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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The Walls Around Us (are pretty darn impressive)

The Walls Around Us coverThe Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma
Algonquin Books for Young Readers, March 2015
Reviewed from final e-copy

Finally! In The Walls Around Us, Suma has delivered the book I wanted back when I first read Imaginary Girls. It’s got the good stuff I knew to expect — her wordsmithing really is excellent (my notes use the effusive words “lush” and “sensual”), she slides between fantasy and reality with a slippery grace — and those qualities works together perfectly with the complicated plot and seriously broken characters.

In short, I was blown away by this one.

However, within a few weeks of finishing the book I felt this vague sense of distaste and wasn’t really singing its praises very loudly, because we have here a book that is excellently written but (much like The Tightrope Walkers) not entirely likeable.

I blame Violet. I hated her with a depth characters can’t often evoke, because she’s written that well.

The again, and luckily, likeability isn’t at all an issue for the Printz, while good writing is, which makes this one a serious contender.

[Read more…]

Roundup: Girls in Crisis

Double feature crisis show!

Today we’ve got not one but two — TWO! — reviews for the price of one click. Really, these two books — Fat Angie and 17 & Gone — have very little in common, but they are both March pubs and have some thematic overlap, dealing as they do with girls in distress. Not damsels in distress, but the kind of deep-seated internal anguish that is too often intrinsic to teen girls, saddled as they are with expectations and beliefs and the need to always be aware.

[Read more…]

Sarah’s Top 5

Karyn has talked about this before — the conundrum you face when you really love a book but eventually have to admit that it’s flawed. I mean, maybe you email your committee about [REDACTED] and they respond politely at first, promising to take a look. But then you keep emailing and eventually someone, someone, has to respond and say, “Sarah, it’s a fun read but what about [REDACTED]? And you know, I had trouble believing [REDACTED]. And the [REDACTED] really just didn’t work, either, and I’m not even going to get into the [REDACTED].”

That’s when personal top five lists can come in really handy; you get to acknowledge — even celebrate — your baggage and then you can try to stuff it back in the closet and refocus on committee work. [Read more…]

Imaginary Conversations

We thought we’d have a conversation about Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. It’s been getting enthusiastic reviews  (four of them starred), including a spoiler-free write up from the esteemed Liz B. And then we had a quick chat about it over the phone and we realized….we suspect that we totally agree, which may or may not make for an interesting blog post. Let’s see what we’ve got!

The plot: It’s about sisters Chloe and Ruby, who live in a small town in upstate New York. When Chloe finds the dead body of classmate London Hayes in the reservoir, she leaves her small town and her magnetic, larger-than-life sister to live with her absentee father. She returns to her town, and to Ruby, two years later to find things largely unchanged. Her mother is still the town drunk. Ruby is still Ruby, capricious and bold. But other things are very different—and only Chloe seems to notice. [Read more…]