I'm still contemplating the ways in which I fit into the first edition. What I appreciate about this second edition is the ability to apply the text tI'm still contemplating the ways in which I fit into the first edition. What I appreciate about this second edition is the ability to apply the text to my current single life, whereas in the first edition, I often felt as if the book was directed towards couples looking to spice up their relationship.
Firstly, it haunts me still, that I have only heard of Condé from the recent call for papers for the upcoming 2013 Medgar Evers National Black WritersFirstly, it haunts me still, that I have only heard of Condé from the recent call for papers for the upcoming 2013 Medgar Evers National Black Writers Conference. Immediately, I had to take a look at anything that was hers translated into English. What a magickal experience it was to read this fictional rendition of this mythic character for whom I have made many a frame of reference, but had not heard this version of her story.
Condé's writing is eloquent, sharp, intriguing, and will grip your heart then wring your eyes into a pool of salt. I was captured most when Tituba was in her homeland and not in the American soil. I don't want to supply any spoilers, but will say that I could not put it down - I read it straight through in three days, then gripped the book once it was completed, and was challenged then, to write my own story, and consider who else's stories needed to be written, or reconsidered.
What art! What imagination! What accuracy! I am still overcome and am tempted to write a paper and respond to the call if for not other reason, than to thank the conference coordinators for erupting in me this seed that has already sprouted a surprising wave of possibility.
And lastly, I must say, I was impressed by the admitted relationship with the character Hester, which made this read all the more delicious; the ancestral connection, or moreso, kinship and communion of ancerstors, the hidden languages, the songs, the poetry in Condé's writing, so many attributes. The only thing I could wish for is that I had it erased from my memory, so that I may read it again....more
There are not many novels that are written for the NYC teens of color about issues of gender. Beam offers us a chance to introduce to teens the compleThere are not many novels that are written for the NYC teens of color about issues of gender. Beam offers us a chance to introduce to teens the complexities of indentity, the ramifications of lying, and the integrity that is built when one is true to oneself.
This is a great read for the student with the hoodie on who sits in the back corner of the library, talking to no one, but always peering with one eye out towards the world, watching, wondering if anyone notices his/her stare. The overweight teen would like this book, often feeling out of touch with his/her body, not wanting to indentify with their outward appearance, wanting to break free of the confines of skin, and yet, learning that there is a process that comes a long with change, and attaining this goal is sometimes met with great difficulty.
I could go on about the points of this book that were surprisingly precious, but do not want to give any spoilers.
Read it, show your friends, and fellow librarians!
Oftentimes, I recommend this title to young people at the library who want something intense, comparable to Sapphire's Push. Young women are often impOftentimes, I recommend this title to young people at the library who want something intense, comparable to Sapphire's Push. Young women are often impressed by the intricate language, yet familiarity in tone. As a Brooklyn resident, and librarian who services many young women from Caribbean families, it is an appropriate recommendation. Also, I recommend this to adults who enter the youth wing, or who have recently aged out, to give them a pipeline novel that bridges their connections with their childhoods, their memories, and their moments of internal dialog about being a young girl in a large domestically appropriated world. This was also one of my favorite reads as a college student, and I will recommend it til I die!...more
Wow, the best thing about Supplee's novel is her ability to format the real lives of success with the beauty of a wonderfully woven fiction dream. I rWow, the best thing about Supplee's novel is her ability to format the real lives of success with the beauty of a wonderfully woven fiction dream. I remember completing this page-turner and perhaps even shedding a tear because the end made me so contemplative and grateful, and so in love once again.. Just in love, and it was a memory. I will re-read this novel, and recommend it to friends as well as young adults looking for something special!...more
Although I am not hugely into Science Fiction, I couldn't put this Lasky down. I swallowed this book in a couple of days, and it resonated with me, thAlthough I am not hugely into Science Fiction, I couldn't put this Lasky down. I swallowed this book in a couple of days, and it resonated with me, this coming of age story, this pleasurable read about ambition, transformation, choice, and possibility.
