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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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sexuality

life in poetry

“She thought she was running toward home, but she was mistaken. She ran until she was dead tired.”

It’s been too long since I read a verse novel. Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (Greenwillow Books, 2016) reminded me of my love for them. As lyrical as it is heart-breaking, everything I could ask for in radiant words.

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girl you’ll be a woman soon

“The sun dips toward the horizon and the wind blows cold over the waves, as the sky blazes red and darkness gathers around the girls, neither of them knowing how little time they have left before the fire goes out.”

Note: this has spoilers

After finishing Girls on Fire (HarperCollins, 2016) I was surprised to discover this is Robin Wasserman’s first book for adults. I assumed it was YA because that’s where my library shelved it and I think it’s YA. I wonder if the sex makes the prudish mainstream US publishing industry think it won’t sell as YA. Don’t they know teenagers have sex?

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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

What Now Tilda B?

What Now Tilda B? by Kathryn Lomer

Fifteen and on the brink, that’s what Mum says about me. On the brink. Like it’s the continental shelf or something. On the brink of what? I want to yell. A rich and meaningful life? Disaster?

What Now, Tilda B? by Kathryn Lomer centres around Tilda Braint who isn’t sure what she’ll do after Year 10. Her boyfriend Jamie wants to go all the way and her family is disintegrating before her eyes, even with her brother Lukie’s efforts at hypnosis.

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