Some girls are weak, some girls are conniving, some girls are wretched, vile, petty, reprehensible, fucktards, beastly, browbeaters, evil, injurious,...more Some girls are weak, some girls are conniving, some girls are wretched, vile, petty, reprehensible, fucktards, beastly, browbeaters, evil, injurious, dreadful, loathsome, tormentors, insolent, spiteful, and just fucking mean. Some girls are twats.
Let me take a second to pop my eighth vitamin C drop and blow my nose on my ‘face wipes’ because my place of employment do not believe in tissues. I will also take this moment to let you know that this damn summer cold thing has greatly altered my perceptions and the ‘all people have good in them somewhere if we give them a chance’ crap is out. Weg. Wamekwenda. Outta heahhhh
We’ve seen this before... many times, a YA book about bullying? It’s like old school, we know have YA books about crank and cutting and mad cow disease and sex and sex with animals and sex with teachers and..... (cough*gasp*wheeze*) Anyway, GR’s top 5 YA books as voted by all of you involve a boy wizard, a dystopian battle to the death, a clutzy vampire lover, a demigod with daddy issues, and a poor boy chosen to carry on the memories, sins, history of his people. (Really? You guys gave The Giver the #4 spot? Good on ya!)
I did not become attached to this book. I read it as I would a magazine article. Hey look there, huh. I didn’t care enough about the characters to put much into them. Why? They wouldn’t give me the time of day. I know this lot. I know how they work. I was ‘bullied’ but I was lucky. Mine was pre social media and really just took inane cheerleaders who had nothing else to do but torment me. I fucking still can’t stand them, Susan Deblois and Tricia (Twissa) Paradis. They didn’t do much.. a giggle there, an eyeroll here, they weren’t even the ones that spit on me... those I hold no real grudge about... But Sue and Twissa... you guys are pathetic.
My children get bullied... and now this is a bit more serious... since, if you look up my town on Wiki you will see that we have the honor of being mentioned for “in 2003, as a result of the nationally publicized suicide of an Essex Junction teenager, Vermont, and other states, passed legislation against cyber-bullying.” Yay.
My kids are pretty resilient, I hope. It’s what I see… at least in my two oldest… But, I think they hold a lot back. They have more gusto than their mom, probably got that from the dad, but they do hurt. Like the day that Izzy came home because she heard a couple of girls talking about a rumor that Izzy threw up before lunch so no one should go near her. ??? Or Satchel being bullied by two nasty little twin girls in pre-school that was soon fixed by my ever loving bff Michelle ‘Booby’ Metro when she suggested that “Like when Miss Ashley (his teacher) isn’t looking, you squat down in front of the girls and you tell them that if they ever touch your son again you’ll drive them out into the woods where nobody will see them until spring when their wolf-ravaged carcasses are found sticking out of the melting snow.” I need my own Booby for times like this… But, for the most part… I’m not seeing it so much… But, to think that I could be as blind as the mom in this book--that frightens me.
I don’t care about Regina. I don’t care that Regina is pretty much one big ball of acidic gasses. She deserves it. She can try to repent all she wants, she can try to undo all she wants, she can fucking martyr herself. I don’t care. She shouldn’t have ever been attracted to that Heathers Crowd. First of all, wearing the same outfits every day? Hello? First clue? Then, being the alpha bitch’s bitch? Really? You think so low of yourself that you cannot figure this out? How important is all this to you? I don’t get it. I just never have. Popularity seems equivalent to being stupid. I would never strive for such. I wouldn’t lower myself to the shit that Regina does for that posse. It’s so sad to watch. Yet, I know… I know… that there are girls out there doing this. Christ. Where is the fun? Is drama your main motivation? Ruining the high school years of girls who are already dealing with the high school fears and not trusting their true self and all that garbage that every After school special drilled into us the parents? Where are the parents of these monsters? Watching babies in tiaras or desperate housewives. Yes, this goes much deeper than a humbled, shy, ill, 40 something with her own self worth issues.
