Sunday, December 28, 2008
If nothing else, traveling for hours shoved into a cave-like backseat of a truck where you can't really talk to anyone or even see out the window is good for reading. But only if you are driving during daylight. Luckily I was.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson tackles eating disorders in this one. And does it really well. Lia is anorexic. Her best (but estranged) friend was just found dead in a motel room. She had called Lia 33 times before she died. I've never suffered from an eating disorder, but I imagine it is very much like this. Lots of fear and anger and punishment. Lots of denial from the people closest to you because they really just want everything to be all right. Very good book. I think this is one of the first 2009 books I've read, but I think it is destined to be one of the best too. By the by, anyone remember Even If it Kills me? I couldn't find the original cover. Bummer.
All We Know of Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin
I was touched by this one. I didn't think I would be. I feared it would be a road trip, look at all the kooky people I meet on the bus who teach valuable life lessons. Still I remembered some very favorable reviews so I picked it up. Natalie was a wonderful main character. She is stuck. Her mom left 4 years ago. Just stopped mid-thought, picked up her car keys, and left. Now Natalie is in a relationship with a boy that she is crazy about even though she knows (deep down, deep, deep, down) that he isn't good enough for her. So she buys herself a bus ticket to visit her mom. But without telling anyone that she's going. Along the way she does meet people. No one kooky. And here is something interesting that the author chose to do. Everyone shares a story about love, what they've learned about it, felt, experienced. But it isn't with Natalie. Their stories are just interjected into the text. It was extremely effective, heart breaking, heart warming, all that good stuff. I think I probably would have cried if i hadn't of been shoved in the back seat of the truck.
Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve
Another retelling of the Arthur and his round table legend. However, this one takes an entirely different tack on the story. Here Arthur is just a dude, a rather rough and unsophisticated dude, who happens to have a fantastic storyteller (aka Merlin known in this story as Myrddin). Myrddin weaves truth and fiction together to make tales that appeal to the wider population, increase his fame, and make him a legend in his own time as well as securing him a place in history. The story is told to us by Gwyna, Myrddin's servant. And she is as much a focus of the story, perhaps even more so, than Arthur. This was a great book. I love Philip Reeve. He never disapoints.
Dishes by Rich Wallace
Danny is 18 and has moved in with his dad for the summer. His dad works at a gay restaurant/bar and gets Danny a job there washing dishes. Neither Danny nor his father is gay, but the rest of the staff is. Not a problem. Except that Hector, a waiter keeps flirting with Danny and Danny finds himself flirting back. Or something like that. It's getting in the way of him securing his new girlfriend's trust. Anyhoo, I was iffy on this one. Mainly because I don't feel like I got to know Danny any more than when I met him on the first page. The way he talked was sort of terse and stacatto. I didn't warm to him.