of ceiling wax and other things

reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between



when is YA not YA? when it’s a fishbowl

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.

Continue reading “when is YA not YA? when it’s a fishbowl”

it’s how you get there

As with Dex and Lacey in Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman in the 1990s, River Phoenix had my besotted heart somewhere between Sneakers and My Own Private Idaho. So when I came across Last Night at the Viper Room by Gavin Edwards, I had to read it. And the reading hurt. Not so much remembering my teenage infatuation, but remembering those I’ve lost and the drugs that did it. Remembering the first time I watched Drugstore Cowboy and what we went on to do.

Continue reading “it’s how you get there”

release and forever

I read Release by Patrick Ness (Walker Books, 2017) a while back and Forever by Judy Bloom (1975) even further back, although when I was an adult and a kids/teen librarian. (I’m no longer one of these things, most likely the former.)

Ness wrote his masterful exploration of homophobia, sex and strange paranormal happenings with inspiration from Forever. In 2015 the two bantered as the headline act at the Young Adult Literary Convention in London. In Sex in YA Danielle Binks wrote about the influence of Forever on the depiction of sex in YA books published after 1975.

Continue reading “release and forever”

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

Continue reading “inky words”

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?

Continue reading “girl you’ll be a woman soon”

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

Continue reading “we have to talk”

A Book? What’s that!?

Liz B, blogger at Pop Goes the Library and A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, commented on the LISNews post Ten Librarian Blogs to Read in 2010.

Hang out a little bit in library-land, and you’ll soon hear the talk about books.

Or, rather, not about books.

Yes, libraries are about more than books. I totally agree. No argument there.

But it does disappoint that ‘more than books’ has become ‘not about books.’

Continue reading “A Book? What’s that!?”

Inky Goodness

Matata the reading Bengal cat by Justin Atkins on Flickr The longlist for the 2009 Inkys has been out for a while, but I’m experiencing some thesis induced insanity at the moment and the Inkys just remind me of all that YA reading I have to catch up on. You may notice Matata the reading cat has a predilection for classics, but she’s not averse to YA in between. I think she could out-read Inky the dog any day of the week.

When I first saw the list I thought the best book of recent times, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, outranked everything else, even the books I hadn’t read :P

Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki But then I read Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki which utterly captivated me and The Hunger Games moved down my list. I hadn’t noticed Skim was on the Inkys list at first, but how could such a masterpiece of word and image (my two fav things) not be. I didn’t think its graphic novel-ness was the deciding factor in my opinion. But perhaps it was because it’s the combination of the words and pictures which I love so much, especially the full and double page spreads of illustration, with Skim’s diary creeping across the scene. My favourite is Skim and Lisa trying to summon the dead boy’s spirit in the woods, and missing him because they’re facing the wrong way (right). Its partial repetition on the end papers makes for a beautiful book design.

My favourite words in Skim are repeated in the blurb. The Inkys page also has them, but they missed the most important line (you can’t trust a dog with ink on his paws)

I had a dream
I put my hands
inside my chest
and held my heart

to try to keep it still

The unusual angles, tantalizingly crossed out words of Skim’s diary and obscuring of Skim’s face so much of the time, until she finds herself and an unexpected friend, combine to make a work of art on a very different level to The Hunger Games. And I much preferred the UK/Aust cover to the Canadian.

Continue reading “Inky Goodness”

The Inkys are out there

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.

airship over manhattan by scott westerfeld 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 :)

Continue reading “The Inkys are out there”

Blog at

Up ↑