Yes, Regina… suck that antacid and deal. Spend the rest of your life wondering what made you decide that this was the path that you needed to follow. That it was better to do this than to be alone at lunch. And fuck you for getting the cute, dysfunctional writer boy in the end. (oops spoiler) because you don’t deserve it. You deserve to be in your mid 40s sitting in some bar discussing the ‘merits’ of Christian Grey and how hot that is because if you really believe that then you have just totally vindicated every smart bullied girl my age (yeah, directed at you Sue and Twissa… I hope he rocks your worlds because sex must really really suck IRL)
And the whole ‘don’t hate the playah, hate the game’ attitude? Screw that? The game is bullshit and the players are twats. Please get a life. (less)
Zombies. Seriously. I mean, isn’t being a teenager hard enough without having to deal with them? Angst looks likes fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning...more Zombies. Seriously. I mean, isn’t being a teenager hard enough without having to deal with them? Angst looks likes fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning. Jesus.
I liked this book. It’s got that Breakfast Club meets Lord of the Flies hanging with A Child called It at a Walking Dead party. Yep. That pretty much sums it up for me. I know I was supposed to be all ‘will they live?’ when they’re running through the halls but I’m seeing Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson against an Oingo Boingo soundtrack. I don’t think that’s what Courtney Summers wanted us to get out of this.
I had no idea this was a zombie book, which can be argued as NOT being a zombie book because really you only meet like 3 zombies, I just knew that from reading Fall for Anything or Some Girls Are that I liked her style of writing. I liked her characters. This is no different. I see Sloane as a teenage Christina Ricci and Rhys as a loveable Christian Slater type. Trace and Grace (yes… that’s what I said…) as a harsher Joey Lawrence type and the ‘pre-Dylan Mckay’ Jennie Garth… it’s there… I’m having trouble with Cary though. Can’t seem to place him.
So, yes, it was a good book. It was a good afternoon spent on the couch during a rainstorm. I just really don’t have any more to say about it. Oh, except I thought the ending was cool… not too over formulated.
Hype was the reason that I gave it 3 stars instead of 4. Damn you, Hype! I shake my angry angsty fist at you.(less)
"Everything popular is wrong” so writes Oscar Wilde, and why wouldn’t he? The snarky bastard. He was in a mood, of course. He wanted to be adored, rig...more "Everything popular is wrong” so writes Oscar Wilde, and why wouldn’t he? The snarky bastard. He was in a mood, of course. He wanted to be adored, right? Who doesn’t really? Isn’t that the angst of it all? Who hates me? Will I be the freak du jour today? Oh shit, the head cheerleader is talking to me, what the hell?
High school was not the best time for me… believe it or not. I was shy and therefore considered a bitch because I stared at the ground, hiding behind my 7 inch bangs and never making eye contact. I wore black, spoke softly and read a lot of books. I had a group of friends and we were the outcasts, listening to Joy Division and Minor Threat and The Smiths and The Dead Kennedys…our view was skewed, yes.. but after getting spit on at pep rallies or tripped in hallways we needed to be skewed… whatever.. it’s high school.. get over it. (I can say this 25 odd years later but now I have two kids in middle school and my stomach turns every day at the thought of what they have to endure… kids are fucking mean).
This book is no different than other coming of age stories. There is a protagonist who has to find out who he truly wants to be. There are peer pressure issues; there are judgments and misconstrued intentions. Except in this story it’s not Cinderelly getting her slipper on, it’s Charming wanting to be Quasimodo.
Liam is the son of Cindy Crawford and Bill Gates… or the fictionalized versions of them. He lives in Westchester… he looks like his mom… he grew up on Paris runways and New York Fashion weeks… We should hate him, right? He’s beautiful, he’s rich, he’s… beautiful and rich. Um… and popular. Yes, he is popular. But, remember…this book is called King of the Screwups… there’s some meat in here.
Liam considers himself the ultimate fuck up. He can’t say the right thing, he barely squeaks by in his classes, he is constantly finding himself in exactly the wrong spot (like lying on your father’s desk with the president of the national honor society half naked on top of you and being so drunk that you hurl all over his office). Yes, Liam is to blame.. he doesn’t get off that easy… he made these choices… he accepts that he’s a screw up and therefore he feels worthless.
