Beautiful descriptions, but I finished the book with a general sense of discomfort and dissatisfaction. This retelling might reflect the weaknesses ofBeautiful descriptions, but I finished the book with a general sense of discomfort and dissatisfaction. This retelling might reflect the weaknesses of the original tale, but I'm not sure it goes as far as to turn those weaknesses into strengths on its own.
(And I wasn't impressed to find that it's the first book in a series either.)...more
Tell Me More:A is someone for whom distance is key--life itself depends on remaining an observer, never getting too close and staying under the radar.Tell Me More: A is someone for whom distance is key--life itself depends on remaining an observer, never getting too close and staying under the radar. But while the concept behind A's life might be fascinating, I never once felt emotionally compelled by it or invested in the story. In some ways, the distance necessary to understand the changes A experiences also made it difficult for me to love the story. In fact, it was precisely this distance that gave me reasons to dislike it.
Objectively speaking, Every Day is a well-written novel. The writing is as impeccable as I've come to expect from David Levithan, and the themes he choose to highlight are thought-provoking as always. His use of language was particularly intense in a chapter where A wakes up as a drug addict. It was stark and raw, bleedingly so, and it reflects the experience of losing oneself as eloquently as anyone could probably put it.
Where the story failed to hook me was the romance between A & Rhiannon, which was really the only thing that ever motivated A during the entire novel. I felt like I was being told that A loved her more than I could actually feel it. Rhiannon's ordinariness may have drawn A to her, but it didn't draw me in. And as the book went on, I grew more and more uncomfortable with how A pursued her, recklessly endangering every host he entered after Justin (Rhiannon's boyfriend). I could probably understand A finding an opportunity to talk to her if the host that day attended the same school, or if A saw her on the street, but driving hours away to a party? Lying unnecessarily and messing with the lives of the people A enters? Certainly, A did not mean any harm. But that line comes very close to what most stalkers say, and I was disturbed by how it felt like I should be cheering A on.
If what Levithan meant to do was illustrate the tangled threads of obsession and infatuation and how they can chip away at a person's soul, then he succeeded. But as much as I can appreciate the technical beauty of the prose, A is not a protagonist that I felt comfortable getting to know, and the story left me feeling as though I'd been taken for a ride and left out in the desert to fend for myself, without any sort of real closure.
The Final Say:Every Day is a novel that will make you reconsider the people you pass every day on the street, the friends you know and the relationships you have in a new light, though it doesn't quite manage to say anything concrete about those new perspectives other than that you should have them.
Tell Me More:Stories of the fae are often tied to IrYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Source: ARC received from publisher
Tell Me More: Stories of the fae are often tied to Irish and Scottish roots, and take place in the city or rural areas. Not so with Sarah Zettel'sDust Girl, where the Dust Bowl dictates what it wants to do with the people that live in its sphere. Helpless as Callie is against the dust storms, it was satisfying to find that nothing could smother her spirit and her story.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Dust Girl when I began reading it. The premise felt shaky and vague, and to my knowledge, there has never been a story like this before. To top it all off, Callie wasn't the usual Caucasian protagonist of a fae story. Just enough focus was placed on her skin colour and heritage to allow readers to know her, but her race never became a stereotype. Zettel pinpoints the parts of Callie that need to be shown to readers, and lets them discover the rest on their own. That faith pays off, because Callie is such an interesting, layered character by herself. Zettel surrounds here with other fascinating creatures and people, and the dynamics are not only beautiful, but also fun to see.
Dust Girl is a book that lends itself to storytelling. Adding the unique cadence of 1930s America only serves to improve the flow of the story--the dialogue feels natural enough to read lines aloud, and the action is snappy and electric. I personally would love to hear the audiobook for this novel, because it's just that compelling. It's easy to feel the suspense Zettel writes into every event, and the development of the plot is organic, drawing from little clues spread throughout the book. The creative touches Zettel inserts into her fae mythology are refreshing enough to make me want to reread the book again and again, in addition to looking up the inspiration for her creatures. Then again, they're also terrifying enough to have me backing away very very slowly--a hallmark of a truly excellent and imaginative writer.
