First an invitation: I'll be doing a live chat Wed. 9/23 at My Friend Amy's blog, 9 PM EST, 8 PM CST, 6 PM PST as part of my Dreaming Anastasia world domination blog tour. I'd love you to stop by and join in the fun as I talk about DA and whatever else comes up! http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/
And now on to the post:
Somewhere in between the relentless pace lately - not that I'm complaining, just observing - I've had to shut things down on occasion and just read. Does anyone else do this? (I know you do. Just fess up!) When the going gets too rough, I retreat with a book for a bit and I'm always better for it.
Not quite done yet with Megan Frazer's debut YA The Secrets of Truth and Beauty, but it is lovely. Dara Cohen discovers that she had a sister, Rachel, that her parents have kept a secret from her. Mom and Dad have deemed Rachel dangerous. Unstable. Whatever happened with Rachel was a rebellious teenager - before Dara was born - it was enough to sever the ties irrevocably. When an incident over a school autobiography project triggers Dara's own conflict with her weight, her life, and her distant and demanding parents, she searches out Rachel. What follows is a journey for everyone involved.
I am loving this book. Frazer's prose is sharp; her narrative skills impressive. She's got a keen eye for characterization, such as the moment when Dara first sees Rachel and notes the few strands of grey in her hair, thus letting the reader know that the years have taken their toll. Or the moment when Rachel realizes exactly how much she'd been cut out of her family. Heart-breaking stuff, but also, I'm sensing, ultimtately uplifting and life-affirming.
I won the ARC of this one at an SCBWI meeting in June, but hadn't gotten to it yet. Now I'm just frustrated that I don't have time to just read and read.
Of course, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver continues to stick in my mind, too. That scene in the candy store. Oh my! Werewolf loving. Passion, passion, passion. And just a darn good storytelling ride.
And my beloved 2k9er's are slamming into the fall YA scene right now. Megan Crewe's Give Up the Ghost is amazing. Cass sees dead people. Including her own sister. The living "breathers" as she calls them - well, they're not quite as fun. But Cass learns to embrace life in Megan's tale, even as she both uses and helps the ghosts around her. I loved Cass because she seemed totally real to me - prickly and unlovable some of the time. It made me love her all the more. This is a great paranormal read and I adored how Megan set up the perameters of what ghosts could and couldn't do.
Lauren Bjorkman - who has had an amazing life during which she actually spent some of her childhood years living a sailboat! - is about to release "My Invented Life," which is also on my to read list and as far as I can tell, witty and funny and thoughtful all at once. Here's the synopsis:
Roz and Eva are sisters, friends, and rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and landing sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly, a few obstacles stand between her and her dream. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Inquiring minds need to know.
Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.
MY INVENTED LIFE is set in small California high school during the rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy.
And finally, October brings Lauren Strasnick's Nothing Like You - the story of Holly Hirsch, grieving for the death of her mother, who can't let go of a one night stand with Paul and whose life spirals out of control from there. I've read the ARC of this one twice - it was just that moving.
So here's to a little reading therapy! When the going gets tough, the reader in me just curls up and lets someone else tell the stories for awhile.
Til next time..