A very great recommendation for the beginning fantasy reader of all ages....more
I had to read it, because it was a part of the New fiction at BPL's YA fiction wall. Award-winning, and reprinted in English, from French, I was interI had to read it, because it was a part of the New fiction at BPL's YA fiction wall. Award-winning, and reprinted in English, from French, I was interested to see exactly what it would be about, and why it was so well received.
I recommend this book as a gentle interlude to the young girl, stuck inside of her head, and afraid of what to do next. Already half-way through the novel, and you are still questioning the story, still interested in the plot, still invested in the child who seems lonely and on the verge of a breakthrough.
A great read when travelling, on long rides, in deep thought, and before you go to sleep at night....more
A perfect recommendation for a young person coming out and feeling the need for internal community. It may have moved a bit slowly for an advanced reaA perfect recommendation for a young person coming out and feeling the need for internal community. It may have moved a bit slowly for an advanced reader....more
Pemba's Song was a breathtaking triumph of a novel. I really appreciated the simple plot-line and dual story that existed in this title, similar to thPemba's Song was a breathtaking triumph of a novel. I really appreciated the simple plot-line and dual story that existed in this title, similar to the M+O 4evr by Tonya Hegamin, which has a dual narrative, also of a slave.
The life of this young girl felt very close to home with young people from Brooklyn, and could engage young readers on a journey of what life would be like if they had to move away, to the far off land of Connecticut.
Recommended for readers of urban fiction, who are capable of moving outside of the genre, but not sure where to start; also, recommended for readers of historical fiction, as it places history into our everyday lives. I would say the age range could start from 11yrs old....more
The cover girl wears a typical high school kilt in black, mid thigh, with a confidant swagger. She is Lindsay; the first love of our main character anThe cover girl wears a typical high school kilt in black, mid thigh, with a confidant swagger. She is Lindsay; the first love of our main character and Orthodox Jewish, confused and earth-loving teen: Ellisheva Gold (Ellie for short). In this realistic fiction narrative of coming to terms with Spirituality, Sexuality, and Love, Ellie walks us through her day-to-day family squabbles, her need for prayer, and her coming-out. Gravity asks, ‘Can a girl be Jewish, study geology, and love girls too?’ Before Lindsay, the question didn’t even exist for Ellie, but now…...more
Narrated from the perspective of three teenage girls, 13, 15, and 17, all in search of direction, love, and faith, this family drama encapsulates a trNarrated from the perspective of three teenage girls, 13, 15, and 17, all in search of direction, love, and faith, this family drama encapsulates a traditional coming of age story. Set in a fictional Mormon intentional community, the life of polygamists is introduced in three different angles. Celeste, 15, dreams of happiness with a boy her own age, but is set to marry his father instead, Taviana, 17, seeks community and acceptance yet battles her old life of living on the streets, while Nanette, 13, is dedicated to the purity of her faith and can't wait to marry a man and have a baby of her own. Under one roof, and in one small community, three girls find their paths to true happiness. Suitable for ages 14 and up.
My personal thoughts: Unable to put the book down, I read it in a single sitting. Written with superb clarity, Hrdlitschka really delved deeply into the obsessively passionate minds of young girls. After watching Big Love on HBO, I have been interested in intentional communities, plural wives, and what the minds of young women must be when set to marry men the same ages as their fathers. Sister Wife is a wonderfully honest and brave account of the diversity of American life. Overall, I wish that I could read it all over again....more
A Cinderella with a twist of darkness and lore, the characterization of a young girl, family, love, and dAsh was my absolutely favorite read of 2009.
A Cinderella with a twist of darkness and lore, the characterization of a young girl, family, love, and disappointment, left me inside of this world and I think I still haven't found my way out. Since reading Ash, I am desperately seeking that language, that energy, those woods, the doublespeak that Lo so artfully rendered.
As I type this, I am flipping through the pages, and stopping when my fingers have reached their random destination.
