- Review: Desert Rice
- Series: –
- Author: Angela Scott
- No of Pages: 225
- Publication: June 2012 by Evolved Publishing
Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother.
Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.
I was mighty grateful that he covered her up, especially when he said that death made a person look frightful, and that I shouldn’t even attempt to look.
Yeah, no problem there.
“Just do it or I’ll clock you upside your head.” He bent down and placed his hands under her arms to get a good grip. “Grab ‘er feet, and when I say lift, you’d better lift, or else.”
I wanted to tell him to leave me alone, and that just because he was older than me didn’t give him the right to tell me what to do, but his warning look kept me from saying a word. I bent over to take hold of her feet and accidentally breathed in the acidic smell of decay, alcohol, and cheap perfume permeating from the sheet.
Bile burned in my throat, and my eyes stung and began watering. I rolled my shoulders forward when my stomach lurched, but despite my body’s mad attempt to force me to puke my guts out, only dry heaves followed, over and over. It took a while for the waves of nausea to settle, but my head swam in dizziness and my body ached—boy, did I hurt. My legs wobbled and my insides twisted and cramped, but I didn’t throw up. Once the dry heaving stopped, I swiped the back of my hand over my mouth to remove a fine thread of spittle from my lips.
“I’m sorry.” Jacob’s face softened, though he continued to hold onto Mama’s shoulders, letting me know we still needed to move a dead body. “I really am.”
“Whatever.” I gave in, bending and grabbing my dead mama’s ankles. “Let’s do this.”
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So, how do I even begin to tell you how I feel about this book? It’s intense! I mean seriously intense! Here we have two kids, the main characters Jacob and Sam and they are being put, quite literally, through hell. Their mother dies and Jacob who is only 15 has to take care of Sam. You can tell from the very start that they are very poor and I so wanted to just take them under my arm and take care of them.
You don’t get to really know them, there’s just bits and pieces, a few clues strewn about, letting us know what is going on, while they try to survive on their own. It’s not until nearly half way through the book that I really started putting things together. I felt Desert Rice was a little slow in the beginning but mainly because I just couldn’t comprehend what his motives really were without delving more into the story.
Jacob was making choices that I did not understand. He tells Sam that he doesn’t want them separated, that foster home would be the worst place for them, but the situations these two go through is worst than foster homes! And poor Sam being only 12 has to sit there and listen to her brother and do pretty much what he says or he’ll freak out on her. It’s upsetting to say the least! But I am here to tell you, everything comes together before the end! Actually, at about that halfway point when you start to figure out and put the pieces together, that’s when the story really starts to make sense. Jacob’s wild behavior over his sister is erratic but all of his decisions are based on love.
Although Jacob really ticked me off a few times he is a great character, strong and determined. Sam was fabulous although very distraught about having to dress like a boy and with all the rules Jacob kept giving her. It’s hard enough to be a 12 year old girl without all of that extra pressure. My favorite character though is Boone. He’s a really great guy. He wants to support these kids and do something for them even when so many other minor characters didn’t. Some may have gave them a hand but they didn’t DO anything for the kids, such is life. But Boone is really great and as great as he is, even he makes mistakes. Fabulous guy, I wish I knew him!
It’s a great story about very serious, difficult things that love can always overcome. Jacob’s love for his sister is nothing short of amazing. Fabulous but really intense story! I’d definitely recommend to anyone that enjoys Contemporary and can deal with reading some difficult themes.
I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.
I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs. As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.
You can find me at my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a normal person.
Twitter – @whimsywriting
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