I decided it was time to finally read River Secrets and Forest Born, so I reread this and The Goose Girl first. This book isn't really as strong as th...moreI decided it was time to finally read River Secrets and Forest Born, so I reread this and The Goose Girl first. This book isn't really as strong as the first, narratively speaking - it lacks the shock of betrayal that drives TGG, and the plot is kind of meandering (not always a bad thing, but it's not great here), but I do love Enna herself. And I've got to give Hale credit for being willing to write a main character who does dodgy things, and owns up to them, and then, whoops, makes more mistakes. And I can't lie, I'm impressed by her willingness to write in a totally creepy and inappropriate romance (I'm always down for creepy and inappropriate romances, as long as they are acknowledged as such within the text). I think these books could have been forgettable, middling YA, but Hale doesn't pretend that fairy tales (whether her original creation or a Grimm adaptation) aren't messed up (TGG was harsh, you guys!), and that elevates them. On to River Secrets (for which I am not excited, because I find Razo impossibly annoying)!(less)
Giustiniana Wynne: silly teenager (this is an observation, not an indictment - everyone should be able to be silly if they feel like it) who grew into...moreGiustiniana Wynne: silly teenager (this is an observation, not an indictment - everyone should be able to be silly if they feel like it) who grew into a totally smart and cutting badass. That's what I took away from this book. What is a Memmo?(less)
Occasionally I see people complaining about the intense second waveyness of Tamora Pierce's books - the lady warrior, the Strong Woman characters alwa...moreOccasionally I see people complaining about the intense second waveyness of Tamora Pierce's books - the lady warrior, the Strong Woman characters always being coded in terms of masculine strength, physical strength, battle prowess - i.e., you are strong because you are succeeding in a traditional male role, usually at the expense of "weak" or "soft" femininity. But, I mean. Okay, yes, I cannot deny that all of TP's female characters who are worth a damn are decent in a fight (or show interest in becoming decent in a fight). And you can laugh a little at that - I know I have; it's almost like a drinking game (take a shot whenever someone who's never picked up a sword before muses that maybe she should start learning). But even Alanna and Kel, her two Lady Knights, who have to (to varying degrees) take up the trappings of masculinity to succeed embrace womanhood. And even if you're not sold on them, you can't say that Aly and Thayet and Sarai and Daine and Winnamine are ever expected to deny their femininity in order to claim their strengths. I don't know - I don't have the energy to go into a full scale women's studies essay on Tamora Pierce's feminism. I don't always think it's perfect, but I don't think anyone's is always perfect. And I really don't think it's as one-dimensional as her detractors would like to suggest. And besides, the sex positivity! It's maybe my favorite thing about Pierce's books, and certainly, I think, the bravest. I like to think that for each outraged Goodreads review about lax morality or whatever, there's a teenaged girl out there reading and realizing that her sexuality is okay, that she's allowed to want to have sex, that it's okay to look into birth control, that virginity is not necessarily to be taken lightly, but neither is it something to be hoarded and prized like it's the only thing of worth about her. Bless you and your politics, Tamora Pierce. I'm so glad I decided to catch up on all the Tortall books you've written since The Immortals quartet.
(This did lose a star because I am sick to death of the boring/gross white-person-saving-the-people-of-color storyline.)(less)
Sometimes I think that if you were to tap me (like a keg, or a maple tree!), you would just end up with a jar full of YA dystopia. I keep reading thes...moreSometimes I think that if you were to tap me (like a keg, or a maple tree!), you would just end up with a jar full of YA dystopia. I keep reading these books even though they are all the same, and they are all written in first-person present-tense (just stop that, stop it!). I don't know, this was fine. It was fun, it was the literary equivalent of an 80s training montage - I am actually completely okay with this - and it had an interestingish, if unfortunately undeveloped premise (the world-building was the weakest part of this book - the severely demarcated society thing can work, but I don't think Roth really thought this through).
But I cannot, in this post-Arrested Development world we're living in, get seriously invested in a love interest (however dreamy or whatever) named Tobias. It's just not going to happen.(less)
I felt crappy this weekend, so I turned to terrible teen paranormal romance, but I've got to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, it's still a pro...moreI felt crappy this weekend, so I turned to terrible teen paranormal romance, but I've got to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, it's still a product of its genre, and there are some problems (why are books for girls, written by women, still so full of "trashy" this and "sleazy" that?), but, you guys! The female friendship at the heart of these books is always as important or MORE important than the romance! This is unheard of! THESE STUPID VAMPIRE BOOKS FOR TEENAGERS PASS THE BECHDEL TEST ALL THE TIME. I am so delighted.(less)