Here, a sample: "Impulsively, she went to the horse and held her hand out; the mare sniffed at her empty palm and then looked at her with gleaming brown eyes that seemed to reproach her for not having an apple to share."
This 2nd sentence of Chapter XIII summarizes for me the entirety of the novel as well as the complexity of Malinda Lo's lyrical craft. Ash, driven by impulse, and communicating with beings not like herself, she still reaches, still forges forward, and insists on movement. "she went to the horse" because the horse would not come to her. The richness in action is one that every young girl ought to internalize. In this stage in the novel, there was no need for the reader to doubt that this was Ash's impulse because we have seen her grow.
"the mare sniffed at her empty palm" This is actually a poem, is it not? I visualize this instance, the sniff, or rather, the presence of a large black wet nose pointing towards a small emptiness like an arrow. What could Ash offer, it seems is the question of the novel, of Ash's interaction with her family, her village, her step family, her new love interest, her obsession in the woods.
I bite into my honey crisp apple, and nod at the reproach (or Ash's assumption of reproach) for not having an apple. And what is Ash's response to this mare's stare? Does she cry, does she run away, does she pluck the horse at the tip of its nose and growl back?
Please read the book to find out, because it matters. And Lo is expert in telling the story of death and life and loss and new beginnings in each small description. Each slice of bread, every dance and feast, every walk in the woods is a retelling of something magical. ...more
As most of my friends are on unemployment, underemployed, or “freelancing”, during most worldly encounters, including reading, I have begun to take noAs most of my friends are on unemployment, underemployed, or “freelancing”, during most worldly encounters, including reading, I have begun to take notice to the ways in which folks make money in the world. Now, reading a piece of young adult fiction is less about the contours of a remarkable story, and more about the audacity of its author. Before reading the book’s description and accollades on the back cover or inside jacket, I first go to the author’s bio and study her photograph. Vanity overrides my better judgement: I question her beauty, her smarts in choice of photographer, her boldness for allowing her face to be so mutilated by onlookers like myself, and question her economic well-being as a result of my touching her book. How could I not? For all of my reading pleasures, I must acknowledge that I’m keeping someone employed, that by reading this title, I’m actively not sustaining some other aspiring best-selling author.
This week, I’ve sustained the closely cropped, red-headed Josie Bloss. Her bio sold me, because she left her position in law to relocate to a quiet town, (likely with a cushioned savings account) to write books…really, she is living my dream. The best part, is that she mentions her truest love, BAND, yes, as in marching band. So still, someone as ballsy as her, still has unrelinqished potential. As authors go, Bloss passes my litmus test for worthy-to-be-read, but I still have questions regarding her sexual politics.
An example of what I mean, is that for a young adult novel, I was surprised by the blow-job, but not even a single girl-on-girl grope. I mean, the premise was about band, but the underlying story asked, does she pick the girl, or does she pick the guy. I’m always routing for the girl, of course. And as I read on, I consulted with friends who often teased, “what, does the lesbian die in the end?”
Not your standard contemporary pulp novel, Bloss was able to outline the inner turmoils of the “questioning” generation. Beyond the ultimate question of, what do I do with my life, (which Obama would call a high-class problem to have), when your parents have a trust-fund for you to pick the college of your choice, of course the next question would be, “do I date this even cooler girl?”
Perhaps the novel led me to wonder if I was tired of reading the story from the perspective of the questioning. Contemporary references of Lindsay Lohan aside, I found myself wanting a deeper analysis of character distinction. Although as easy to read as a blog, one-dimensional characters shouldn’t have identity crises beyond what to wear.
I recommend this book to teens who are unsure of which paths to choose. But still, I wonder, are we still in the age of classic pulp, where the dyke dies as she aims to lure the young voluptuous maiden? Plainly, should we continue to endorse young adult novels with lesbian characters, where the questioning girl doesn’t love the lesbian in the end? And I ask this, even with respect to the audacious author who gives us new hope for an employable future.