Friday, June 29, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY


Clay Jensen is just a regular, over-achieving high school student when he comes home from school one day. Then he checks the mail, and everything changes.

He finds a package addressed to him. Inside are 7 cassette tapes, each side marked with a number in nail polish. Clay is puzzled. Who would send him a box full of tapes? Can he even listen to them? It's not like tape players are a dime a dozen anymore.

Clay remembers that his dad has an old boom box in the garage, so he heads out. Clay pops in the first tape, hits play, and then almost falls over. It's Hannah Baker's voice. Hannah Baker who he had a moment with at a party not so long ago. Hannah Baker who freaked out, just as he thought they were getting close. Hannah Baker who killed herself.

Hannah starts off by saying that if you are listening to the tapes, that you in someway contributed to her suicide. Clay cannot believe this. He liked Hannah. A lot. For a long time. He couldn't even bring himself to believe the rumours about her reputation.

Jay Asher has penned a compulsively readable, if sad, book. The reader wants and needs to know as badly as Clay does, what brought Hannah to the point where she thought there were no other options. Each person, each reason, brings to light life in highschool. Every action does have a reaction, and many times, it will not be the one that you expect.

You read Hannah's words in italics, and Clay's reactions all around them. You feel like you really are inside Clay's thought process, and this is what makes this title so strong for me. How can you say this without sounding crass...it's a fresh look at suicide. In the end the reader (or at least the adult reader) is left with the sinking feeling that Hannah's life wasn't all that bad. She would have come out of all of it in time. But we must remember, or try to, what it is like to be really in it. And in high school.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls


I picked up this delightfully creepy little book at BEA a couple of weeks ago. The cover shown here is not the one I have...I have a black polka dotted cover with a little red shoe.

These stories all involve Rosie Little in some way. Danielle Wood reminds me a little of Barbara Gowdy...I am not sure why, but there it is.

My most favourite stories are "Wardrobe" and "The Deflowering of Rosie Little". The second one is the first story in the book. It's a bit shocking to someone who is used to reading for children. First line - "The Trouble with fellatio, in my view, is its lack on onomatopoeia". Nice!

Incredibly well written, the reader will find a smile or two crossing her lips during reading. A real pleasure to read! Yay!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deadline


"What if you had one year to live...and you knew it?"

This is what Ben, aka Little Wolf, finds himself dealing with. Ben lives in small town Idaho with brother Cody, his dad and his crazy mother. He is a runner, diminutive in size, and most consider him a good guy.
When Ben goes in for his annual physical to get the okay for track, Doc Wagner leaves a message on his machine saying that he wants to see Ben in his office, and that he'd better bring his folks. Cashing in on his 18-year-old status, Ben goes alone, and then does the unthinkable. He refuses treatment. And he tells noone.

What follows is a story about bravado, faith, love, and the search for meaning. This is a layered story, not only about mortality and faith, but abuse of many kinds, football, small town racism, and other weighty issues.

Crutcher does it with style, as always. Ben is bigger than life, despite his size, and many of us could learn a thing or two about how to live from him.

I am sure that some readers may find Deadline too issue laden, and Ben's bravery beyond his years. I, however, bought in, and aside from Dallas' situation and a few too many football details for my taste, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I would love to be able to meet kids like Ben, Cody and Dallas Suzuki!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Namedropper


Adam Rex. Adrian Tomine. Dave Barry. Ridley Pearson. Alison Bechdel. Brandon Mull. Gennifer Choldenko. Jimmy Gownley. and the elusive Scott Westerfeld!

And I got to hear Libba Bray, Jacqueline Wilson, Mo Willems and Daniel Pinkwater speak.

Boy do I love BEA. My body is sore. I am tired. And I missed some gems like Kirsten Miller, and K. L. Going...but overall, it was fun, fun, fun.