I wish I could give this FIVE MILLION STARS. I liked basically everything about it.
I purchased this one the day it came out, but was saving it for th...moreI wish I could give this FIVE MILLION STARS. I liked basically everything about it.
I purchased this one the day it came out, but was saving it for the right time. (Apparently this was after a long day of reference + 76 kids at Lego Club library program + 36 at Reading with Dogs library program. I got home, picked it up, and couldn't put it down until I was finished.) Anticipation is such a double-edged sword, though - my expectations were so high that it was hard not to be disappointed. But, oh, I was not disappointed! Here are all the things I loved:
- Jane. Badass! Smart! Loud! Fat! Imperfect! Uncertain and certain at the same time. Wonderful. And she basically... doesn't change. She learns and grows (sure) but stays fundamentally herself. I adored that the turning point for each of the MCs was changing the paradigm, changing the game.
- Oliver being super attracted to Jane's personality AND her body. Hello, yes.
- Oliver. Uncomfortably familiar.
- The writing: smart, elegant, unobtrusive. I expected that based on her earlier books, but it was nice to see it again.
- The sisters. Who I secretly hope will star in the future lesbian C. Milan novella of my dreams. Totally set up for that!
-LADY FRIENDSHIP. (The moment when that happens actually made me flap my hand frantically at my honey while saying "oh! oh! oh!" The best moment in the book, I think.)
-ALL the side characters. The villain was villainous - not flat, exactly, but single-minded. The other side characters, though, clearly had a lot of complicated backstory that shone through their minor roles. Anjan Bhattacharya, especially, was an elegant, masterful bit of character building... just that hint of what it meant to be Indian, smart, elite, an outsider, and part of a complicated history of oppression/collaboration that nobody around really understands.
-The way problems were resolved... perfectly wonderful.
I think what this reminded me of most, maybe, was Graceling. It's an odd parallel to draw because the genres, plot, and readership are so very different. And Graceling had the major flaw of not having significant lady friendships between equals (that I can remember, anyway - Bitterblue doesn't count, since she's like a little sister). But Katsa reminds me of Jane in the authenticity of her journey through doubt, just barely holding on sometimes but maintaining a fierce core. And the resolutions resonated too: no substituting a relationship for closure.
Anyway, this was more of a written fanflail than a review. Loved it. So glad I bought it AND put in a purchase request for the library so that I can put it on lists at SPL. I think I'm going to purchase a print edition for easier lending!
I don't have the oomph for a proper review after finishing this one today, but my on-the-spot thoughts are that even if th...moreFEELINGS!!!!! Oh, my heart.
I don't have the oomph for a proper review after finishing this one today, but my on-the-spot thoughts are that even if the rest of the book were terrible (which it wasn't), Park's parents and family dynamic were enough to make me fall in love with this book.
Several million bonus points for a fat character who doesn't lose weight -- specifically doesn't lose weight when she doesn't have enough to eat, BEST -- and to whom the cute indie boy is super attracted. He is overcome with emotional sexy feelings in a way that feels, god, so like my high school experience -- both characters are -- and he is specifically attracted to her, to her personality and her body, not "despite" anything.
A real winner, and hard to imagine any better candidate for the Printz appearing this year. Worth the hype, I think. (less)
Could there be a more perfect book? I just reread this over lunch and laughed for almost the entire hour. Tears in my eyes. I still feel giddy from th...moreCould there be a more perfect book? I just reread this over lunch and laughed for almost the entire hour. Tears in my eyes. I still feel giddy from the whole thing.
The '70s... what a marvelous time for children's and YA lit! (less)
I see a number of four star reviews for this one, and I only just finished it, so haven't sat with it yet... but this was a five star book for me. I t...moreI see a number of four star reviews for this one, and I only just finished it, so haven't sat with it yet... but this was a five star book for me. I think it was stronger than one crazy summer in voice, depth of the characters, and sense of place. I loved the pacing, the quiet tone, and the utter believability of the kids' actions and voices. super impressed: this is by far my favorite of her books so far.(less)
LOVE. Cannot say this enough, and a longer, more pithy review will be coming soon, but I want to see this one in EVERY. SINGLE. LIBRARY. Multiple copi...moreLOVE. Cannot say this enough, and a longer, more pithy review will be coming soon, but I want to see this one in EVERY. SINGLE. LIBRARY. Multiple copies. Elementary, middle, high school, public, I want it there. And Rainbow Committee, COLAGE, Our Family Coalition, GSA Network, GLSEN, I want this on every book list, you'd be idiots not to.
Every so often I just want to gush thanks and praise at an author, and I am totally there with this one right now. (less)
I found this one because it had been nominated or was on an awards list, and it was a delight. Loved the authorial interjections and commentary, the s...moreI found this one because it had been nominated or was on an awards list, and it was a delight. Loved the authorial interjections and commentary, the story*, the characters that maintained dimensionality despite the fableish writing style, and the setting. Highly recommended!
*except that I just couldn't enjoy or really appreciate the gluttony storyline, even knowing that it was part of another folktale. (less)