I first heard about AUDITION when Stasia and I toured together with Stages on Pages. After listening to Stasia speak so eloquently and passionately abI first heard about AUDITION when Stasia and I toured together with Stages on Pages. After listening to Stasia speak so eloquently and passionately about dance (she's been a dancer since about the time she learned how to walk) I knew I needed to read this novel.
Still, I'm not going to lie: reading a novel in verse kind of scared the hell out of me.
But I was surprised. After about four of five pages, my brain had adapted to the style and the cadence of the verse (kind of like how when I read books in first person present and think, "I'll never get used to this!" and then about two pages into it I'm not even noticing what tense it's in anymore...) I think a huge reason for the easy adaptability to the style is Stasia's mastery with it. There's a cadence to the words, to the scenes, to the dialogue, and that consistency really helped me get into the groove. There's also a particular intensity in the verse style that added so much to this story, mimicking the unreal stress faced by an aspiring artist living in a high-pressure environment far from home.
It's impressive when any author can establish a strong character voice, and the fact that Stasia does so with so fewer words than most of us kind of blew my mind. Sara is a fierce heroine: smart and driven, fearless and unsure at the same time. I totally internalized Sara's struggles with fitting in, establishing her presence at a new school both socially and as a dancer, and of course the central romance of the novel, her relationship with an older choreographer.
Remington is the kind of bad boy I'd have fallen for myself (er, or did fall for...several times...) He's a brilliant artist, and his medium compliments her own which gives their romance a passionate spark. And yet the romance isn't all-consuming and in the end, serves as a catalyst for Sara to figure out what it is she really, truly wants.
As a performing artist, I fell hard for this book. But I believe it speaks to the inner "confused teen" in all of us. Don't let the verse scare you - AUDITION is a must read....more
Let me start off, in the spirit of full disclosure, by saying that Jessica and I go way back. Way back. Way, way back. The kind of way back *cough*freLet me start off, in the spirit of full disclosure, by saying that Jessica and I go way back. Way back. Way, way back. The kind of way back *cough*freshmen year of college*cough* that knows where the bodies are buried...
That said, even if I didn't know Jessica personally, the international success of her and Heather's celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself, a snarkilicious guilty pleasure of over four million readers a month, plus the Fug Girls' front row presence at every fashion week from New York to Paris would make this novel a must read for me. I expected glamor and parody and wit and angst all wrapped up in a sushi roll of celebrity encounters and A-list locales.
And the girls knocked it out of the park.
Now SPOILED could very easily have been just another entry in the Clueless-slash-Mean Girls-meets-Princess Diaries genre and on the surface that's what it seems: after her mother's death, unassuming, Midwestern every girl Molly discovers her biological father is the hottest action star in Hollywood and moves out to live in his mansion with the half-sister she never knew existed, the rich, popular (and bitterly resentful of Molly) Brooke. And I would have been perfectly okay with that trope, people. Trust me, there's a reason Cinderella stories work. But SPOILED is actually so much more than that, it caught me off guard.
First off, the book isn't told from Molly's point-of-view, but instead alternates between Brooke and Molly, giving us insight into both sisters. Secondly - and perhaps the most disarming thing of all - I'm not entirely sure Molly is the heroine of this novel Because for me, the character I loved most... was Brooke.
I know, right? The spoiled mean girl? The privileged celebutante? ME?
Yep. Absolutely. 100%. And here's why - Jessica and Heather have humanized Brooke so much that despite some of the heartless, back-biting crap she pulls in the book, I couldn't help but root for her.
I fell in love with Brooke right from the get-go: we learn in the first scene how Brooke has been abandoned by both of her parents - the one she lives with AND the one she doesn't. Suddenly all of her passive-agressive actions are justified. Er, well, most of them. And I found myself loving Brooke's narrative despite myself.
Yes, I'm dramatic like that. Sue me.
SPOILED has been described as "the perfect beach read" and while I personally don't see that as a slight, I think it does the book a disservice. It's so much more than a bit of fluff, so much deeper (albeit obscured under a delightful layer of name-dropping snark and modern LA pop references) than your average YA chick lit that I found myself thinking about these characters well after I read the last page.
Oh yes. Sidenote. In a book filled with fake movie and TV show titles, I must say that Tequila Mockingbird might be the best fake title ever thought up. Ever. In the history of the freaking world.
I love spy fiction. I love early 20th Century fiction. So the Richard Hannay novels of John Buchan were a no brainer. The Thirty-Nine Steps is the mosI love spy fiction. I love early 20th Century fiction. So the Richard Hannay novels of John Buchan were a no brainer. The Thirty-Nine Steps is the most well-known, and justifiably so, but Greenmantle is his masterpiece. If you like Tom Clancy, if you can't get enough John Le Carre, run out and read these novels because John Buchan started it all....more
Wow. I ripped through this mystery in one day. It was one of the best mysteriers I've ever read (though be advised that I am partial to anything set iWow. I ripped through this mystery in one day. It was one of the best mysteriers I've ever read (though be advised that I am partial to anything set in pre-WWII Europe). If you are a Christie/Sayers fan, this one is a must....more
Fascinating volume capturing the oral history of Ireland. All transcriptions of recordings made by Eddie Lenihan over the last 25 years, preserving aFascinating volume capturing the oral history of Ireland. All transcriptions of recordings made by Eddie Lenihan over the last 25 years, preserving a rapidly vanishing piece of Irish culture....more