I think that this is where we can all relate. Who doesn’t ever feel worthless? I mean how many of us are THAT well adjusted to say that they have never had that feeling? If you’ve listened to The Smiths, that automatically disqualifies you… put your hand down now.
Liam gets shipped off to live with his cross dressing Auncle Pete in a trailer park in buttfuck county. He feels lucky to be here, this or with his militant grandparents, well.. take the plastic flamingos any day, right? Here he decides that he will not screw up… He will be UNpopular. Yeah, that’s an insult to all us freaks, right? C’mon… like we haven’t already judged this hot, well coiffed rich boy..and now he wants to be LIKE U S? Riiiiight… keep walkin’ boy…
I would have thought that, except this kid is so damn SINCERE. I mean… there are times I just want to slap his perfectly sculpted cheekbones and un-tousle his bronze copper colored hair (yeah, that’s a 50 shades reference right there).
Liam tries so hard to be uncool… he wants to be considered studious and most of all he wants to impress his dad.. which is what the whole gist of this story is… the nature vs nurture argument… Liam is a product of his mother… he gets fashion, he gets how to get your point across by just looking a certain way. His dad thinks he is useless and doesn’t mince words telling him so. As we get to know Liam, we see that everything that drives this poor kid is only to please his bastard of a father.
Been there, tried that. Except, my dad was nowhere near anything that should be impressible. I was a fool and Liam is too. He is scarred by this overwhelming need to be something he’s not. Man, that sucks. I feel for the kid.
“You can’t create love, you just have to take it where you can find it.”
You know, one of those, ‘she doesn’t have to have her fresh young fellows tape back, but there’s not a long of th...moreI have never experienced a break up.
You know, one of those, ‘she doesn’t have to have her fresh young fellows tape back, but there’s not a long of things that she’ll take back’ kind of break up or the ‘And I’m here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away-It’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me’ angsty throw yourself across the room break up. Or the pathetic ‘It’s been seven hours and 15 days / since you took your love away’- no… can’t say that I have… unless you count being widowed but that wouldn’t be fair, right? No, the only thing close is losing my virginity to a guy who I had been ‘dating’ (I guess I thought that was what it was) and then having him not call me for like 2 weeks and me not calling him and then him going off and ending up with some slutty girl that wrote a famous blog turned book and discussed having sex with him in weird ass places…and he wasn’t even that good!
Nope, I am one of those that never really tried so never really had to deal with the whole dramarama of break up. My god, if any of you know me, I can’t even handle it when Leonardo finds Claire Danes in that ruined church! I break down when people mention Treat Williams dying in Hair instead of John Savage! I am a pussy. I know this…
So, what do I do? I read books. I read books that break my heart, that make me wistful for that time when time goes by so fast when you're with the one and when girls sit in their rooms staring out their window for months waiting for their shiny vampire to remember her. I read books that detail breakups through music and death and stupid high school crap reasons. And, I love them. I really really do. I must really hate myself.
Why we Broke Up. I should have known, right? But, there’s a great illustration of a coffee cup on the cover and I love coffee and angst, so…. Min is writing Ed a letter… that’s what this book is… a break up letter. Wow, I’ve always imagined being the scorned one who wrote clever, hurtful things to a boy that broke my heart. In fact, I did do this with my husband who was not yet my husband. I did it like 5 times…. Finally he just started lying and said he didn’t get the letters, it must have gotten lost in the mail, what was I talking about? Yeah… smart one, that guy. But, those letters were awesome…. They don’t compare to this letter though. This letter comes with a treasure box of collected memories and illustrations of items in that box. This letter is like if Griffin and Sabine were to call it quits. (did they? Never got that far.) Min is everything that I wish or thought or wished I thought I was in high school. She’s different. She’s in love with old movies and lives her life through scenes that make Catherine driving Jim off a cliff leaving Jules to raise Sabine look like Meatballs II. I can relate to Min, I can appreciate her innocence and her blindness and her pain. I can want to kick Ed in the balls and cut off his hands so he never plays basketball again. I would do this for Min. Because, as her friend Al says ‘What’s the use of friendship?’ if you can’t dismember people for people you love.
