Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fangirl for Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl

Pardon me if I’m a little weepy; I just finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a good weepy, the kind that lets you know that you’re not ready to let go of that amazing book just yet. Eleanor and Park, Rowell’s last book, was perfectly sparse. Each word fit precisely into place. Fangirl is just as perfect, but longer and meatier. It’s the kind of book that you disappear into while you’re reading. 

Fangirl opens with Cath (full name: Cather) leaving for college and hurt that her twin sister doesn’t want to room with together. She’s not all that excited about college, either, or anything that doesn’t involve writing fan fiction about the Simon Snow books—a Harry Potter-esque series of children’s fantasy novels. Simon has always been her escape—from her mother leaving, from her father’s mental health issues, from engaging with the world in a way that might leave her vulnerable. But her blunt roommate and her roommate’s handsome and friendly boyfriend won’t let her retreat completely. And a good-looking boy in her fiction writing class is tempting her into writing about something other than Simon. Is she ready to start her real life if it means letting go of Simon?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lucid Dream: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Listening to other people describe their dreams can be the most boring thing in the world. I know this. And yet I still can’t stop myself from telling people, “I had the craziest dream last night…” Dreams come straight from our raw emotional cores, which makes them a powerful experience that so colors the waking world that we need to share them with someone else just to continue our day. This also makes them extremely difficult to describe. “I saw this pink poodle, only it wasn’t a normal poodle, it was really scary,” doesn’t cover the visceral terror you felt when staring into the black, soulless eyes of a girly hell-dog. Dreams have unstable settings, as well as mysteriously vanishing and reappearing characters, and unresolvable plot holes. And yet Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves, a book about dreaming, perfectly evokes the otherworldly feel of those nighttime phantoms while still maintaining a stable base of story.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Literary Inspiration: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

"Cass has a guillotine heart, severing ties as neatly as a whistle-sharp blade cutting the head from the body. Like any good revolutionary, she pretends that the casualties mean nothing."

-Sarah McCarry. All Our Pretty Songs. 2013. St. Martin's Press, New York. pages 30-31.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan: I Promise I Won't Spoil the Ending

Sarah Rees Brennan is really good at endings. The conclusions of her Demon’s Lexicon books were good, with big reveals and thrilling battles. But she really perfected the art in Unspoken, the first Lynburn Legacy book, aka the novel with an ending that turned the internet into one giant shocked, crying animated gif. The ending of Untold is another doozy. But since I can’t talk about it here without majorly ruining the reading experience of those who have not yet read it, let’s discuss some other things that Sarah Rees Brennan is really good at: writing awesome dialogue and confounding narrative expectations.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To Coin A Phrase: Fangirl

Celebrating innovative use of language in YA.

Emergency Kanye Party
An activity engaged in after a painful situation--such as job loss, breakup, or school failure--occurs, that consists of uninhibited dancing to a playlist consisting only of songs by Yeezus himself, Kanye West.

Original Usage: 
"...'Emergency Kanye Party!' And then it was the other person's job to run to the computer and start the Emergency Kanye playlist. And then they'd both jump around and dance and shout Kanye West lyrics until they felt better." -Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013. St. Martin's Griffin, New York. p. 109)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Not Your Typical Mean Girl: Top Five Lydia Quotations from Teen Wolf

I know I’m late to the Teen Wolf party, but I am making up for my tardiness with my enthusiasm! The show is fun, soapy, and at times so over the top it feels like a fever dream. But, most importantly, Teen Wolf has brought Lydia Martin into my life, and for that I will be forever grateful. On first glance, Lydia comes off as a standard pretty, popular girl character: perfect hair and make-up, dating a star athlete, and a little bit mean. But the show gives you little glimpses behind that fa├žade, like when Lydia somehow figures out that it is Allison’s birthday and breaks into her locker to decorate, or when she has perfect bowling form, or when she knows how to construct a Molotov cocktail using materials found in a high school chemistry lab. By the end of the first season, it is clear: Lydia Martin is a secret genius. Here are five of my favorite Lydia quotations.