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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.’
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.
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 :)