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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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LGBTQIA

forgetting yourself

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books, 2015)

How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Forgetting Foster by Dianne Touchell (Allen & Unwin, 2016)

I recently read these three books featuring a character with Alzheimer’s disease. Unbecoming and Forgetting Foster were both for my book group. I only just finished Unbecoming, a year later!? Fellow book groupers know more about the condition because they’ve cared for family members with it. Karen told us a person can die from it, which I never knew.

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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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Clancy of the Undertow

Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie (Text Publishing, 2015) was longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. I started reading before the shortlist was announced last week, but it didn’t make the final five. Don’t let this stop you reading Clancy’s disaster of a life.

“My face must be scrunching up like it does when I let my train of thought run me over.”

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inky words

This year’s 2017 Inky Awards Longlist is here

The Inky Awards Longlist came out in March and some of my fav books of the past year were included. The Shortlist will be announced next month and I’m looking forward to seeing what makes it.

Clancy of the Undertow

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the flywheel

The Flywheel by Erin Gough (Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015) was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers 2016 and longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. Did it made the Inky longlist due to cameos from the Marx Brothers?

“Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

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the day the music died

“Never be sorry, never be frightened, never be careful – those were the rules of Lacey. Play by the rules, win the game: Never be alone.”

I agree with Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman (HarperCollins, 2016), the Cure is the universal cure for all that ails us. Just reliving my teenage years over here. You know you’re old when you experienced the time of historical fiction! Ok so my highschool years weren’t quite as action packed, but The Screaming Trees, Urge Overkill, Sonic Youth and Kurt were the soundtrack to my soul. And River Phoenix had my besotted heart somewhere between Sneakers and My Own Private Idaho.
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diversity checkmark

“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.”

So said Miriam Forster on Jennifer Laughran’s tumblr. Related to Hannah Gómez’s tweets about the diversity checkmark in book reviews.

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.

reading dog

You are the light of the world

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Things happened. Things changed. A girl full of light could get that light snuffed out, and when everything around her was dark, she could roll up in a ball and ignore the whole world, starting with her best friend.

I decided to read Shine by Lauren Myracle (Amulet Books, May 2011) because a few years ago I read ttyl and liked it. I hadn’t even read the blurb of Shine and expected something light and fun, um no. Since I’d only read one of LM’s books I wondered if her books were diverse, but someone on twitter said Shine was very different from LM’s other books. And I agree, Shine is amazing. It’s more like the books I usually read, full of angst and heartache, so I was quite at home, despite initially expecting something different. And Lauren Myracle has quite a way with her words, my favourite kind of author.
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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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