I won’t quote from this book because it’s one long high school lament that should be read in full. I can tell you that pages 336, 337 and 338 is my new mantra. It will take me awhile to get that down but it will be worth it. I will also tell you about this website… and I will quote from one of the posts because I hate myself for not writing this and I encourage you to write your own and let me know… because I’m a sucker for a good break up story.
Do not read this break up story. Close your eyes. Turn off your laptop. Do not read this particularly miserable break up story. Hug a skunk that has lost a battle with the semi whose driver was too busy eating a ham sandwich he picked up from the tiny diner with the one light above the day old donuts that were flickering exactly in tune with the polka music playing quietly from the radio belonging to the man in the corner smoking a pipe for some unhygienic reason. Hug that poor, dead skunk because it will be more pleasurable than reading this dreadful, tired breakup story. Turn around now. You still have time. Pretend your eyes never fell upon these words and leave your home right now to talk to your local government representative about pulling all military funding to turn public buses in to ice cream trucks. Ask him to abolish marriage for group hugs. Suggest all textbooks smell like fresh cookies. Buy a kitten on your way home, take him to dinner and pretend you never laid eyes on this break up story. You still have time. I warned you.
I wasn’t dead. Now you are.
Now, to lighten the mood... here's an awkward family photo. Happy Dating.
Relatively Excited…. That usually isn’t a great state. I mean, super-excited, or moderately interested and there’s that chance of being bowled over or pissed off. Relatively excited usually leads to ‘meh’.
And meh (which is so 'meh' to say now, maybe I should try 'derp')it is.
I don’t know… maybe it’s just that I’m old (I’ve said this in so many reviews now… you’d think I’d just accept and move on, but noooooooo)---I’ve been there done that with this story. Hell, I lived it. Okay, not the mental institution or the suicide attempt but most definitely the BoD (Bangs of Doom) and the goth (or post-goth—whatever she calls it to get to sleep at night) and above all, I’ve done the Mom-dying-of-Cancer-routine.
I felt cheated. I wished that Barry had given Kyra a more original voice. I wish that the formula weren’t so formulaic and that there wasn’t the happy ending that is supposed to still be a big ol’ fuck you to society. Teen angst, Smiths style. Yawn.
I do have to admit that there was one little light bulb moment… In today’s anti-depressant ridden society it’s interesting to think back to that old idiom and how positively appropriate it is now. Accept your punishment---take your medicine. HA!
It might also be meh because well, it so belittles that time in my life. No one takes that seriously… hiding behind your bangs, wearing clothes that make other people stay away from you because, frankly, you want to be left alone. The confusion that is misplaced anger and total self-absorption. It seems trite when you can look down the barrel 20 years.. It was supposed to be more important than that.
“People think I’m a goth. But I’m not. I’m post-goth. I hang out with goths and they think they get me but they really don’t. But they’re the closest thing I’ve got to people who do get me, so I stick with them. See, goth was originally all about rebelling and being different. You’d be lucky to see two or three goths together at once (ed. Note: TRUTH) Now they’re everywhere. There are, like, stores and stuff that cater to them. There’s a website I found once that even does date matching for goths. Bakeries that make cakes with black icing… It’s all mainstream. That’s what I hate about this world: It takes everything unique and cool and interesting and makes it mainstream. There’s an effing TV channel for everything. A website for everything. A section of the bookstore for everything. I want to yell. I want to scream to the world: THIS IS NOT SOMETHING FOR YOU TO MARKET! THIS IS NOT SOMETHING FOR YOU TO SELL! THIS IS MY LIFE! THIS IS HOW I FEEL! There’s no room left to be an individual. Everyone’s part of a group. And it sucks."
