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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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depression

when multiple POVs read the same

This year I read two books with multiple points of view and was disappointed in both at the sameness of the voices. Perhaps the shear scale of each let them down: seven and five POVs is a lot to juggle.

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When We Collided

I started reading When We Collided by Emery Lord (Bloomsbury, 2016) thinking, how could I like a book that seems to be the sad little sister of I’ll Give You the Sun, has a protagonist named after my grandma, who’s throwing her meds in the sea instead of her  mouth. Vivi and Jonah had much to teach me about making assumptions (will I ever learn??)

Vivi is in Verona Cove for the summer with her artist mother, making the most of the loan of a beach-front, modernist bungalow.

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pausing at the edge

The Pause by John Larkin

I knew what I was getting into when I read The Pause by John Larkin. Ok, I only borrowed it from the library because it was long-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers 2016. After reading the blurb, I momentarily considered sending it right back, instead I stepped into the void, knowing full well the consequences of my folly.

If, like me, reading about suicide is triggering, you might want to turn back now and never pick up The Pause. Or you could forge ahead and see if you come out the other side. I did!

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letter to Maureen McCarthy

Stay With Me by Maureen McCarthy

Today I read The Unfinished Bookshelf’s Q&A with Maureen McCarthy about her inspiration for Stay With Me. Yesterday I read Allen & Unwin’s blog about Maureen McCarthy’s book launch in early May. I liked Stay With Me, but if I read these two blogs before posting my review, I might have blogged about my horror at what Maureen McCarthy said about mental illness at her book launch.

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we have to talk

This isn’t a book review, i’ll get back to regularly scheduled reviewing when it’s not the middle of the night and I’m not asleep, again.

Cider and Wicca showing me how to sleep

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what do you see in me?

whatever. maura can snort until all the brain-mucus has left her head and pooled at her feet. i will not respond.

the trevor project I just discovered Will Grayson, Will Grayson by those gods of the letter John Green and David Levithan is the first YA novel with a gay main character to make it to the New York Times Best Seller List. Lee Wind told me this while spreading news of a new online book club for LGBTQ teenagers at The Trevor Project. The first book is Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, but who cares about that when the book club will officially launch with Will Grayson, Will Grayson on April 29. Woohoo!! Get reading if you haven’t already. I done my homework and how could I not love those two Wills? I did, it’s just Will2’s depression made things somewhat distressing.
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This is Sam

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson I wish your shadow would get up and walk beside me

That’s not quite what Lennie in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson wrote in her grief for her sister. It’s what I want in my grief for my friend the Grasshopper who died four weeks ago. I don’t understand how the sun continues to rise and set after Sam’s death, like nothing has happened. But when I think of his shadow walking beside me, I remember Sam’s smile and smile with him. Sam Cropley went by many names, but I’ll stick to Sam to lessen confusion.

The Saturday after his 29th birthday Sam and I talked a lot on the phone, him being in Melb and me in Perth. I was the last person he talked to and people have asked me what he said. I’ve found it hard to tell them because by our last convo he hardly said anything. And our previous convos during the day were our usual random inanity that only we cared about – the posters he was putting up, walls, cool things left on the side of the road, trees, ponds, stupid jokes about sticks. I can talk the clouds down from the sky and sometimes my job description was to do that in his ear to stop him going crazy. That day our roles were reversed.

painting stained glass in his last job
painting stained glass in his last job

I now realise it wasn’t the words Sam said that mattered, it was what his phone calls to me on that day said about the person Sam was. He would have done the same for any one he knew, if you’d needed what I needed that day. What he did for me is what made him Sam: a beautiful, generous person who always considered others before himself. As Jack put it

He always looked out for me and he would always make sure that I was happy and comfortable well before himself. A true big brother

My sk8 dog Sheeba died that Saturday 11 December. She had a malignant tumour on her leg and I had her put down. She was only sick for a week and on the day she died Sam phoning me so many times helped me more than anything. He knew how important Sheeba was to me. She was my silver princess, my Holly White, always spinning circles for me. Sam wanted to distract me and catch his contagious happiness, which I did. In between my tears for Sheebie, Sam made me smile more than I thought I could on such a day.

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