I love Christmas! Christmas & YA seem like they should be an obvious match, a warm & fuzzy union. But there aren’t too many YA Christmas books, the big popular one being Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle (review for that one coming up next). But then this baby was born! It’s a lovely Holiday anthology of cute little novellas. I really enjoyed about seven of them, two were okay, & the others not so much. The genres are sometimes hard to pin down, but the majority of them are contemporary. I’m going to review each individually & then do an overall wrap up. The photos above each review are the chapter illustrations done by Jim Tierney who did the cover. So in order of appearance…
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve only read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell & I loved it because the writing style read very much like an early 2000’s rom-com movie. This was pretty similar, but definitely for a younger reader. Mags slowly develops a friendship turned something-possibly-more with a boy named Noel. It spans several years in twenty-two pages by describing the events that take place each New Year’s Eve party at a fellow friend’s house. The plot was cute, probably one of the better ones in this collection. The characters were incredibly likable. It was a little slow to start, but by about eight pages in it picked up. It’s the perfect start to this book even though it isn’t necessarily Christmas themed, it sets the tone for the type of cheesy stories you’re about to read. Both characters were the slightly flawed, but cutesy type & it felt like the sort of thing most kids can relate to. Continue reading
This is my Wishlist for Christmas 2014! I love getting books as gifts. I feel more obligated to read them then too because somebody thought to buy it for me. But these are books I desperately wanted to buy over the year (or years), but never did for one reason or another. So in no particular order…
Survivor – Chuck Palahniuk: I own pretty much every title Chuck Palahniuk has written. I love his books. When people ask me my favorite authors, he is always mentioned. So since this is one of the few books by him I’ve never read, I need it. I need it now.
House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer: This book has some seriously great reputation proceeding it so I’m hoping it won’t be a let down!
Stardust – Neil Gaiman: I specifically want the gift edition because the cover is immaculate. Continue reading
This book comes puppy recommended.
(Ody is a captious & persnickety reader, mind you)
I love McSweeney’s. I have for quite a long time & yet I never read anything by Dave Eggers. Actually, I’d read his Foreword in Infinite Jest. Honestly, I didn’t like it. It makes the book seem like this insurmountable climb, promising eternal wisdom & a changed outlook on life by the end. Which it is not & does not, but that’s for another review.
My point is, I love McSweeney’s magazine. I read the online stuff because it’s free. The majority of the stuff available is not by Dave Eggers. However, I’m going to stand by this rule & say that if you like the articles there, you will like the humor in this book & as a result, you will laugh when Eggers hopes you’ll laugh. This is important because this book is wracked with emotion.
So I’ll wait while you google some McSweeney articles or click that hyperlink. I’ll recommend, “It’s Decorative Gourd Season Motherfuckers,” but do not think that this has anything to do with the story of AHWOSG.
Back? Cool. The humor in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is probably a bit more meta than anything you just read, but the unironic irony is the same (just read that damn title). The funny bits range from moments where Eggers breaks the fourth wall and starts addressing the reader, to family stories (mostly centering Toph, his younger brother) that make you feel like it could’ve been your own family (but it so totally is not).
This is my review of The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, & Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
For the writing style of a YA novel that everybody seems to think is “unique” I think it was fairly conventional. Right down to the Writing 101 tip: Give your character a signature scent (in this case it’s mint).
However, the storyline was a juxtaposition of the most popular YA genres. It was romance, prep-school-boy, paranormal, thriller, amazingness. I may be biased because I love Gansey. But it’s not just him, all the characters are so lovable. The main protagonist Blue isn’t just a Plain Jane female for you to plop your own image on & live vicariously through. She’s an actual defined character. It’s very clear how the author intended the reader to feel about each character, but in a natural style that’s not forced at all.