Monday, May 22, 2006

Three weeks, four books

It's the beginning of week three. Week one was a pure adrenaline blur, week two suffered under a cloud of exaustion, I'm thinking week three might begin to suggest shades of a normal rhythm. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out where writing/blogging fits into the new schedule. So in an attempt to stall for time, instead of a post or two with thoughts on the new job, my plans to raise a ruckus on ALA Council, and details of the agony of apartment hunting in San Francisco, I'll just share a few books that I've read during my lovely train commute:

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. Despite the awful title (you know it's bad when you can't remember the title even though you're a hundred pages into the darn thing), I really enjoyed this one. Two parts sci-fi, one part fantasy. Futuristic yet technologically backwards cities on wheels roam around gobbling up suburbs in acts of "municipal darwinism." Add a dash of the usual: an evil plot, a dastardly villain, and a couple of clever kids who must save the day. Adventure ensues. The ending impressed me by not doing what I expected. Evidently, it's a series and there are more books on the way. (Thanks for the suggestion, Steve.)

Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison. Sassy girl detective who makes fun of Nancy Drew at every opportunity. A little bit of romance, but not the sappy kind. More of a carrot that's dangled in front of your nose, always maddeningly just out of reach (but in a good way). The characters are all over the top in that hyper-real, beautiful rich kid way...just let the parallel universe wash over you and don't dwell on the fact that most high schoolers don't get chauffeured around in white strech limos. This book impressed me by having gay characters and not making it a BIG DEAL. I found this book by stumbling onto the author's blog.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. Okay, so the gay thing is a BIG DEAL in this one, but that's kinda the whole point. A small group of gay teens start a club to talk about what it's like to feel alone. The characters aren't perfect, they make bad choices and eventually learn from their mistakes, but not in a preachy annoying way. The style is conversational, like you're listening in on a really good gossip session. Like most good books, it's not a one trick pony. There's more here than just the gay stuff, there's a whole lot of life stuff, too...friendships, love, bullying, peer pressure.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters. Luna's a boy who's really a girl, and up until now she's mostly hidden it from the rest of the world. Her sister Reagan acts as confidant, shrink, and narrator, which makes for an interesting look at the ripple effect of Luna's struggle to live as her true self. There's a nice girl-boy romance here, too. I cried a little at the end.


At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Esteban said...

Anytime, Doll!

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Reece said...

Awesome! I love Geography Club! Such a great book.
I think Luna is important because there aren't almost any YA novels with transgender characters in them, but I wish the focus of it wasn't on how hard the situation was for Luna's sister, but was on Luna herself.

At 6:06 AM, Blogger plentyo'moxie said...

liked geography club, did not like the sequel order of the poison oak - it was just kinda lame and waaaay to obvious for me. but my kids like it. my glbtq kids will eat up anything they can vaguely relate to, it seems, and I don't blame them.

i was going to post (before i clicked through from my aggregator and saw reece's comments) that one of the aspects of Luna that I love so much (and there is a lot to love) is the fact that the story comes from the sister's perspective, and talks about the internal conflict that those close to a transgendered person can sometimes go through, that combination of total love and support and frustration with also having to battle the world. I appreciate reece's comment, though, in that there aren't other books out there to provide the first person experience. Still, knowing someone going through the process is probably the more relatable aspect of that book v. being a transgendered person themselves - statistics kinda thing. Luna is way up on my list of GLBTQ ya.


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