Explicit, daring, fun, shocking, sweet. Edith is my hands-down favourite (so haunting and tender), but every story in this slim novel is just fantastiExplicit, daring, fun, shocking, sweet. Edith is my hands-down favourite (so haunting and tender), but every story in this slim novel is just fantastic and totally worth your time. Joey Comeau's writing is the kind of realistic and honest that never falters, which is why I will read everything he writes and why I so look forward to reading his stuff.
Also I really love the way these books are designed! This one and Bible Camp Bloodbath look nice on my bookshelf next to each other. These things matter....more
There is something mildly disturbing about the fact that I read this book with a huge grin on my face, LOLing throughout, BUT I"Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"
There is something mildly disturbing about the fact that I read this book with a huge grin on my face, LOLing throughout, BUT I totally cried at the end, all sucker-punched, so I'm not going to worry about myself too much.
Also I seem to have this blanket acceptance of whatever realities Joey Comeau presents because his delivery is so matter-of-fact and unpretentious and trusting of its reader, which is nice because then I get to read without this huge layer of cynicism over my eyes that I seem to read everything with lately. I just dig his style and how he puts words together! Each of his books are accessible and bold and risky and very honest. And there's no navel-gazing which is like, "yeah!" His stuff is wry, funny, thoughtful, sincere and heartfelt. Just GOOD! Everybody should be reading his stuff. Bible Camp Bloodbath is no exception.
I gotta say the bloodbath was pretty amazing. There's a lot of joy in those passages, or at least I got that vibe. Like when you watch a movie and you can tell everyone is enjoying themselves--director, actors, the dude with the boom mike etc. Every time a camper died my face was doing that incredulous grin that is also part horrified oh-my-God-am-I-grinning at this?! thing the whole time. You know, the one that is like:
D: :D D: :D D: :D
And then you get to the end and you're reminded of how human the people involved are and how objectively, it's all pretty tragic.
So I've only owned this book a day and I can't stop holding it up to the light and watching the title flash at me. SHINY!
Joey Comeau is one of my favoSo I've only owned this book a day and I can't stop holding it up to the light and watching the title flash at me. SHINY!
Joey Comeau is one of my favourite living writers today and One Bloody Thing After Another is my favourite of all of his books. I didn't think anything was going to displace Lockpick Pornography but I was wrong. This is amaaaazing. Wait it doesn't feel right to type that not in capitals. This is AMAAAZING. It's got zombies! Ghosts! Death! Sexuality! And coming of age elements that made me cry! The way it all came together was so satisfying and perfect. I can't even tell you what it's about because I tried to describe it to like three different people today and there is so much going on and I just can't do the story justice but I will tell you that it is worth your time. It's dark and funny and sad and and crazy and awesome.
Anyway, one of my favourite things about Joey's writing is that it so understands, well--people! He just gets secrets and longing. He writes about the stuff you're afraid to say out loud but maybe it's not so bad to say out loud but you just can't bring yourself to say it out loud--even if it would set you free--and then he wraps it up in total want and longing and it is impossible not to connect to it in big ways and small ones. And then he sets all those secrets and longing in these fantastical, strange and unsettling, practically impossible situations and presents them in a way that makes them NOT SEEM IMPOSSIBLE! I fucking love that. I mean it is a story about zombies and ghosts and it never seems out of reach. It's like, "Aah! It's my next door neighbor! No wait, oh my God, it's ME!" That type of feeling! And that is a crazy writing magic all its own. And it is just very genuine and sincere. I believe in it! And it's clever and sharp.
What else. OH! I love the way Jackie was violent. I thought it was fantastic. Actually that is one of my favourite things about Joey's writing--the way his characters are violent and the way they internalize/process that violence, how it comes out, how they react, how they justify it. It's got all the exhileration behind it, but it's so thoughtful too and that makes it so so good. The writing style itself is just yeah. I said it before and I'll say it again--Joey Comeau does not waste a word. I can't wait for his next book. And now that I am finished with this one I just want to pick it up and read it all over again....more
I picked this up last night and got about 50 pages in before I reluctantly put it down, so I could sleep, and then I woke up and finished it before II picked this up last night and got about 50 pages in before I reluctantly put it down, so I could sleep, and then I woke up and finished it before I physically got up to drink coffee. Reading before coffee! It's possible to do that, you know. I wouldn't have believed it before today. I am now living proof.
ANYWAY. Overqualified is a novel told in cover letters (if you're a fan of A Softer World, yer probably no stranger to Overqualified), by a dude named--oddly enough!-- Joey Comeau. BUT! It is not just a compilation of cover letters. There is a running narrative of grief and love and identity throughout. And it is presented in a grim, tongue-in-cheek, smart, sharp and whimsical, sorta nostalgic way that makes it hard to stop thinking about after you close the last page.
Mostly it is bleak and hilarious and heartbreaking.
Joey Comeau is a great writer. He does not waste a word. ...more
There was so much I admired in her extraordinary debut, I Know It's Over (I loved that bookWow, okay. I loved this book.
C.K. Kelly Martin is amazing.
There was so much I admired in her extraordinary debut, I Know It's Over (I loved that book too); Martin managed to bridge the distance between me and a type of story I have never truly been interested in (teen pregnancy) and made me invested, made me care. I may not have been able to relate directly to Nick's experiences, but by the end of them, I was so tangled up in his heartache I was sure I understood exactly what he was going through. No easy feat. Post-I Know It's Over, I had much emotional rebuilding to do while also basking in that overwhelmingly satisfying feeling that comes after a Good Read (see what I did there).
