While I'm at it, here's ANOTHER storify: me live-tweeting the 2016 offerings from Abrams Kids:
Holy cow, it's been a while, hasn't it?
I've been busybusy, and winter was garbagegarbage.
We'll see whether or not I have it in me to start posting again with any regularity, but in the meantime, here's a storify of some thoughts I have about an upcoming picture book:
...I've written about Natalie C. Parker's Beware the Wild and Behold the Bones:
It plays with classic horror tropes as well as elements from fairy tales—the danger and wild in nature, the power of belief, the importance of origin—but it’s also very much a story about siblings and family. It deals with domestic abuse—the long-term fallout and how hard it can be to break the cycle—and it explores the lines between love and obsession, the instinct to protect and the desire to control.
...as well as a little about Marilyn Nelson's American Ace, as well as a list of books it inspired me to pick up:
It deals with family and culture and race; with the relationships between fathers and sons, between extended family and immediate. Ultimately, it’s less about the mystery itself, and more about how a shift in a person’s understanding of his own identity can affect how he sees the world and his place in it. It’s about discovering history in terms of the macro and the micro—about seeing the larger patterns of history and about how individual people fit into that pattern, about the Tuskegee Airmen as a group and about the individuals who made up the whole.
Last year, I wrote about my decision to give myself a Valentine: pre-ordering a whole slew of upcoming romances. I enjoyed myself so entirely—for months, books just APPEARED in my mailbox, it was like MAGIC—that I’ve decided to make it a personal tradition. But I’ve also decided to give it a tweak: rather than ordering purely upcoming books, I’m going to buy some backlist titles, too!
So, Laura begins:
The city that Sunday morning was quiet. Those millions of New Yorkers who, by need or preference, remain in town over a summer week-end had been crushed spiritless by humidity. Over the island hung a fog that smelled and felt like water in which too many soda-water glasses have been washed. Sitting at my desk, pen in hand, I treasured the sense that among those millions, only I, Waldo Lydecker, was up and doing. The day just past, devoted to shock and misery, had stripped me of sorrow. Now I had gathered strength for the writing of Laura's epitaph. My grief at her sudden and violent death found consolation in the thought that my friend, had she lived to a ripe old age, would have passed into oblivion, whereas the violence of her passing and the genius of her admirer gave her a fair chance at immortality.
NOTICE ANYTHING INTERESTING ABOUT THAT?
(Okay, there's actually a LOT that's interesting about that paragraph—and that last sentence is flat-out FANTASTIC for multiple reasons—but I'm talking about something very specific.)
IT HELPS IF YOU ARE A TWIN PEAKS FAN.
Laura Hunt's public face—like Laura Palmer's—was beautiful and kind and generous, but as the story goes on, you learn that different people knew her in entirely different ways, and the detective who is on the case gets more and more emotionally invested in it... there are more parallels than the names, is what I'm saying. This is not remotely a new connection—the second I Googled it, I discovered that a zillion and six people had already found it—but as I haven't seen the movie and it was the first time I read the book, IT WAS NEW TO ME.
And even beyond all the Twin Peaks stuff, I adored the book. Multiple narrators with entirely distinct voices, police transcripts, a twist I hadn't expected, AND some good zingers about... well, pick a subject. Sexism, gender roles, classism, power dynamics, on and on. I pegged the killer early on, as well as the motive, but that actually made it even better? Adding Bedelia to my TBR list FOR SURE.
...I wrote a bit about some of the first contact stories I've been binging on lately, including Adaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo:
HOW ARE THESE BOOKS NOT MORE WELL-KNOWN? Smart and complex on all levels—personal, emotional, cultural, and political—as well as exciting, with subplots that provide commentary on immigration, government surveillance, profiling, and more. AND. I really thought I was over love triangles FOREVER, but this duology changed my mind: not only does it feature a girl torn between a boy and another girl, but it also brings up polyamory as a possible solution, which I think I’ve only ever seen one other time in YA.