Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Three books I liked:
Posted by Alysa Stewart
I found myself recommending this one to a friend who asked for SF/F books "for people who don't read SF/F." I recommended it because, though it's about a girl who is born the unlucky thirteenth child of a wizard who must harness her power, it's also about a girl growing up during the westward expansion (magician cowboys!), and figuring out who she is. It's a lovely book, really. Despite there being a lot of action, it doesn't have the feel of an action book. Eff, our protagonist and narrator, is very contemplative. (Also of course it is by Patricia Wrede! Hello we love her remember? Sorcery and Cecilia. Mairelon the Magician, Dealing with Dragons, many Star Wars novelizations...ok I'll stop with the résumé.)
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Not gonna lie -- I kind of despised our main character, Liam, at the beginning of the book. Liam looks old. Not old old. But, he's twelve; and somehow people mistake him for an adult. Why did I despise him? He took advantage of his looks (understandable) to do dangerous things (what, are you crazy?!). As a parent, I was constantly having a heart attack on behalf of his parents. But, as the story progressed, I grew to like him more and more. Loved his way of relating the real world to World of Warcraft. And by the end, I was solidly rooting for Liam to come home alive -- for his own sake as well as his parents'. Liam made me wonder about my twelve year old brother, and how he's coping with being the tall kid.
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
So it was pretty awesome that I won this book in a contest on the author's blog. She keeps a nice blog. I suspected I would like this book, because I liked Sweethearts by her (and also I like her blog, obviously). Once Was Lost is short and intense. Inspired by the real-life disappearance of Elizabeth Smart, Zarr wrote a book about a girl named Sam who doesn't disappear, but one of her acquaintances does. To make matters more complicated, Sam's father is the local (overworked) pastor. Zarr does a great job of portraying complex emotions. The feelings of sudden attachment to something (someone) that's gone missing -- then detachment when you notice everyone else feels attached too. Loving and loathing her parents at the same time, as they make decisions that are tough on her. Feelings of deep spiritual reflection. So, yeah. I guess that makes it seem like a book about feelings. Which I think it is. It was good.