All right. I admit it. I failed. I didn’t QUITE make my book quota this month. I AM on a deadline (which I also didn’t make) so that’s a pretty good excuse. But despite my shortcomings I read some pretty interesting books this month. Here’s the run down:
One book written for adults and one genre:
FIEND by Peter Stenson
I got this as an ARC at ALA in January, drawn to the wicked cool cover and to the dark and nasty synopsis. Meth, addiction, zombies. Where do I sign? In a sense this book didn’t disappoint. It was just as dark and nasty as the cover blurb promises. Maybe more so. This is very graphic and visceral. Lots of talk of bodily functions, decay, illness, vomiting and the daily reality of severe meth addiction drove me quickly through the pages. Then there were the zombies – which were the usual mindless flesh eating drones. And I guess we’re supposed to find the analogy between meth addiction and zombies to be a little overwrought.I certainly did. Chase is an interesting, conflicted character, struggling with what addiction has done to his moral life. But I found the zombies a bit distracting; I don’t think they were even necessary. And because they were mindless drones I wasn’t really all that interested in them. I think now that the world has Isaac Marion’s WARM BODIES, the mindless zombie is a bit five minutes ago. The crisis Chase faces in this could really have been anything – a hurricane, an alien invasion. It didn’t matter. And antagonists should matter. I wasn’t expecting a HEA and I didn’t get one, but this book ended up leaving me a little cold. But maybe it’s coldness works for it. There’s nothing romantic about FIEND. This is one for fans of FIGHT CLUB and TRAINSPOTTING. Not for kids but recommended to boys 16 and up.
FIEND will be published July 9th.
One Middle Grade:
DEAR GEORGE CLOONEY, PLEASE MARRY MY MOM by Susin Nielson
I really loved Nielson’s most recent book, THE RELUCTANT JOURNAL OF HENRY K LARSON, so when I spotted this one at the library I snapped it up. It took me a few chapters to get into this, and a few more chapters to start liking the snarky protagonist, Violet. Nielson is very good at creating complex realistic yet still entertaining characters and stories. This one leaves several things unresolved. Several characters are slightly mysterious. Nothing really ties up neatly. And yet the story concludes in a very satisfying way. I would recommend this to older middle graders who want a witty reality based read.
One non fiction:
I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
One of my tweeps tweeted about this book and I immediately sought it out and devoured it in one sitting. What an amazing adventure, an amazing and heartbreaking love story, a devastating look at drug and alcohol addiction, and an insiders peek at the world of high art drag queens. This book has it all and then some. This was a 5/5 star read.
One collection of poems:
HEART TO HEART edited by Jan Greenburg
I read this collection at the beginning of the month and to be honest I don’t remember much about it, except that it has clearly taught me to review things a soon as I read them. This poetry collection thing is going to kill me.
One graphic novel:
#08 A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN (MY BOYFRIEND IS A MONSTER) by Trina Robbins, Nu Studio Xian (Illustrations)
I requested this from Netgalley. One thing I’m struggling with in regards to graphic novels is how to read them. If they come in Kindle format I can read them on the iPad, which is fine. But this one was a PDF and DRM protected. So I can only read it from Adobe Digital Editions. which only downloads to my black and white Kobo Touch. And the screen is too small to enjoy a graphic novel. So I have to read from my desktop computer. Which is fine if the graphic novel is short like this one, but…I wish I could figure out a solution to this.
Anyway, this was very cute in a very wholesome way. Points for the racial diversity. Points lost for the (almost) Rape Rescue Fantasy (WTF?). Points gained back for the counter stereotype biker gang. I don’t even know what to do about the points for the semi-sympathetic and oddly balanced treatment of an abusive spouse. The artwork was lovely, and Gabriel was a delightfully androgynous love interest that tweens will swoon over I’m sure. This book also gave me my first ever LOL moment in a graphic novel, in the moment after Gabriel reveals his true nature.
I don’t know why I found it so funny. Something about an angel being so teenage just cracked me up.
This is part of a series that I’m kind of ashamed to say I really like to check out. The book came out April 1st.
One pre-20th Century historical:
FAIL! I did not get to this one. Part of the problem is that historical books tend to be so HEAVY and I can’t do heavy all the time. Give me light historical. Someone please?
One verse novel:
THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder
Another lovely novel in verse by Lisa Schroeder never goes astray. I really enjoyed the contained nature of this story and the backstories driving these characters. Were they a little too perfect? I think so, but Schroeder’s books are sort of antithetical to some of the dark and nasty YA that’s out there (which I also love, don’t get me wrong). A sweet story, very cleverly paced, romantic, light but a bit mysterious. It’s easy to see why Schroeder’s books are such a hit with young readers. This one went down like pink lemonade on a hot day.
Another month, another pile of books. Life goes on.