“According to my mother, no book is only a book. A book can improve your mind or it can break it.”
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (Balzer+Bray 2019) is amazing. It broke my heart and mind at every turn.
“Representation and diversity are not buzzwords or trends or something you do to experiment or to ‘be nice.’ They are important and vital necessities to storytelling and should be approached with respect and consideration and humility. Something you work on because you genuinely want to make the world a better place for others.”
It reminded me of a VOYA review of Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. Brugman’s writing is spectacular, Solo is one of my fav books and I really liked Alex as Well. Malinda Lo blogged about Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews last year. VOYA’s review of Alex as Well horrified me. Lo said,
This review presents this critique especially bluntly (emphasis added):
“The topic of intersex individuals and those with gender identity issues is receiving much attention lately, in news as well as in young adult literature. Alex’s story is certainly distressing, and teens need more resources on these topics. This novel, however, is overwrought and comes across as a cautionary tale of worst-case scenarios. Limiting the book to a few core issues would have made it more genuine and heartfelt. Sadly, it comes across as an afterschool special. Recommend this title to teens requesting books on gender identity issues only if they have read everything else in the collection.” — VOYA review of Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
Excuse me!?! Malinda Lo continues:
“I don’t have any definitive proof that there’s an invisible ceiling on the number of issues a YA novel can contain, but reviews such as those above do police the boundaries of what is acceptable in a realistic YA novel.”
What she said. Read Alex as Well now. You’re welcome.
I have depression and when writing my thesis it was particularly bad. I came to the disconcerting conclusion that I couldn’t write a single coherent thesis sentence, but I could read book, after book, after book. Sadly none of these books were part of my lit review. Runaways is listed in my Literature Cited (as opposed to my Reference List) but reading all the vols I’ve got one after the other without a break in between (and this wasn’t the first time, so I already knew what happened) didn’t improve my thesis.
After whinging to my doctor about my inability to write a thesis, but my perfect ability to read a book (as long as it had no connection to my thesis) he told me that while depression makes thinking complex thesis thoughts pretty much impossible, reading, for me, is as automatic as breathing. This leads to the interesting hypothesis that if I stopped reading would I stop breathing? For my continued existence I’m not going to test that one out.
The longlist for the 2008 Inkys has been released. Not being a teenager, I can’t vote, but I can opinionate. I was looking through the list, thinking, how many books have I not read? but it was mainly the first few I’ve missed/couldn’t be bothered with. My to-read list has grown.
Obviously I think Extras by Scott Westerfeld should win. I preferred his three previous ones, but the theme of beauty being the reason for existence is still there. Fame is added as another reason, with similar consequences if it’s all you live for. Westerfeld’s onto other topics for his next book, which I’m glad of. As much as I love the Uglies series, it could only be stretched so far. And thank you to Mr Wester for providing pics for the stealing. If you’re thinking (like me) the above photo looks kind of photoshopped, click on the larger version and it looks more realistic, but I’m still not totally convinced :)