"Hate is... It's too easy. Love. Love takes courage."
I waited a long time for a new book of Hannah Harrington. After the success of Saving June, I w"Hate is... It's too easy. Love. Love takes courage."
I waited a long time for a new book of Hannah Harrington. After the success of Saving June, I wasn't wheeling, at first, about the plot of Speechless and god knows why. But what a good feeling when your expectation has been surpassed.
Basically Chelsea is best friend with the head-bitch-in-charge of the school and can be consider as a mean girl. Her big issue is she can't keep a secret and has to gossip, a lot. So when at a party she spots two guys making out in a bedroom, Chelsea feels the urge to slip the news. But she couldn't know the consequence: someone almost die. From that she decides to take a vow and hurt no one else with her words. Chelsea's is blackmail by her former friends and she has to get the trust of her new ones.
The worry look on your face when you realize the main character takes a vow and so don't speak. But it's a smart move. Sometimes I'm really fed up about a book in first person, from a girl POV. It's where Speechless is different and intelligent. ¾ of the story is inside Chelsea's head and we only get her thoughts and how she puts herself into question. Not really about conversation, except she has a white board and a pen but that's just for the basics. Then there is the second part of the vow when Chelsea realizes her act is selfish but she needs in another hand the right time. And the right time surprised me as well. Because it's not a book about fluffy teenage gay love but how the characters are part of the fight.
It's not a flashnews, gay characters are more and more part of the YA literature. Especially this past year with books among others The Miseducation of Cameron Post or Ask The Passengers, YA authors feel this need to break the taboo and go so much into the subject that sometimes it gets absolutely ridiculous like it's a trend. The author did in this book something I appreciate, it's not about fluffy gay love but the consequences of human stupidity and the cruel place that is high school.
Books setting in high school, there are tones. And most of them are boring for being half realistic (that's where Courtney Summers is amazing, for bringing such icky subjects). Hannah Harrington is her second book, got a major point (and it could sound stupid) by introducing slang like “fuck/fucking”. Maybe I'm surprised and relief because as much as this word is sort of banished in American entertainment , I'm from a country where it's part of the daily routine. And an author who respects this reality, deserves to be called a “real” YA author and make money on it. The other realistic part are the characters. Recently I read Why We Broke Up (by the way it's a pain in the ass) and every single persons is boring, too-much and full of high school cliché. Maybe that's why readers like, smartass teenagers but at least in Speechless, Asha and Sam are likable for their honesty and simplicity or even Noah, Andy, Dex, Lou, Ms Kinsey.
Whatever, it's a good book with real issues, amazing characters and with a message....more
Through the years it is unavoidable that Prinz Honor author A.S. King is one of the best in the young adult contemporary litera"Equality is obvious."
Through the years it is unavoidable that Prinz Honor author A.S. King is one of the best in the young adult contemporary literature. Some says she is the female John Green but her originality with Ask The Passengers proves again her style is unique.
Astrid Jones likes to lay down on the picnic table in the garden and send her love to the passangers in the planes she caught in the sky. In real life Astrid is an ordinary girl, former new yorker and has a secret relationship with a girl. Except living in a town with small-minded people doesn't help and rumour has it. With an imaginary but famous friend, her first and true love, an untraditional family, Astrid will have to stop lying and be honest with herself and everyone around her.
"- Do you have anything you want to tell us? - No."
Homosexuality. The trendy topic in the ya lit of nowadays. Recently in Speechless, Gone, Gone, Gone and of course The Miseducation of Cameron Post. But the difference in Ask The Passengers isn't that Astrid is afraid of the consequences, of course she is but able to bear it, her main attention is that she isn't even sure what she is. And for her "what" means being in a box and she doesn't want to be a strict definition. Astrid just happens to be a girl who falls in love with another girl. In our society not only coming out is a matter of fact but also the very beginning, to know who we are, and the author got that point. Which is why including this theme with the philosophy spirit was very smart.
"Our little house on Main Street is part of the Unity Valley cave, which has its Unity Valley fire that casts Unity Valley shadows. And Unity Valley is just a cave inside the big American cave that is a huge fire that casts the biggest shadows of all."
You definitely need to know Plato's Cave and Socrates to get this book right. And it's where King's originality appears. Astrid isn't one of these stupid high school girl. Because of what happens around her, to be scared of reactions and being something tangible, she forgets her problems through humanities class and phisolophy. It's not everyday you see a protagonist in the ya lit to take the ancient Greeks very seriously and to implement it in real life. Obviously, the allegory of cave definitely stuck with the idea of homosexuality but globaly, antisemitism. Also having a imaginary friend named Frank Socrates kicks some asses and show up some magical realism-ish into this supposed realistic fiction.
