No spoilers but if you have any interest in this book maybe you should read no reviews. Go in blank. A couple of well-intentioned reviews spoiled a biNo spoilers but if you have any interest in this book maybe you should read no reviews. Go in blank. A couple of well-intentioned reviews spoiled a bit for me. :(
You still here? Ok. I will say that if you, like me, are initially IRKED at the self-conscious MFA-program literary pretty-pretty writing and elusive allusive slidy fancypants language, hang in there. For the first 15 pages I thought the raves the book had been getting were a reflection of people's defensiveness about their love of YA: HEY LOOK HATERS YOUNG ADULT NOVELS CAN BE ALL GARCIA MARQUEZ MEETS FAULKNER!! I thought my fellow gatekeepers were being seduced by pretension and calling it art.
As I read on, though, I changed my mind. Ruby isn't just making word pictures without substance. There are reasons behind every choice, and the book gradually doles out clarity about WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. Yes, it is magical realism, but there is a lot of real-real too, actions and thoughts and conditions that just need authorial interpretation...which Ruby provides in well-timed drips and drabs. There is unpretentious humor and physicality and complicated romance and humanity and excitement. Ultimately I really enjoyed Bone Gap, and wound up liking the slow reveal of the real magic vs the merely magical. To me this is an adult book masquerading as YA (thankfully, since YA generally means a happy ending -- reassuring to look forward to as one is reading some very damn dark stuff here). Among actual young adults, I think the book will be most successful with emo poet-y or folklore-and-mythology-loving types. Also I could done with just one or two fewer bee metaphors. :) ...more
Very different from The Winner's Curse: Less smoldering, more political machinations! Kestrel and Arin are apart for much of the book, so if you're inVery different from The Winner's Curse: Less smoldering, more political machinations! Kestrel and Arin are apart for much of the book, so if you're in it for the soulful glances, move along. In this installment they're both concerned with leadership and optics and playing the long game that true strategists must, to save their respective countries. I loved Kestrel's thoughts about what honor means, and I loved the new wily old actor-advisor Tensen. And WHATTA CLIFFHANGER....more
This book is freaking awesome. A parent and child make blackberry fool in 1710, 1810, 1910 and 2010. It's so minimal and so much.
The text by Emily JenThis book is freaking awesome. A parent and child make blackberry fool in 1710, 1810, 1910 and 2010. It's so minimal and so much.
The text by Emily Jenkins (Toys Go Out, and as E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) shows you the different lives of the dessert-makers -- how they get the cream, the tools they use to whip it, how long it takes, how they keep the bowl cold. The illustrations from Ivy & Bean/Baby Tree/kickass subway poster artist Sophie Blackall let you examine the different costumes, settings and objects in each era. Observant kids will love comparing and contrasting. The back matter is don't-miss -- author and illustrator each talk about their process and why they made the decisions they did (Jenkins points out that she's given you an opportunity to gently talk about slavery, since the 1810 family are slaves who don't even get to eat their own dessert; Blackall talks about how she painted the end-papers with blackberry juice and how she made historical decisions about market-shopping, fashion and footwear).
I loved that the final dessert makers are a dad and son instead of mother and daughter, and the dinner guests include a multiracial family. (And everybody is dressed in Blackall's trademark quirky, detailed awesomeness.) DIVERSITY, PEOPLE. GET IN ON IT.
After Maxie and I read the book, we made the fool. Kids loved it; Maxie was so proud. (And no oven needed! Great summer recipe!) I personally felt it would have been better with a little port or madeira in it, but I understand why this is not in the recipe in a CHILDREN'S BOOK. ...more
LOVED. So imaginative. Set in a world that is like Earth but not Earth, populated by The Others, all kinds of powerful non-human creatures that toleraLOVED. So imaginative. Set in a world that is like Earth but not Earth, populated by The Others, all kinds of powerful non-human creatures that tolerate humans...but the humans are starting to forget that they're merely being tolerated and starting to get uppity. And since this is the first part of a trilogy things are going to go all to hell. (I read the second book too, and loved it too. HURRY UP THIRD BOOK.) Meg is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who sees the future when her skin is cut. There's a whole human industry in keeping girls like her in mental-hospital-like facilities where rich people can come in and pay for slices and visions. She escapes, and winds up in the Lakeside Courtyard, a business district run by a group of Others with some human visitors tolerated. (There's a bookstore, a cafe and a gym where humans can go with permission.) Simon Wolfgard, a werewolf who runs the Courtyard and the bookstore, hires her as Human Liaison, which basically means signing for packages from terrified human deliverymen and supervising mail distribution to the local Others. Meg has spent almost her whole life locked up, nameless, learning only what her captors thought she needed to know from images she's been shown to help her interpret visions. But she's smart and resilient, and she helps Simon deal with Sam, his little nephew who has been stuck in terrified wolf-puppy form, unable to shift since witnessing the murder of his mother. Meanwhile, The Controller, who runs the cassandra sangue industry, is looking for her, and weird outbreaks of crazed aggression and abnormal passiveness are starting to affect both humans and others, and you're gonna finish this and PRAISE JESUS that the NYPL has a downloadable copy of the sequel you can start reading immediately oh wait that's me.