Yay, Barry, yay. Except that I’m sure there’s a t-shirt and a scene from Reality Bites that mimics this. Turn it up a notch, kay? (less)
It's hard to be a cynic, much less a hatah when you have something pure like this. This may not be my favorite book, but I can't say that I didn't enj...moreIt's hard to be a cynic, much less a hatah when you have something pure like this. This may not be my favorite book, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy giving up a few hours on a Wednesday night to visit Michael's world.
When I was little and told to say my prayers (by hypocritical lapsed catholics, by the way) I would start by asking that my family be safe (yeah, that didn't work out so well now, did it?) and then hit the trivial things like asking that Jimmy Watts would notice me or maybe my mom could buy me the new Olivia Newton John album? Ah... to be so oblivious.
Michael has just moved into a new house. 'House' being used in the loosest of descriptions. The previous owner wasn't so much into home improvement as he was into slowly dying. The yard is a mess of weeds and there is a toilet in the dining room. The garage is a home to broken appliances, rolls of linoleum, planks, boxes, bugs and something else.
"I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and his head tipped back against the wall. He was covered in dust and webs like everything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles were scattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his white face and his black suit."
Meet Skellig. Say his name a few times. Notice how your tongue is trapped behind your teeth. Feel the grit. Accentuate the 'guh'. Yeah... now close your eyes and visualize Skellig... decrepit, emaciated, mean, gruff. He's like a bad guy in a fairy tale, right? The guy that you'd cross the street to avoid. And he lives in Michael's garage.
Did I mention that Michael's baby sister is dying? Oh, sorry about that. Michael doesn't like to dwell on that. Instead he makes friend with Mina, a girl who lives down the street who is home-schooled, likes to sing William Blake poems, and draw blackbirds and owls. He plays hookie to help his dad fix up the house. He tries to nurse Skellig by feeding him takeout chinese (27 and 53-nectar of the gods), beer, and cod liver oil. When he does go to school he learns about skeletons and wonders why people have shoulder blades. (They say it where your wings were, when you were an angel, Michael's mom explains, they say they're where your wings will grow again one day.)
Where does all this lead? What do children wish for? What do you do when your baby sister is in the hospital tied to wires and tubes? Do miracles really exist? ' You have to believe in magic' Olivia once crooned. 'If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.' says Blake.
"What are you?" I whispered. He shrugged again. "Something," he said. "Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel." He laughed. "Something like that." He smiled. (less)
Here. Right here is why I will always love books and never fully give in to those e-reader thingies.
Touch this book. Go ahead. Open it up, crack the b...moreHere. Right here is why I will always love books and never fully give in to those e-reader thingies.
Touch this book. Go ahead. Open it up, crack the binding a little, and stroke a page. Oh Yeah. Smooth, right? Not a gloss really but there is a coating to it. Definitely not a matte. Could be a creamwove or even copier paper. Rub your thumb up and down a page. Uh huh... you got it.
That---and the photos. I've always derived a perverse pleasure in carnie folk and all things carnie. (Remember, I'm that rubber-necker type.) Well, stick some outlandish ancient photographs in front of me and watch me get my freak on. It's like a delusional 20yr old and Bieber-fever. Maybe this is Rigg's schtick. Seems that everyone has one these days. I'm not complaining, they had me at the paper, remember? These photographs that the narrative revolves around are creepy fun. Little boys dressed up in Gacy clown costumes feeding each other ribbon? Sad little boy in bunny suit sitting on a walkway? Gothy Girl, Tim Burton fan carrying a chicken? I am so there.
And the story ain't bad neither.
Jacob loves his grandfather and his grandfather's stories about "life in the Welsh Childrens home. It was an enchanted place, he said, designed to keep kids safe from the monsters, on an island where the sun shined every day and nobody ever got sick or dies. Everyone lived together in a big house that was protected by a wise old bird--or so the story went."
Hello?? Sign me up! He talks of levitating girls and invisible boys, children with mouths on the back of their head and girls who create fire with her hand. All living happily tucked away from the monsters.
Until one of the monsters kills his grandfather. Jacob, of course, is the only witness to this and bears his beloved granddad's last words:
"There's no time," he whispered. Then he raised his head off the ground, trembling with the effort, and breathed into my ear: 'Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940.' I nodded but he could see that I didn't understand. With his last bit of strength, he added, "Emerson--the letter. Them them what happened, Yakob."