The Final Say: Sarah Zettel delivers an arresting story in Dust Girl, with characters that stay in one's mind long after the pages have been turned.
Tell Me More:No single story in sea mytholYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Source: Finished copy received from publisher
Tell Me More: No single story in sea mythology has fascinated me as deeply as that of the selkie. Ireland is rife with tales of seal women emerging from the waves and ensnaring the hearts of men for centuries, but make no mistake: there are almost never any happy endings. The selkie woman is an unpredictable creature, and it is only through deception that a man can keep her. If she finds her skin, she will return to the sea without another thought for the man or any children she might have. Margo Lanagan takes these legends and breathes life into them in the stunning Brides of Rollrock Island.
Each of the stories in this book is peculiar, and the average YA reader may not find it easy to follow the weaving writing styles that Lanagan employs. If you want to know more about the titular brides, you have to work for every observation, every tiny bubble of information scattered throughout the various conversations in each chapter. It will be frustrating, and I would not be surprised if readers gave up and just tried to read the last chapter to figure everything out. But if they stick with it? A tale unlike any other will reward them for their patience and trust in Lanagan's ability.
The novel opens with a a group of boys observing the "witch" Misskaella along the seashore. It's not clear if they really think she has supernatural powers or if they are simply repeating town gossip. Within the first few paragraphs, Lanagan sets up an "us-versus-them" mentality among the island's inhabitants, but the reader is never pressured into choosing sides. Indeed, the novel relies on the use of varying perspectives to flesh out the entire story and allow the reader to make their own conclusions.
As I was familiar with the selkie stories of the Orkney Islands before reading this book, I didn't have to do as much work to understand the hints Lanagan drops about Misskaella's true nature. She isn't the main focus of the story, but she does influence everything that happens, and I appreciated having such an unpredictable and intelligent female presence in the story.
It is the women who shine in Rollrock--they are far more dynamic and alive than the men. While on the surface, it seems as though the men of Rollrock are taking advantage of Misskaella and the selkies, the tables are turned very quickly. Every man grows to fear their wives' return to the sea. Their young sons are torn between love for their ethereal mothers and respect for their fathers' wishes. The Brides of Rollrock Island is a love letter to women in all forms, and it speaks to the myriad ways in which women are still overlooked in many parts of the world.
The Final Say: Margo Lanagan has written a fantastic, lush and utterly enchanting novel that deserves to be recognized alongside Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Jeanette Winterson's The Passion.
Release Date:February 14, 2012 Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House) PaYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: February 14, 2012 Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House) Pages: 272 Format: Hardcover Source: E-ARC on NetGalley
Tell Me More: I don't know if you can tell, but I freely admit that I'm drawn to stories about art and the people that pursue it. Whether it's highly praised classical music or rough sketches of landscapes, I believe that art is a reflection of the person who chooses it, and the way that they see themselves.
Glass is fragile. Everyone knows it, and we all turn into cautious tiptoers when surrounded by glass. But Lucy is a glassworker, and a talented one at that. I loved that she values her work and doesn't just see it as an after-school chore. Her choice of artistic output is interesting to me because it reflects her own state of mind. She sees beauty in uncertainty (you never know what a piece of glass might become), and she is willing to go through fire to find it (as in her quest to find Shadow). She is unpredictable and smart, and she knows what she wants out of life. To me, she is the perfect compliment for Shadow's desire for something real to hold on to.
The night that Lucy spends searching for Shadow is vibrant, absolutely pulsing with laughter and life. Australian authors seem to have a knack for creating casts of characters that are so very real. If Jazz, Poet, Daisy and Dylan walked into my house right now and asked me to hang out with them, I wouldn't think twice. And oh, to spend a night wandering around Melbourne (or any city, really) with Ed. They are brilliant and colourful and just the right characters to populate a story of wonder, risks and love.
That's Not All:
> I'm hoping that maybe a paperback release will have illustrations of Shadow's art. It seems a shame to have such gorgeous descriptions and not be able to see the real thing.
The Final Say: Take a risk and find love with Cath Crowley's breathtaking Graffiti Moon, and a whole host of characters who will welcome you no matter what you dream of. ...more