twist. Great job, Gabriella!
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