Now this--THIS is what I was hoping The Forgetting Room would be like. This is the creepiness that I wanted from The Night Strangers. THANK YOU.
Jacob convinces his parents and his shrink (you don't think a kid like this needs a shrink?)that he must go to the island, to deal with his grandfather's death. He finds the house, ruined, and learns that on September 3, 1940 a bomb fell on it and killed everyone. Everyone but one boy who went off to fight the monsters.
Jacob's journey is far from over, but I will leave you to find out. If I had known (which is really REALLY surprising since it was a NY Times Bestseller this year) I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much. And we all need joy, right? (less)
You may be surprised by this but I never went to Prom. I know, right? I mean, seriously… WTF? And, like everyone said… I regret it. I mean, if I had g...more You may be surprised by this but I never went to Prom. I know, right? I mean, seriously… WTF? And, like everyone said… I regret it. I mean, if I had gone to Prom then maybe Derek Ducharme would have noticed me in my Micro short version extremely popular Sweet Dreams dress. A gorgeous peau de sois satin gown featuring a breathtaking skirt with gather detailing. A boned bustier, which fits like a glove, forms a charming neckline and proposed to me right away. We would have married after college, he’d be a business major and I’d stay home selling Mary Kay. We’d make beautiful babies that would grow up to be bullies that would spit on the silly goth girls at pep rallies and we’d laugh and laugh and laugh… Ahhh… If only…
Uh huh. And exploding monkeys eating pie will fly out of butt.
Why then… why would I subject myself to a book of short stories all about proms? Because these are some of the best damn writers in young adult right now. A few weeks ago I finished Geektastic and wanted more. MORE! I did falter a bit when I saw the topic. Christ, PROM? Who the fuck cares? Seriously… people treat this like a major life moment. It’s supposed to define you or your entire school self.. this is when you can get back at Troy Smith for letting go of Tyler Ferguson’s hand during Red Rover Red Rover causing you to fall flat on the cement playground knocking out your front top tooth in 2nd grade. This is your moment to shine, buddy. Well, Troy Smith is now gay and his BF is so freaking hot that you end up crying in the bathroom while Twissa-- the cheerleader that’s berated you for the past 6 years is puking in the stall behind you, her Bo Derek braids she and every other slut that went on the senior trip to the Bahamas decided was the cool look clank against the toilet rim. Yeah… good times, good times.
21 Proms is what it is. Kids obsessed with Prom. I wasn’t impressed with most of the plot lines since I could care less about the event, but the writing and the characters…well, I can accept the Under The Sea motifs for a bit. These stories deal with all the teen angst that high school can bring and yet some.. okay most… are endearing. Like the Libba Bray story 'Primate the Prom'…
“Flash told me about this movement. It’s called Primate the Prom. It started in Kansas, after what happened to William Lamb.” William Lamb was a band-boy-cute seventeen-year-old from some small town in Kansas. He had a gorilla boyfriend named Johnny. The two of them tried to make a statement by crashing their prom. A mob of kids in tuxes and prom dresses beat them bloody and tied them to the flagpole. They shaved Johnny of all his fur. And William Lamb ended up with serious brain damage. He won’t date another ape. He won’t date at all.”
“ Do you ever feel like you’re living in a circle, instead of a line?” Ben asked. “Like, you never change?” Elsie squinted at him, sleepy. “Like, I’m me now,” he went on, “but I’m also me on this big hike my dad and I took when I was ten, and I’m also me the first day of school freshman year. And I’m me in the future. It’s like one of those wooden dolls. With all those smaller dolls inside.” He blinked up at the sky. “Even when I’m surprised by how things turn out, deep down I’m never surprised, you know? Because it’s all already there, and none of it disappears.”
