I found Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Bloomsbury, 2017) in the YA section of my local bookshop. I’d seen it around Goodreads and liked the vibrant cover and the premise, so I bought it. It took me almost a year to start reading and while laughing uncontrollably, I’m confused by the whole YA thing.
“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”
Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is a love letter to books and reading, the counterpoint to Graffiti Moon, a love letter to Art. Who wouldn’t love a story set in a second hand bookstore, starring a library of love letters secreted within the pages of beloved books.
“‘My daddy sometimes hurts Mamma,’ she tells Harry, apropos of nothing.”
Maureen McCarthy’s Stay With Me is a haunting portrayal of the horrors of love spirally into violence and heart-wrenching terror. Tess is on the run from an abusive partner with her three year old daughter Nellie, terrified, confused and not thinking with the sharpness she used to.
Four years later, I finally read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (but before the movie is released next year). If I had known the book is illustrated with incredibly dark depths by Jim Kay, I might have read this stunning convergence of word and image sooner. Siobhan Dowd died in 2007 and A Monster Calls would have been her fifth book. She had the premise and characters, but not enough time. I read and loved her amazing Bog Child in 2008. Patrick Ness’s development of her ideas into the finished A Monster Calls is a heart-wrenching memorial to Siobhan Dowd.