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Forty Days (Neima's Ark, #1) by Stephanie…
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Forty Days (Neima's Ark, #1)

by Stephanie Parent

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What would you do if your family had the person who the whole village pegged as crazy? That is Neima’s grandfather, Noah. Noah has been telling people of the end of days for years now and is now putting all his resources into building this ark.

Neima is affected by everybody thinking that her grandfather is crazy. There are some people in the village who won’t even associate with her because of it. It isn’t fair how it doesn’t affect other people in her family like her cousin, Kenaan.

Then Noah calls a family meeting. Neima’s mother thinks it is to announce that Kenaan and she will marry. Neima does not know if she is ready to marry and is worried about the meeting. Noah tells them that the time is come for the great flood and they need to prepare. As if things weren’t bad enough, now Noah wants them to bring in animals to take on the ark with them. That surely isn’t going to win Neima any friends. Good thing she has friends in Jorin and Derya, who don’t bother with what people say about Neima’s family.

Then the rains come. Her family is all in the ark. This includes Kenaan, who she still hasn’t spoken to after the preparations. What will happen between Neima and Kenaan? Will Neima see her friends again?

Everyone has heard of the tale of Noah and the Ark. This story gives a little different spin on it. It is told from the POV of the sixteen year old granddaughter of Noah. When I first started reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about Bill Cosby’s “Noahs” and how comedic they were. I liked that this book thought up of some of the same issues.

I liked how you could tell that Neima was young by the problems that she faced, but they were still relevant to the time period. It is sometimes hard to understand the customs of another time period, especially one that is drastically different than your own. In Forty Days, it was well explained what the social norms were (i.e.: men sleeping in one room and women sleeping in another). I also liked how Parent explained why she wrote things in the way she did. I think that this was important given the sacredness of the story of Noah.

Neima as a protagonist is wavering. She has an ongoing battle with herself on what she wants to say versus what she really says. She doesn't always think inline with what the customs or social norms are. She is just finding her voice in this first book and it will be interesting to see how that develops in Forty Nights.

I only rated this as “like” or 3 stars because it can be a little heavy reading at times. Given the story, it would be difficult to be otherwise. I’m not saying that you cannot just read the story and really like it without all the “heaviness” (history, social norms, etc). I just couldn’t bypass those. All in all, it was a good read and I’m excited to read Forty Nights when it comes out in June.

**I received this book as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review** ( )
  YABReviews | Apr 23, 2013 |
Everyone knows story from the Bible about Noah's Ark. Stephanie Parent in her new series Neima's Ark retells this famous legend from a fresh and new perspective of a sixteen-year-old Neima, Noah's granddaughter. Told from a viewpoint of average teenage girl, process of building the arc seems like everything except an act of faith. Nobody believes in Noah's God and everyone think he is mad. So poor Neima, except usual teenage problems of first crush, low self-confidence and overzealous matchmaking cousins, has to fight against the ridicule of entire village since she is dubbed the madman's granddaughter.

I liked Neima. She is not week, and although she is obedient, as it was custom in those days, she questions her elders and does not just listens blindly. And we both share love for animals. Neima's descriptions of animals that are part of arc's cargo were my favorite part. Not just baby elephants, although they were super cute, but also the tigers, flamingos and the rest. The only flaw that I could find in Neima thinking is irritating cliche of brunettes being dull as mud.

If you are looking for a christian fiction where 'God will give us strength' and 'We must have faith in our lord' are motivational sentences that pop-up on every page - look elsewhere. The only religious talk you will get is from Noah and it is usually regarded with skepticism and disbelief. Forty Days is a realistic retelling of Noah's Ark myth, or at least as realistic as it can get since the rain falls non-stop for forty days.

And don't be fooled by kissy cover. There is a budding romance, but it's not the center of the story, so people who are looking for a lot of steamy kisses and make-out sessions are going to be disappointed. But non-existing sexual content makes Forty Days a book that you can freely recommend to any teenage girl to read.

With a little bit over 120 pages, Forty Days is quick read with cliffhanger ending that will make you check out to see when will Forty Nights, the next part in Neima's Ark series, be released. I really don't know why did they split this into duology I guess it's some illogical decision that only money-making oriented publishers can understand. I personally would have prefered to read this as one book.

So if you are looking for a realistic, historical retelling of a Noah's ark myth with likeable heroine then hurry up and grab Forty Days, since until the end of the blog tour ebook will be available for a promo price of 0.99$. Or you can enter the giveaway below and hope you will get it for free. ;)

I recommend this book to fans of: retellings of historical legends from young adult perspective; coming of age stories; animals; ...

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the blog tour host in exchange for a honest review. This text is also posted on my blog Bookworm Dreams in a little bit more styled edition.
  bookwormdreams | Apr 22, 2013 |
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