The secondary characters are all fascinating (scary elderly vampire dude! WINTER, a creepy ice skating little girl in white! amoral human foxy actress trying to get her own TV show playing a PI and digging for dirt on Meg for verisimilitude! woodworking bear shifter! kind but savvy cop trying to run interference between humans and Others while keeping his job and not getting eaten!). There's genuine scariness, pathos and humor. This was on PW or Kirkus (I forget's) best books of the year list for 2013, but I only got it recently because it was on super-sale digitally, and I hope it still is because YOU SHOULD SO GET IT. ...more
This was just RIDONKULOUSLY swoony and romantic, and as a former San Franciscan I loved the setting. (I used to live a block from Mission Dolores, theThis was just RIDONKULOUSLY swoony and romantic, and as a former San Franciscan I loved the setting. (I used to live a block from Mission Dolores, the pink church that gave our heroine her name.) I loved it all -- the gay dads, Lola's fabulous outfits, the sullen older hot rocker boyfriend, the lovely adorkable kind cool-nerd inventor boy next door, the boy next door's bitchy ice-skating-queen sister. All the things. The ending was so wonderful and passionate and sweet I am glad I didn't read it as a teenager because it would spoil me for actual human beings for life.
Since I loved this and really liked Isla and the Happily Ever After, now I'm thinking I didn't give Anna and the French Kiss, the first book in the series, enough of a chance. Could be because my friend raved about it so hard I had to be a little regressive-snot bitch and go EH IT'S NOT ALL THAT, or it could be that my AVOWED MISHEGAS about short guys got in the way of my enjoyment. I NEED TO LOOK DEEPLY INSIDE MYSELF. ...more
Tar Beach is one of my favorite children's books. WAY TO BREAK MY HEART, FAITH. Harlem Renaissance Party has great art, as ever, but ohhhh jeez is theTar Beach is one of my favorite children's books. WAY TO BREAK MY HEART, FAITH. Harlem Renaissance Party has great art, as ever, but ohhhh jeez is the text didactic and dreary. ...more
Funny! Eloise parody set in a hotel called The Local which I assume is The Standard. I suspect that downtown NYC children will love it (but uh, I liveFunny! Eloise parody set in a hotel called The Local which I assume is The Standard. I suspect that downtown NYC children will love it (but uh, I live in downtown NYC) -- not sure about other kids. Maybe for Polly Pocket lovers? Or any kid who loves fashion -- the clothes and hipster facial hair and shoes are TO DIE (Ella wears teensy floral Docs).
My Nanny is a man I call him Manny He has tattoos for sleeves He plays the guitar and makes films and knows how to pickle vegetables He might go in with some guys to buy a grilled cheese truck
If this annoys the shit out of you, skip this book.
PS. I was all proud of myself that I spotted Grace Coddington and then OF COURSE I see Paula Willey already pointed her out. DAMMIT. ...more
I've loved the previous installments of this series so much (Hades is my favorite, btw) that this was a huge disappointment. It's a condensed versionI've loved the previous installments of this series so much (Hades is my favorite, btw) that this was a huge disappointment. It's a condensed version of The Iliad -- hats off to the ambition? But it means it is crowded and dense and full of a zillion confusing names and fighting and little characterization compared to previous volumes. I do know that there's an audience for it. ...more
It's as if Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Vermont Country Store had a baby!
This is a weird and gorgeous oversized picture book for older kids and aduIt's as if Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Vermont Country Store had a baby!
This is a weird and gorgeous oversized picture book for older kids and adults. Aviary Wonders Inc. is a venerable catalog that has let you, the customer, build your own bird since 2031! (What with actual birds of course being extinct or nearly so.) It's a subtle warning about environment irresponsibility and a mockery of consumerism, with ravishing illustrations. Funny, creepy and sad. The author thanks David Wiesner (of the brilliant and odd Flotsam, Tuesday and Sector 7 fame), who encouraged her to go into picture books -- you can totally see why. ...more
NEW YORK CITY GRANDMAS, HOLLA! WHERE MY URBAN BUBBES AT?
Love the art, really like the sweet and reassuring story (boy is fearful of the big city, locaNEW YORK CITY GRANDMAS, HOLLA! WHERE MY URBAN BUBBES AT?
Love the art, really like the sweet and reassuring story (boy is fearful of the big city, local grandma helps him feel more confident), psyched to see a competent, independent, modern, styley grandma in a picture book who isn't sitting around telling family stories or making chicken soup.
Also: I love any book that shows water towers! ...more
Love the poetic text and the painless history lesson. Not fair of me to say I wish this had been the actual story of Janet Collins, the first Black baLove the poetic text and the painless history lesson. Not fair of me to say I wish this had been the actual story of Janet Collins, the first Black ballerina to dance onstage at the Metropolitan Opera rather than historical fiction about a little Black girl in the '50s who wants to be a ballerina and sees Collins dance. But there it is. Anyway, it is a lovely lovely book. ...more