ATWQ “Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?”

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All the Wrong Questions “Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?”

by Lemony Snicket

AR Level 5.5, 7 points

 

Um… what just happened?  Did Lemony Snicket really just leave me hanging like that?  I’d like to subtitle this blog post “What the Heck Did I Just Read?”  Because I’m not really sure.  In true LS fashion, I was left with more questions about the fate of the characters than I had when I started the series.  This is the fourth and final installation of All the Wrong Questions, and the case of the Bombinating Beast came to a close. Or did it?  Most of the story took place on a train headed to the city where all of our questions would be answered and justice would be served.  I wanted to know who had the real statue, who Hangfire really is (I was wondering about a connection between the name Hangfire and the Volunteer FIRE Department aka VFD), whether we would find out what the S stands for in S. Theodora Markson, and if Kit Snicket would be set free.  Some of those questions were answered directly and in some ways, we were left completely confused.  As the final installment, I was hoping for more, but if all of my questions were answered, it wouldn’t have been a Lemony Snicket novel.

What I liked about this book was the usual snarkiness and random connections to elements from A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Ultimately, I wanted to hear about our old friends, and there was a mention of Beatrice and Olaf.  I appreciated that the problem was resolved, but it left me with more questions, and a little confused about what I just read.

What I didn’t like about this book was the death of one of my favorite characters, which I will not name, because I am not a spoiler.  Also, I kind of wanted to throw it across the room when I read the last page.  How dare he leave me hanging!

Book 19 of 40 (year 2)

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ATWQ: Shouldn’t You Be in School?

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ATWQ:  Shouldn’t You Be in School? (hard cover)

by Lemony Snicket

AR Level 5.1, 7 points

This is book 3 of 4 in the All the Wrong Questions series by the greatest author ever, Lemony Snicket.  Okay, he may not be the greatest author ever, but his books make me laugh, induce deep thought (mostly about his characters), and some of his lines, I just have to read over and over again, because they dance on the pages.  This story continues to follow Lemony Snicket and his colleagues in Stain’d by the Sea as they plot against the villain, Hangfire.  This time, Hangfire sets literal fire to buildings, and the children in town are kept drugged in a school across town and forced to help with Hangfire’s schemes.  We meet a few new characters, but most are carried over from the first two books.

What I liked about this book (besides the writing- Snicket really has a way with words!) is that we start to learn more about VFD (Volunteer Fire Department).  I enjoyed reading about the Baudelaires in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and this book excited me, because we start to make connections between the two series.  Obviously, Snicket is the same person, and we know this series takes place many years before the Baudelaires.  However, it was mentioned that Olaf’s name was written on a wall, and a colleague named Josephine appears towards the end.  I ended up reading all of the wikipedia pages on everything VFD-related.

What I didn’t like about this book is that I am not as connected to the characters as I was to the Baudelaires.  I am kept going by the writing and to see how the plot develops, but I don’t feel a connection to characters other than Snicket himself.

My favorite line of the book:  “The sun was having a tantrum so fierce that all the shade had been scared away.”  I love his way with words, I love his wit, and I love the way he teaches vocabulary (snarky as his lessons often are) through his writing.

Book 40 of 52

All the Wrong Questions “When Did You See Her Last?”

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All the Wrong Questions: “When Did You See Her Last?” (hardcover)

by Lemony Snicket

AR Level 5.2, 6 points

In this second novel in the ATWQ series, we follow Lemony Snicket on another mission to solve the mystery in the town of Stain’d By the Sea.  This time, he is looking for a girl who he believes was kidnapped.

I’ll be honest… I procrastinated on blogging about this novel, and it wasn’t all that memorable.  I love Lemony Snicket, but this series isn’t nearly as engaging as ASOUE.

Plus, I borrowed it from a student and had to return it nearly a month ago, the same weekend I read 3 books.

 

Book 10 of 52

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

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File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (hardcover)

by Lemony Snicket

(Too new for an AR quiz!)

This is an addition to the All the Wrong Questions Series, not one of the series of 4.  It is a set of “incidents” Lemony Snicket investigated while in Stain’d By the Sea.  Some of the characters are familiar (because they were in the first book), and some I’d never heard of.  You didn’t have to read the other books of the series to understand this book, but I’m sure it would have helped.  I have read “Who Could That Be At This Hour,” and I plan to pick up “When Did You See Her Last” as soon as summer vacation begins.  His third installment is supposed to be out this September, if I remember correctly.

What I liked about this book was, of course, Snicket’s humor.  I cannot get past his sarcasm and play on words.  His puns keep me rolling, and I’m constantly reading bits and pieces aloud to my husband, who either rolls his eyes or suppresses a chuckle (as not to give me the satisfaction of humoring him).  The fact that there is a company named Ink Inc. and a rocking chair store named Cozy’s (who is is suggested, should sell items like bubble bath, blankets, and pictures of kittens) makes me want more.  I will be the first to admit that I have a fifth grader’s sense of humor.

What I didn’t like about this book was the lack of connectedness.  The only book of short stories I can recall reading is by Edgar Allan Poe, and he didn’t really leave me wanting more.  13 Suspicious Incidents is a series of mysterious events requiring Snicket’s expertise in asking only a question or two to solve the mystery.  It was good, of course, but again, not A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Book 6 of 52

All the Wrong Questions “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

All the Wrong Questions: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

by Lemony Snicket (hardcover)

AR Level 5.5, 6 points

I am a huge fan of Lemony Snicket.  If I had to compare, he would be my Johnny Depp of authors.  Meaning, I’m a fangirl and would probably squeal like a sixth grader at a One Direction concert if I ever actually got to meet him.  Hopefully, if I ever do get the pleasure, I’ll show some restraint as not to embarrass myself TOO much.

I have been recommending A Series of Unfortunate Events to my students for many years.  I usually read “The Bad Beginning” to my class and then let the awesome writing take over, and I don’t see any of my books until the end of the year when they have to turn them in (begrudgingly).  So when I found out (from a former student, no less) that he was coming out with a prequel, I was, of course, excited.

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”  is book one, and the main character is an adolescent Lemony Snicket.  We follow him as he starts out his apprenticeship solving the case of the Bombinating Beast in a town called Stain’d by the Sea.  He proves, of course, to be smarter than his chaperone.  Just like ASOUE, we are left hanging at the end of the novel.  The problem is somewhat resolved, but the villain is still out for the capture, and we look forward to his next chance.

What I loved about this book: Besides Snicket’s wit (the cab drivers work for tips, but instead of money, he gives them book recommendations and bits of advice), his strong adolescent characters (himself, being one of them), and his vocabulary mini-lessons, his use of figurative language makes me want to reread paragraphs over and over to my students just to say, “This is how you use figurative language!”

What I didn’t love about this book: It made me feel a little lonely.  Maybe I’m used to ASOUE where there are 3 orphans to keep each other company.  I felt like his characters are always so well-developed, maybe they just weren’t as “meaty” in this one.  However, that will not deter me from picking up the next book!  I look forward to reading the next book, if I can hold off until this weekend.

BOOK 1 OF 52