of ceiling wax and other things

reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between


Text Publishing

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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waiting for…

Note: this is slightly spoilery. if that bothers you, read until you get to the dog, then stop. Dogs always sidetrack me.

“Everything in Mobius stretched to reach the light: we built our houses on stilts, our trees grew tall and spindly, our shadows were long.”

When you’re stuck between yesterday and tomorrow, where is there to go? Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing, 2015) was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers 2016 and longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. I’m hopeful of winning all round!

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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

The Minnow

The Minnow by Diana Sweeney I love beautifully designed books and The Minnow by Diana Sweeney is exquisite. The book’s designer Imogen Stubbs has been shortlisted for the Young Designer of the Year Award in the 2015 Australian Book Design Awards. Her body of work at Text led to her nomination, and it’s the picture spread across the covers that makes this my favourite of Stubbs’ work (although her cover for The Lost Child by Suzanne McCourt intrigues me).

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where angels lust

Shadows by Paula Weston I wrote this review of Shadows Book I of The Rephaim by Paula Weston in June 2012, in time for the book’s release in July 2012. I have no idea why I never posted it, but here it is. Sorry for my tardiness Text Publishing and Paula Weston, it will probably happen again.

Paula Weston will be at Gold Coast Supanova this weekend.

Shadows is a “kick-arse paranormal romance” about fallen angels. I try to keep far away from paranormal romance, mainly due to those sparkly vampires. I’ve never read any of the angel brigade of paranormal romance and I wasn’t about to start with Shadows, but it was sitting in front of me so I did. If they’re all like this I may have to change my ways. Shadows is most definitely kick-arse but I wouldn’t call it a romance. There’s a lot of lust, but pining over someone and waiting to be saved? Not so much. Of course, my definition of romance may only be more of my prejudice, perhaps I don’t like that a book I enjoyed is a romance!?

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when finding an angel in the creek, run the other way

Sally Rippin is a talented artist and has many picture books to her name, including The Race for the Chinese Zodiac which has just been named by the Children’s Book Council of Australia as a Notable Picture Book for 2011. Congratulations! Sally Rippin’s talents extend to writing and Angel Creek is a delightful little read, perfect for a dreamy day down by the creek. Hopefully you won’t find an angel there. While you might think it would be delightful, it really wouldn’t.
Angel Creek by Sally Rippin

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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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If you don’t like the night, leave

‘He’s a dickhead, that’s what he is.’
‘What sort? There are many different varieties.’

This is Shyness

This is Shyness by Leanne Hall won the 2009 Text Prize for YA and Children’s Writing. How could it not with lines like that!?

I would have blogged about Shyness in time for its release on 2 August, many weeks ago, but some very malevolent monsters got in the way, and they were in no way pretty, whatsoever. These words could still be sitting somewhere in the nether regions of the network if not for one angry mother and a grasshopper. It’s good to get your emotions out, but I really don’t think the grasshopper had any business handing out advice after the txts he sent me a week ago (altho I’ve since got him back). As much as I’d like to I can’t repeat those txts here because I’ve never encountered an angry grasshopper and now’s not the time to start. While receiving the grasshopper’s wisdom I even got some healthy eating tips which may have been caused by him watching me devour a whole pizza. That night was an interesting occurrence as the grasshopper lives in the vicinity of Shyness and I live on the other side of the universe continent. The pizza banquet may have been due to a glitch in the space time continuum or perhaps modern air travel. As well as pizza there were many skulls at the banquet, but I’m kind of going off topic.

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The Space after Pretty Monsters

There’s a reason why movie theatres don’t encourage people to bring their goats.

I read Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link weeks ago and meant to blog about it before its 31 May release, unfortunately a strange encounter befell me, which could have jumped from the pages of Pretty Monsters.

shiny red apple by Dano on Flickr I met an old crone and she offered me an apple, the likes of which I had never seen before. Its ruby luster promised delicitude I’d never tasted, how could I refuse? And she wanted nothing in return. I took a bite, smiling my thanks for her generosity, but a nagging feeling of déjà vu tangled in the back of my mind. Then I fell into a deep sleep, perhaps never to wake again. No princes round here, but lucky for me a fallen angel texted me some lines from Danté’s Inferno. My phone has the loudest, most annoying txt noise ever. Sometimes it makes me jump if it’s near my ear. Obviously I woke up and Danté jolted that chunk of apple right out of my throat and I spat it on the ground. Danté’s good like that. Sheeba the sk8 dog* sniffed it, but she refuses to eat apple. So now I was awake and could blog again. If you’ve emailed me recently and are waiting desperately for a reply, now you know why I haven’t, but might one day.

After loving The Wrong Grave earlier in the year I was very excited to get my paws on Pretty Monsters, again with illustrations, sorry decorations, by Shaun Tan. The Australian editions are from Text Publishing. They’re publishing lots of cool US titles. Although we have to wait (2 years!?), they are much nicelyer produced with real white paper, not that grey crap they fob off on cheap US paperbacks, and bindings that stay bound – who’d o thought.

Continue reading “The Space after Pretty Monsters”

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