I wish I could write like David Levithan. This is a fantastic book of Y.A. short stories about love. Good, bad,ugly, indifferent, redemptive. Lesbian,I wish I could write like David Levithan. This is a fantastic book of Y.A. short stories about love. Good, bad,ugly, indifferent, redemptive. Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Queer, and straight. Most of the stories feature teenage or college protagonists, but one or two are about older couples.
The writing really captures the open-hearted, self-conscious, obsessive, un-selfaware, romantic yet cynical quality of the teenage voice. Most of the stories have a hopeful optimism to them in the end, but despite that there's bitter-sweet sadness to much of the writing. It infuses the interior space of the characters adults and teenagers alike, all aching to be whole, to be truly heard and felt and understood. And who cannot relate to that?
There are some repeating themes: proms, and unlikely cupids, first meetings, coincidences. Nearly all the stories are great, but Starbucks Boy, The Alumni Interview, and The Good Witch, stood out for me. And my absolute favourites, the two that made me cry big time, were: Princes and The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes. The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes in particular took a really startling and beautiful turn in the second half of what was already a great story.
I loved this. A great piece of middle grade scifi. So much imagination in the situations and settings which are beautiful illustrated by the author, iI loved this. A great piece of middle grade scifi. So much imagination in the situations and settings which are beautiful illustrated by the author, in a cartoony style in this gorgeously designed book.
It had flavours of both Star Wars and Princess Mononoke with its amoebic aliens and ramshackle spaceships. A few chunks of scifi prose were a little difficult to follow, but admittedly I did not read the first book and so perhaps some information is probably missing for me, because there's quite a lot of world building that is glancing referenced here that obviously occurred in the first book, which perhaps I should have read! Sometimes I felt like the action description is lacking a little physical detail also, but the pace is cracking fast, as with many middle grade books and to slow it down for the world building detail would probably be a little off putting to young readers.
Anyway I still found the whole thing thoroughly enjoyable and a great inspiration for my writing. Eva Nine is a brilliantly spunky heroine and the secondary characters like Rovender and Hailey are intriguing and lively too....more
Although I have read quite a few adult books with young trans protagonists I have never before seen a YA book with a trans lead, and so I was really iAlthough I have read quite a few adult books with young trans protagonists I have never before seen a YA book with a trans lead, and so I was really intrigued by The Art of Being Normal as it seemed to be, potentially, a totally unique book. Even more so after seeing the stunning cover artwork, reading the synopsis, and flicking through a few random excerpts.
I loved the opening hook of the book where David reveals that he has always wanted to be a girl. It’s funny and authentic, but also sad and marks him as an outsider, so really sets the tone for the rest of the story. The book has 2 narrators: David and Leo, whose POVs are distinguished by slightly different fonts - a great design idea - and their differing teenage voices, David, nervous but optimistic, Leo, hard nosed, with an edge of cynical humour. Both voices feel engaging and authentic from the outset. The first half of the book focuses more on Leo and the writing is characterful and intriguing. As the story moved into the world of teenage parties and romances I felt it might become a typical YA tale about outsiders who become friends, with less focus on the trans stuff. How wrong I was, near the middle, the story takes a suprising turn that made it much deeper and more interesting. And, as David and Leo’s characters get to know each other, it becomes a personal and heartfelt piece and our understanding of them really deepens. I found their conversation at the derelict swimming pool very moving and beautifully done, really erring on the side of subtlety in what could have been an overplayed moment. There were many scenes like this during the second half of the story, where I worried things could get too dramatic, but Lisa WIlliamson does a fantastic job, creating quiet intense moments with a light touch and mixing bittersweet or dark events with the lighter funnier YA material about friendship, so that everything feels balanced just right.
It is a brillaintly plotted book with lots of fun details and I enjoyed the little nods to Twelfth Night and Mermaids etc and loved the Cinderella elements of the ending. I really think young trans and queer readers need their share of these type of YA stories, and more of them, so this books is a brilliant and unique addition to that genre. ...more
Standish Treadwell seems a completely unique YA voice and as a character totally believable and there. He made me think of Riddley Waker or Huck FinnStandish Treadwell seems a completely unique YA voice and as a character totally believable and there. He made me think of Riddley Waker or Huck Finn with his simple forthright cleverness. The malapropisms and odd turns of phrase, he uses in his narration to describe his world, and the people in it, create such individual and unusual images that it lends a dark humour, and a sense of hope, to what might have otherwise been a very bleak story. ...more
A dark dream-like fairytale that examines love and the horrors of war. Tinder is an exquisitely designed book, filled with a beautiful poetic prose, aA dark dream-like fairytale that examines love and the horrors of war. Tinder is an exquisitely designed book, filled with a beautiful poetic prose, and amazing angular black and white (and red) illustrations that interact in unique ways with the text. The story, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's Tinderbox fairytale, which I have yet to read, was a real page turner and the atmosphere is so strongly conjured by Sally's individual and distinctive way of describing the world, and the the graphic quality of the illustrations, that it stays with you long after you finish reading. ...more
It is refreshing to read a Victorian story of the time where the young teenage heroine is a cheeky, sarcastic, badly behaved character, who mouths offIt is refreshing to read a Victorian story of the time where the young teenage heroine is a cheeky, sarcastic, badly behaved character, who mouths off to everybody else in the book. So different from demure Dickensian girls, and even the sassy ones, like Miss Nipper or Nancy, don't have the kind of banter that Mord Em'ly (Maude Emily when not rendered in some of the weirder phonetic cockney of the book) comes out with. Ofcourse Mor'd Emly comes good in the end, rising up from her teenage street gang beginnings to become a more respectable grown woman, but even through this, she is still very much her own bloody-minded stubborn self....more
A thoughtful and original ebook on writing, filled with great hints and tips and writing prompts, many that I have not read before. And all expressedA thoughtful and original ebook on writing, filled with great hints and tips and writing prompts, many that I have not read before. And all expressed in succinct paragraphs and short bite size chapters, which end with inspiring quotes or suggestions for further reading. The book has good advice on finding ideas and on developing methods to cultivate and percolate them, plus some interesting thoughts on what makes a good short story. It has made me itch to get back to my short story writing, and put the lessons to use....more