Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Gold-Threaded Dress

The Gold-Threaded Dress, by Carolyn Marsden is over at Tweendom!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Queen of Cool

Libby is the cool girl. She hangs with Perla, Kenji and the almost uncool Sid. Libby decides what happens at school (when she bothers to go). Stuff like "pencil day", or "pajama day". These are not school sanctioned events, rather just her cool clique showing up like everyone else missed the memo.

It feels to Libby like she's already done everything. She comes up with the days, goes to the parties, has her thing with Kenji, listens to Perla go on and on about becoming a reality star. There's nothing really original.

After a bizarre panic attack situation, Libby finds herself signing up for an internship at the zoo. Extra work! From the queen of the cut. The only other person who has signed up is that freak Tina.

Eventhough her friends think the whole situation is lame, Libby starts to see how shallow her previous life was. She starts to see who she may really be.


Honestly, I didn't want to finish this book. There was nothing about Kenji, Perla and Libby that I even liked. Sid was okay in that Williamsburg indy boy kind of way. Still, I almost put the book away. I am glad that I finished, but still have a few reservations.

I love Perla's name. Did Castellucci name her after the ridiculously expensive underwear? I secretly hope that she did. I like the growth that happens to Libby and her family. And kudos for putting a little person in a YA book. (The only other one I know of is Funny Little Monkey).


Uber self aware teens in a willing to leave the cool clique for the "loser" clique rarely rings true to me. Perhaps Tina and her friends were only seen as losers by Libby and her friends, but somehow I don't think so.

I'd recommend this to YAs who may have enjoyed Castellucci's Boy Proof, and fans of Hard Love.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Death Jr. #3

Here is a cutie patootie gn that I picked up when I was at the Wizard World show (I know, I know) in Phili.

Death Jr. has a hold of dad's (re the Grim Reaper) scythe. The problem is, he has yet to figure out how to release the souls. So as you can imagine, the dead are piling up. The even have to drag their own corpses around since they're still attached and all.

The Grim Reaper has been captured by his evil brother and is stored in a box in a museum. Jr. and his motely crew of friends (conjoined twins, a dead girl, a creepy baby in an aquarium thing, and a spooky little girl) have to go and rescue Grim while somehow avoiding the mean old Uncle.

Not unlike a Scooby Doo episode (I think the reference is even in there), this is a fun little romp to the dark side. Death Jr is really cute, and although I had not read #1 or #2, there's enough back story to get by without a problem.

Fun, fun for your spookier teens.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Good Girls

Audrey has always been a good girl. Not super prissy or nerdy. She's got friends, she's had boyfriends, she gets stellar marks. She's never had a "reputation". Not like that slutty Pam Markovitz. Everyone knows what she has done.

Luke DeSalvio and Audrey have been hooking up at parties since the end of the summer. The Luke DeSalvio. Audrey's best friend, Ash, has been telling her not to get too attached - that Luke's a player. Ash should know. She got burned by her ex. Ash is always saying that girls should be more like boys. Just hook up - no feelings.

It's Hallowe'en and Audrey has decided that she is not going to be with Luke anymore. He doesn't even talk to her in the halls at school. Just a cursory "hey". But Luke looks so good, and Audrey is not sure what comes over her when he is around. It's like her body has a mind of its own. So one last hook up. Who will know? Audrey's in charge. She decides what they will do.

Unfortunately, someone else does know. Someone takes a picture of Audrey and Luke. Audrey's signature waist length blonde hair at Luke's naked torso. Someone emails that picture all over school. Even to Audrey's dad's work.

Who would do this? And why? How will Audrey cope?

Laura Ruby has created characters with such authenticity, I feel as though I know them. My heart ached for Audrey, and I admired her strength. I was pissed off at Chilly, proud of Ash, and hoping that Luke wouldn't be an arse. I feel like I know these kids.

I like, too, that Audrey's family is "every family". Church going (but not fanatical), working parents of the middle class variety, a good kid with good grades. It doesn't take extraordinary circumstances for your kids to start having sex!

What an amazing time to have to grow up when you know that stuff like this happens. When I was a teen, it was just a matter of he said she said. Nobody was carrying around a Kodak 110 camera, running to a photomat to get them developed, paying for prints and distributing! Ruby gets the flavour of the technology, slang, blogginess, and double standard of teen life. There is sex, but there it is. It's not gratuitous...it simply is happening. It's what teens do. Not all teens, but some.

I LOVE this book.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Astonishing Adventures of FanBoy and Goth Girl

How's that title grab ya?

Donnie is a comicbook geek. A fanboy. He goes to school in a sea of jocks and has 1 friend there - fellow comic book fan, Cal. Cal and Donnie, however, couldn't be more different. Cal is a jock and tends to dodge Donnie when he is in the halls at school, but manages to IM him at night about comics.

One day during gym class (the dreaded dodgeball), Donnie is waiting in the Dead Zone when this kid Frampton starts wailing on his arm. Teachers aren't paying attention. None of the other kids notice. Except for one girl who is up in the bleachers.

Donnie receives a mysterious IM from Promethea387 asking "Why do you let him hit you?". Is this another joke? Are the jocks setting him up?

Not this time. It was Kyra up in the bleachers. Kyra with her black hair, billowing black clothes, black lipstick and white skin. Could it be that Donnie just got another friend?

It could never be that simple. This is highschool. It's never easy...not for the fanboy, the goth girl, not even for senior goddess Dina.

I have to admit, I was worried at first where this book was going. As a former goth girl myself, I was hoping that Barry Lyga wasn't going to add the stereotypes to Kyra's character. I understand that all characterisation is somewhat built on stereotype, but when it hits close to home, it matters more. Thankfully, Lyga takes this book into a different place. It's simply the story of some highschool kids. With lots of fun comic book facts thrown in.

I will be interested to see the readership. Is this a boy book? What do you think?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Water Street

Bird and Thomas are growing up in a Brooklyn apartment just as the bridge is rising. Over on Water Street, Bird is the youngest of 3 - daughter of a bridge worker and a healer. Thomas is pretty much on his own - Da being down at the pub all the time.

Thomas dreams of being a writer. He has fashioned himself a notebook and makes sure to write everything down. He has a shadowy memory of a woman in lace sleeves who told him that writing can change it all.

Bird has her own dreams of following in her mother's footsteps and becoming a healer herself. She has a notebook where she writes down remedies ... sliced onion for bee stings, coal from the turf fire held under the nose for sneezing.

Bird always needs to fix things. She needs to get her brother Hughie to stop fighting in the backs of pubs. She needs to get sister Annie out of the box factory. She needs to save all her money to help her mother buy a farm in New Jersey.

Thomas needs to find his past and try to fix his family.

This is immigrant Brooklyn in the 1870s. Patricia Reilly Giff has managed to bring in so many aspects of daily immigrant life without making it seem like school. The streets come alive (especially when Thomas and Bird venture into Manhattan) with sights and sounds and smells. It was a pleasure to read about Brooklyn instead of the Bowery.

This book is equally suited for older tweens and younger teens. There is a bit of detailed gore described in some healing scenes that may have queasy readers blanching. Told in alternating chapters, the stories of Bird and Thomas come to life and are a pleasure to read.