So needless to say, I've been going crazy waiting for One Lonely Degree ever since. I couldn't wait to see what was in store for these new characters, this new story. To see if I would get tangled up in it and come away moved and inspired.
I am happy to report that I did.
In short: the woman done did it again.
In long: I don't want to summarize the book because that is just going to waste space I want to use to talk about how I felt about it!!! When I cracked open One Lonely Degree, Finn's voice instantly swept me away. And it made me uncomfortable. Why? Because she was exactly the same kind of raw and angry and cynical I was at that age. I have been Finn, y'all. Although our life experiences differ (I did have a Record Story Guy at that age, though... Oh, Billy, where are you now?), we were total High School Attitude twins. Similar chips on the shoulder. Same kind of resistance to change. Same kind of coping mechanisms. Same kind of dependencies on other people. It gave me an instant gut response that I can't quite shake now, even after closing the last page. It just really got to me in a way that made it impossible for me to put this book down for long periods at a time.
And at the same time that I've been Finn, I've also known Finn. Her codependency on her best friends, while generally justifiable, also exhausted me on their behalf. I was relieved for Audrey and Finn when Audrey left for the summer because as much as I admired the support system and small world they had created for each other, they needed that space to grow. Finn needed to be more assertive and an active participant in her surroundings and Audrey needed a break. I also can't see their friendship evolving any other way but the way Martin has laid it out in these pages. There's a certain sad nostalgia in their arc that makes me feel lonely for all the friends I have had and distanced from in various ways, these people you need for a time that help and change you forever, but that you maybe can't have forever. It's hard to describe, but I think we all have these friendships... I'm still thinking about their dynamic. It was just so honest and it really got to me too.
I thought Jersy was a fantastic male lead as well. A listener, an observer, relaxed, engaging, taking the cards he's given with the kind of ease that makes me understand why Finn was so drawn to him. The relationship Finn had with Jersy was so charged and electric (I really wanted them to be together) and they dealt with their situation with utmost, well, reality.
Reality. That is one of my favourite things about Martin's writing--it's highly realistic YA fiction. A pulls-no-punches slice of real life with a conclusion that made me sigh in a good way, it was so fitting. I don't think teenagers will have to look too hard to find themselves in these pages. I'm not a teenager anymore and I saw myself and it's still making me go, WOW THIS BOOK THIS BOOK YOU GUYS READ THIS BOOK on the inside.
At its core, One Lonely Degree is novel about change, dealing with/adapting to it (or not) and surviving it. Holding things close, keeping them, understanding them, letting them go. Taking what's left. I think most of us have complicated relationships with change and I think the topic is delved into beautifully in this book. I just--it GOT me. I'm gettin' all knotty in the throat trying to express just how much. Martin knows how to pinpoint certain emotional truths and explores them in this incredible prose that makes the writer in me incredibly jealous.
I loved this book, okay.
edit: Wait, I just realized this book's song equivalent is Regina Spektor's On the Radio!!!! So if you get that song, you will GET THIS BOOK. Now I love it even more.
And thus my week of reading awesome books concludes with C.K. Kelly Martin's fantastic debut, I Know It's Over. And it. Was. Awesome. After reading LaAnd thus my week of reading awesome books concludes with C.K. Kelly Martin's fantastic debut, I Know It's Over. And it. Was. Awesome. After reading Lacey's GoodReads review, I picked it up and was prepared to be totally heartbroken. I might have even been looking forward to it, because I am a Canadian and that's how we are. Or at least that is how I am. I like a good heartbreaking story (it's usually the happy ones that freak me out).
Anyway, as much as I thought I was prepared for this book, I totally wasn't. It doesn't just break your heart--that's putting it too mildly--this book will rip your heart out of your chest and then dry ice it and then smash it into smithereens and then direct you to the cupboard where the glue is so you can then begin the process of pasting the pieces of your old heart into a NEW heart.
The good news: it's so worth it.
I Know It's Over is a book about a teenage guy named Nick and his intense, all-consuming relationship with a girl named Sasha. The two are so full of each other they can hardly breathe. When they break up, Sasha citing a need for space, Nick is devastated. It's not what he wants and he struggles to understand how it's something she could. And then Sasha comes back--not to tell Nick she wants to get back together... but to tell him she's pregnant. Together but not, they must figure out what to do, how to cope and how to continue after the decision is made.
This is one YA novel that really impressed me (and also gave me chest pains with its amazingness, as mentioned above). It tackles some big issues--teen pregnancy, sex, sexuality--but never once feels like an Issue Book. I mean, Degrassi is fun to watch, but it wouldn't be that fun to read (unless it's a Degrassi book--we all know that'd be awesome). Martin never once goes for a melodramatic or heavy-handed approach, nor does she have an agenda, which is sure to make people on either side of the fence mad.
Nick is one of the most memorable male protagonists I've read in a long time. His observations are candid and devastating. He's a frustrated, 16-year-old guy, struggling with his own perceptions of himself and other people's perceptions of him. Martin drives home the fact that it's tough just to be a teenager, let alone one that is about to go through the things that Nick goes through. Martin is also excellent at taking down walls between characters, both major and minor ones, and the reader. If you don't know these people, you will know them. I think that familiarity is especially important, considering the book's subject matter.
The writing is frank, brutal, beautiful and emotionally confrontational. I'm sure it'll force people to ask questions they don't want to ask. After reading I Know It's Over, I'm convinced there's nothing Martin won't say and that's good. That's what I want on my YA shelf. That's what I want on EVERY YA shelf....more