Prom will always be. Angst is forever. Let them drink cheap punch and lose their virginity (do they still do that on Prom Night?) Some day they will rule the world. (less)
ROAD TRIP! Who doesn’t love a good road trip? (rhetorical) Who doesn’t love to read about a road trip? Huh? C’mon… On the Road, Travels with Charley,...more ROAD TRIP! Who doesn’t love a good road trip? (rhetorical) Who doesn’t love to read about a road trip? Huh? C’mon… On the Road, Travels with Charley, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Anything?
Well, I do enjoy reading about them. More so when they involve hypochondriac dwarves, punk rock angels, fire giants, stellar trumpeters, time traveling vegan gurus, frenzied smoothie loving cultists who bowl, slutty cheerleaders, hermatic Inuit jam bands, wizards of reckoning, Viking yard gnomes and snow globe salesmen. Oh and a protagonist with Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (that’s mad-cow disease for us non neurosurgeons)
Cameron Smith’s best memory is almost dying at Disney World when he was five. At sixteen he’s a typical self centered, under motivated teenage boy skimming cliff notes of Don Quixote and seeing holes open in the sky and "leaves of fire grow and change, like something’s inside waiting to be born. The one closest to me evolves as quickly as one of those time lapse photography experiments in science: the small, hunched over form unfolds, spreads out, takes on mass, intention. It stands, huge, burning man with eyes black as the hole opening above us. …there’s three, four, now five of them; they burn so brightly, flames licking off their bodies like blue-orange sweat. They sweep their arms out this way and that, and where they pass, the land curls up in blackness. This makes them laugh, which is a horrible sound—like the screams of people burning to death.”
But, it’s all good. We soon learn that it’s not really an invasion… not that sort anyway… just these infectious prion proteins that are attacking Cameron’s brain. Boom. Instant death sentence.
What’s a boy to do? How about stage a break out with his classmate and hospital roomie Gonzo, the aforementioned hypochondriac dwarf. Why? Because a pink haired, combat boot-wearing angel named Dulcie told him so. He is given a mission. He has to save the world from the fire giants and find the scientist who can save him. Easy peasy.
Cameron and Gonzo meet many eccentric folk in their travels. They visit Mardi Gras and jam with a jazz legend, they hang out at CESSNAB where they learn to increase their happiness by bowling perfect games and drinking smoothies.. They free a Norse God who has been cursed into the form of a yard gnome and taken by frats to pose with at national landmarks. They discover that time travel is possible, but involves the music of an Inuit jam band that went MIC (missing in concert) twenty years ago. They visit spring break-Florida style- where Cam loses his virginity to his high school crush. and Gonzo finds a boyfriend .
I really haven’t done this journey justice. It’s crazed and incredible. Life affirming and heartbreaking. Cameron has purpose, he falls in love, he saves the world and he confronts his own mortality. Who could ask for more of this life?
“Mom and Dad each take one of my hands. Jenna sits beside me. Everything slows. The room gets darker, and I feel like I’m being pulled toward something I can’t see. Things streak past me. Stars. Gases. Satellites. Whole planets wobble and careen away. Universes, too. It makes me feel vast and impossibly small at the same time. Connected.”
"[W]e now enjoy...not only the delight of his own absolutely veracious tale but also all those other stories and narrative digressions which, to some extent, are no less delightful and skillfully told, and every bit as true, as his own history." Cervantes ain’t no fool. I won’t soon be forgetting Cameron or his quest.
It’s 7:55am. I’m at the light at Susie Wilson Road. (Local folklore states that Susie Wilson was the town Madam. Bit of trivia for you there…) I woke...moreIt’s 7:55am. I’m at the light at Susie Wilson Road. (Local folklore states that Susie Wilson was the town Madam. Bit of trivia for you there…) I woke up 10 minutes ago, showered, dropped my kid off at school and here I wait. I hate this light. I hate driving. Most of all, I hate vanity plates. ‘GOTHAM1’ is in front of me. A blue mid 2000s Durango. I’m sure that Batman would be honored. I wonder if other superhero fans nod or finger pistol the driver like there is some sort of unspoken clubhouse sign that shows solidarity. You know, like when bus drivers or bikers wave to each other? Maybe he has the bat symbol on his headlights or a set of wonder twin rings in the glove box. ‘GOTHAM1’ is not like its namesake. It takes a good 20 seconds for it to ease up on the gas at the light. I wonder if there is a ‘GOTHAM2’ somewhere and if their avatars bunk together.
