ARC (NetGalley) Review: Leave This Song Behind



 It’s been 10 years since the last book in the Teen Ink series Written in the Dirt was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. Leave This Song Behind features the best poetry submitted by those writers to Teen Ink over the last five years.

The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. Teen Ink editors took a deep look into each poem’s strengths then divided Leave This Song Behind into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.

Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!

Product Details (Amazon): 

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (April 26, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757318967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757318962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces



‘Leave This Song Behind’ is an inspired anthology containing at its heart an impressively diverse spectrum of poems. I’d go as far as to wager that there’s something in it for everyone.

For me ‘Write What You Know’ and ‘Fractions’ struck a chord. I could immediately identify with the poetic persona of ‘Write What You Know’ because I too have been struggling for the last year or so with my Pure Mathematics & Statistics class. To put it simply: Mathematics is not my strong suit. I’ve invested countless hours day in day out, week after week, and still flunked the class. As you can imagine the reaction from my academic supervisor and peers was all but understanding, as a result of which their image of me has diminished greatly.

Be that as it may, the academic year as a whole has been fulfilling. I’ve gained ground in debating, Model UN, as well as power point presentations to say nothing of how much I’ve improved in interpersonal relations. As a whole the poem sends the message ‘Stick to what you’re good at and don’t dwell on the things you can’t do’ which is advice that can be appreciated by people of all ages.

With this in mind, when one feels like the poetic persona of ‘Fractions’ that is to say “One third of a person” at 3 AM in the night, the positive mindset embodied within ‘Write What You Know’ can be of use.

In a word, it will be hard to “Leave This Song Behind” as it has had an impact on me that is rather difficult to put into words, but it is always a nice feeling to see the youth invigorated and given an opportunity to voice themselves.



ARC (NetGalley) Review: Barsk – The Elephants’ Graveyard

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (December 29, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765377020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765377029
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

About the Author

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. He’s also one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Klingon language, and the publisher of a speculative fiction small press, Paper Golem. He’s been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, the Hugo Award, and the Nebula Award. Lawrence lives near Philadelphia.


When it comes to Anthromorphic characters, Aslan from Narnia, The Swallow from Happy Prince, Charlotte A. Cavatica from Charlotte’s web among others come to mind. Carrying on the rich tradition is Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard.

The Fant are a species of arboreal Elephants. Barsk is the Fant’s home planet. The topography is laced with archipelagos; I wouldn’t be surprised if Crash Bandicoot was hiding in one of them (allusion to a famous anthromorphic character).

Much like a Buckethead song the excerpt was a Christmas cracker full of emotions. It is the equivalent of Okami and Ico in the world of books.

While some may think that Elephants were meant to be trained for circuses or confined behind bars at zoos for the world to gawk at, others realize that Elephants are empathetic beings who look out for one another. The latter side is captured in this novella.

Unfortunately much like the Fant, the Elephants of our world are being threatened with extinction. Perhaps I am over thinking but I don’t believe Lawrence’s choice to be a mere coincidence. Approximately by 2020 if the current trend continues, African Elephants will be wiped from the face of Earth. Once this proud and intelligent species numbered well above 10 million, and now? Now less than 5% of that figure remains. Food for thought isn’t it?

Imagine just the right blend of Sci-fi and fantasy. In addition, visualize memorable characters, a species struggling to survive when being subjugated by an unassailable alien force. Draw a parallel between the way we as human beings treat animals in the wild and how the Fant are treated, and you’ll have seen a whole new side of Barsk.

Without having to mull over it a kajillion times I can say for certain that this book is one to look out for, so I’d keep my eyes peeled if I were you.



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