You're never too busy to read

I like reading and I like writing about the books I read. Best of all, I like to try to find books that other people might like to read. It's all about the reading and the writing and the sharing of books.

Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Man Made Boy - Jon Skovron

Difficult to define, even more difficult to describe. Skovron's canvas is epic in imagination and scope. He doesn't pick with the little stuff, choosing instead the big big everythings - themes, mythic resonances, characters, story, romance and family. It's got it all. 

Boy is such a good boy. Even when he's (trying to be) bad, he's fighting his moral fibre. But he takes a while to sort out where he's headed. I like that he sets out anyway, not sure of his plans, his destination or his future. He's realistic, but still wondering. He makes mistakes, and eventually tries to fix them. He falls in love, once, twice, no three times (a lady). Oh it's fantastical, it's quirky, it's sad.

At the centre of it all is the question of creation, and what it means to be alive. I told you - he's all about the big stuff.

This is weird and wonderful, and if you have those intelligent left-of-centre readers in your library, then you know just who to give it to.

Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

Wise Young Fool - Sean Beaudoin

I have all of Beaudoin's books in my library. it makes sense - his main characters are all teenage boys facing up to some pretty serious life issues. He loves playing around with genre and they are smart & funny.

Well, I imagine they all are. This is the first one I have read & I loved every bit of it.

It was long, and he does the thing where we switch between two time lines. One where Ritchie is doing time in a juvenile detention centre for 90 days. Only we don't know why he's there. Alternating with this, is the lead up to the incarceration. Here we meet his best bud El Hella, his mother and her recently acquired girl friend, Looper. And we learn that the boys want to enter a rock competition.

It's complicated, messy, hilarious and poignant. Ritchie is a great voice. A mixture of angry, scared and lonely. He writes great lyrics and desperately desires the gorgeous Ravenna. Lots is going on. There is never a dull moment. And some are quite tense.

It's wonderful and clever. Highly recommended.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl deals with a lot of different issues, and intertwines the serious (mother leaving children, too much partying, and bi-polar issues), with the geeky and (dare I say?) frivolous (fan-fiction obsession, online communities and crazy book-series love) in a clever and detailed narrative. 

Cather & Wren (get it?) are identical twins who have just moved into college dorm rooms. Wren is determined to strike out on her own and establish independence from Cath who narrates the story. Cath is less self-assured and doesn't cope well with change. Instead of asking her new room-mate, hostile and sharp Reagan where the dinning hall is, she lives on protein bars and peanut butter for the first 2 months. 


I loved every bit of it. I loved the world of Simon Snow and its excerpts and Cath's own fan-fiction. I loved Levi and his clunky attempts to woo Cath, and the heavy bits about Wren and the way Cath refuses to accept Laura back into her life, and Simon and Bas, and Cath's fervent discussion with her professor about the value of fan--fiction. And just everything really.


 My kind of book.


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

I found this strange and elusive. I was never sure if I was meant to sympathise with the vampires or not. Even though Tana is determined to remain human despite all the odds against that, she falls for a vampire, so there is that tension all the way through the narrative.

Tana is quite different from the other girls in the book. Many were just fangirls, who want to hang out with the 'Cold Ones'. Others want to be turned. Tana just wants to get back to her family. And she wants to save people. She is brave and selfless. Her journey, although sometimes slow, is worth going on with her because she has such strong values.

This vampire-romance-road-trip story is also sort of a dystopian novel. Tana talks about the end of the world. And we see the lengths that governments go to, to protect the innocents. It's pretty crazy in Tana's world. Black makes salient points too, about some of the issues facing modern society: Reality TV and the making of celebrities comes under scrutiny, as does baring all on the Internet.

I always wonder how Holly Black will manage the impossible of allowing her two romantic leads to find a way to be together because she does such a great job of setting up the obstacles between them. But this resolution is kinda perfect in a perfectly awful way.

I really don't know how to recommend this. I am not even sure she pulls it off. It's dense and slow and complex, and to be honest, a little confusing. But maybe that's your thing?

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

WILD CARDS - Simone Elkeles

This is unashamed romance YA at its best. Ashtyn and Derek are clearly meant for each other, but there are a number of obstacles standing in their way: Most obviously their own inability to trust others.


Derek's life had been chaos ever since his mother died two years ago. Ashtyn's just been made captain of the football team pipping her own boyfriend out of the position. When they find they have to live with each other, the sparks that fly are mostly antagonism, but not all.


It is a dual narrative, so we are given both points of view. Secrets are revealed slowly and their growing attraction is dealt with cautiously. Towards the end, the book ramps up the smexy scale, and although it remains reasonably PG rated, it was still hot!


I haven't read any Elkeles' books before, but I can see she has quite a following. And why not? There are great snarky lines, Ashtyn isn't a walkover - she's tough and still feminine, and the boys are flawed and trying hard to do the right thing. Maybe Landon is a bit of a stereotypical jealous ex-boyfriend, however, there was motivation behind his horrible actions, and there's still time for his comeuppance.


Yeah, it's a number one. I find these contemporary books that turn into series quite interesting. We do have the beautifully choreographed grand gesture which ensures a satisfactory end for us romantics, but it was abrupt and the football storyline was left unresolved. I wanted to see Derek play, and Ashtyn have success with her chosen sport, so I am glad to see there will be a second book published.


Currently reading

The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
More Than This
Patrick Ness