I chastise myself for being so hackneyed in my reveries. Who am I to judge? I read vampire books and watch the CW (on occasion).
Still… I was never a full out geek. When I say ‘geek’, I’m talking physics geeks, mathematics geeks, engineering geeks, sci-fi geeks, computer geeks, various science geeks, movie and film geeks (cinephile), comic book geeks, theater geeks, music geeks (including band geeks), art geeks, philosophy geeks, literature geeks, historical reenactment geeks, video game geeks, roleplay geeks. Whovians, cyberpunk geeks, steampunk geeks, Trekkies, Jedis, D&D, BSG, TMNT, HPRP, LARP, MMORPG, GED/J d-- s:++>: a--C++(++++) ULU++ P+ L++E---- W+(-) N+++ o+ K+++ w--- O-M+ V--PS++>$ PE++>$Y++ PGP++ t-5+++ X++ R+++>$tv+ b+ DI+++ D+++ G+++++ e++ h r--y++**,LOTR, Buffys, Wesleys, RHPS, "bright young man (or woman) turned inward, poorly socialized, who felt so little kinship with his(her) own planet that he (she) routinely traveled to the ones invented by his(her) favorite authors, who thought of that secret, dreamy place his(her)computer took him (her) to as cyberspace—somewhere exciting, a place more real than his(her) own life, a land he(she) could conquer, not a drab teenager's room in his(her)parents' house." (as defined by Julie Smith (not sure if they meant the soft core porn actress or the mystery novelist)).
Okay, now that I’ve offended a great deal of people who are furiously hunting down my IP address and inserting many a virus to my account, I will get to the point. (yes, there is one)
I am a booknerd. A proud one. I haven’t given into the ‘man’ yet and bought a Kindle or a Nook or Ipad or whatever. I still haul around 2-3 books and notebooks everywhere I go. I juggle coffee and hardcovers on shuttle buses and never (NEVER) pass a bookshop without checking it out. I feel a kinship with the geeks. (“Ohhh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great.”) I really do.
Geektastic is the neutral zone for booknerds and geeks (yes, there are many that are one in the same and kudos to you if you are, you will long rule middle earth or something.) 15 stories about teen angst written in the geek narrative. There is the classic Romeo and Juliet (Jedi Apprentice and Klingon-respectively)tale where ComiCon is the new Verona.
There is a raver of a Role Playing party hosted by a polyamorous middle aged Xena at her lakeside condo where Catherine Earnshaw hopes to meet Heathcliff but instead falls for Mr. Kool-Aid who really turns out to be Heathcliff without all the asshole traits (Cyrano De Bergerac)
There is the Buffy Sing Along (ala Rocky Horror) where our hero, Dawn, stands up to all the Buffys and speaks for all the ‘previously unknown, never-mentioned, pseudo-sibling who appears suddenly out of nowhere’ gaining the admiration of her peers (sort of) (Cinderella?)
There is the online relationship twist where a young girl (Enchantress Magic Eightball) travels to New York to meet her first love (the master thief Boggle) and to tell him that she is really just a 15 year old girl from Keokuk, Illinois and hopes that his 34yr old non-profit tech self won’t really mind. (‘To Catch A Predator’??)
There is the story of Dino Girl, a freshman who has only ever had eyes for the Jurassic type..always ‘a Compsognathus among Carcharodontosaurs’ until she meets Jamie Terravozza. The junior baseball player in her science class and suddenly hormones make the scene and the cropolite hits the fan. (Any teen movie in the last 25 years)
What I’m saying is that you need not be a geek to enjoy these stories. Yes, I haven’t done them justice with my flip little paragraphs, but they are as precious as Eärendil. Some of my favorite YA authors contributed to this anthology, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, M.T. Anderson, Garth Nix, John Green and so on...Pure ‘Please, Captain, not in front of the Klingons’ young adult nirvana. This may be the best book that I’ve read this year. (less)