"I sent my love because I didn't need it here."
It's true A.S. King has a tendency to write magical realism books. They don't seem as it at first, then something settle down and makes the plot very creative. Astrid sends her love to people in the sky just not because it's fun and kills the time. The action has a meaning that sounds uncertain at the beginning but love fixes relationships -and not to spoil the ending- the last passanger definitely reminds of Cameron Post.
In the end I've been waiting Ask The Passengers a long time with high excepectations, and disapointment isn't part of my vocabulary for this one. It's simply an amazing story you could fall in love with if you feel yourself as a Socrates....more
A is someone. Not a person, not a spirit, not a girl, not a boy but more a non-gender soul. Every day A change body and this day A is Justin and fall in love with his girlfriend Rhiannon. The next day A decides to be part of Rhiannon's life whenever body he/she is.
Less science-fiction and more magical realism this book, the soul part, reminds me a lot of The Host. This inside struggle to wonder if it's moral or not to own somebody's body and act on its own. Sadly the author didn't go deep into that interesting topic and in contradiction A doesn't want to interfere with someone's life or opinion but at end he/she put informations to Alexander body so he has to love Rhiannon
More serious, and I'm not very surprise that David Levithan is the one to hunderline the sexuality part.
"I'm just me"
Since A changes body everyday he/she cannot be proclaimed as a girl or a boy but more assexual. And that's all the difference with Stephenie Meyer approach of the soul, is the soul doesn't define the sex but the sex defines the soul. But you're wrong if you think the main character is bisexual.
"You're not my type gender-wise, you're certainly my type, person-wise."
This include the concept of pansexuality and from the Oxford English Dictionnary: Pansexual: not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity.
It's where I'm totally lost through the concept of bisexuality. Because at the end you still chose between two genres of a person, it ends up to still be a sex choice. But pansexualiy is more about the soul, the person inside a body, a philosophy from the Greeks. And so far it was my favorite, and only, thing in Every Day.
The third part of the story was absolutely botched. It's like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I said upper about Alexander forced future. But also another character, like A, has been introduced but not explained is the Reverant. We don't know how he deals to stick with the same body, what the concept of the soul, everything you want to know the author presents aren't developped. When you introduce a new idea/thing in your story that wasn't mentioned before from the knowledge of the author you have to developp it, isn't it one of the most important rule for a writer?
On that bad note, there's a lot of thinking after reading this book but it could have been so much better....more
"I am the vaguest of vague hopes of a deflated heart."
Rating Gone, Gone, Gone is like chosing which brand and then which taste of yogurts I'm going t"I am the vaguest of vague hopes of a deflated heart."
Rating Gone, Gone, Gone is like chosing which brand and then which taste of yogurts I'm going to pick up at the supermarket. Even if I had much more conflicted feeling after reading The Storyteller and others but at the end it doesn't matter, and this novel is one of a kind. This book is a rockstar of its genre. What I mean by rockstar is a good kind of outcast, not unique but marginal by its writing, characters and plot. It's just very hard to explain (sigh).
Basically Graig has a traditional family and a stable life but he is lonely. After 9/11 in Washington DC. his boyfriend Cody is gone. After a bulgary in the house all his pets are gone. Meanwhile there is a sniper in the area. And then Lio comes in town. Lio in the opposite is fucked up. His twin brother died, he survived of leukemia, his mother left and therapy is part of his life since his childhood (also his hair is a mess but that's just a detail). But he starts to live when he is around Graig and fall in love for the first time.
The heaviness of this book is unbearable. The main topic that affect both characters is of course the most difficult day of the American history. The presence of the shootings is absolutely not convenient and gives a dark part of the story with everyone terrorized to go outdoor and the cruality of 'so, who's dead today?'. But in the end there is this sarcasm of 'do not die of a cancer' or 'do not get yourself shot' in Graig and Lio emails and that's what I like the most in Hannah Moskowitz work. I know it might sound weird but I laughed so hard at some part of the book. Two of my favourites:
"Oh God I need to shut up because I might be growing a vagina." and "I live to drink up other people's problems and pee them out and probably drink them again..."
And even if the topics involving in this book are hard but social realities it's essentialy about two boys which paths collide in a warm and hopeful story....more