Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

Title: The Earthquake Machine
Author: Mary Pauline Lowry
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Authorhouse
Publish Date: September 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a young adult fiction fan.
  • You don't mind heavy topics.
What's the Story?:

From "The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda's world but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda's life is her family's Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.

Determined to find her friend Jesús, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Boquillas, Mexico. There a peyote-addled bartender convinces her she won't be safe traveling alone into the country's interior. So with the bartender's help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús.

Thus begins a wild adventure that explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish, and adult coming-of-age and Young Adult novels."

My Two Cents:

Overall, I liked this book okay. I really felt for the main character, Rhonda. She really defines the idea of lost. She has a pretty bad home life and she is going through the period in time that so many teenagers go through where you're trying to contend with all of the changes you're going through while trying to figure out who you are. It's a really tough period in everyone's life. In most cases, people have someone to guide them through everything that's going on. In Rhonda's case, she really doesn't have anyone. I found myself pulling for her throughout the book. You just really, really want everything to work out even though I found myself a little bit

A couple things that you should know before reading this book:
  •  The cover makes this book look like a fantasy. It's not. 
  • This book covers some pretty heavy topics such as sexuality and may not be appropriate for younger Young Adult readers (the treatment of this subject in the book was not my favorite; I think that it was a lot heavier than it needed to be for a young adult book).
I did really like the setting of the book. Mexico has a special place in my heart (I studied abroad in Central Mexico in college) and I really enjoyed reading about the things that Rhonda got to see and the things she experienced.


  1. I reviewed this one recently as well. My thoughts were very similar to yours. I wouldn't want my 13 year old reading it.

    1. I think it definitely needs some sort of disclaimer.

  2. I haven't read this, but I agree, the cover makes it look like fantasy. It's really interesting though that a YA would treat such a complicated topic!
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. It's definitely an important topic to tackle. I think the issue about YA books is that the audience is a wide variety of ages and this book may not be for younger YA readers.

  3. I have started this but haven't finished it. It just didn't grab me. BUT I have to finish books, so I'll pick it up again at some point.

    1. It definitely was a bit slow at first but once Rhonda really gets into Mexico, it picked up for me.

  4. I have this book from author to read. I liked hearing your thoughts. She did explain to me it was a bit heavier, I am looking forward to reading it soon:D

    Great review:D



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