As per usual, because I charge through my readathon books with one eye on the clock and no attempt at note-taking, here are my brief and shouty responses to three of my four readathon reads.
Replay – Sharon Creech
Oh, I love me a Sharon Creech. She is a DELIGHT. And her books are always Good For The Childrens without being Too Dumb For The Adults, and they come with a Moral That Is Not Schlocky. A rare unicorn, those.
So. Leo has many siblings and his family is LOUD and ITALIAN (probably?) and everyone is always DOING things and COMPLAINING about things and Leo is day-dreamy and curious and also cast as the Old Crone in the school play (how mortifying). Anywert, one day Leo finds his dad’s old diary and who is this person who had all these dreams and why is he such a sad, grumpy sack now and so Leo learns a Valuable Lesson about How Shit Changes People and Why Old Folks Are That Way and it is heartwarming.
Forgotten – Cat Patrick
EXCELLENT PREMISE, moderately successful execution. So London has this brain thing where she remembers in reverse…like, she remembers tomorrow but not yesterday? So she leaves herself sticky notes saying This is what I did today and also I wore the pink sweater so don’t wear it tomorrow, which gives her interesting opportunities to do things like lie to herself about a boy who broke her heart, say, so that she forgets they ever dated while HE has to live with their break-up, YA BURNT! It also means that OTHER people can lie their fool heads off, and she’d never know until about two-thirds of the way through the novel when THE SEEKRITS, THEY EMERGE. So that bit’s terribly exciting.
And ok, I’ve previously expressed my displeasure with romances inserted by sticky-toddler-hands (this one needs to go right HERE and that one goes over THERE) so I won’t go on about that, and sometimes the conceit doesn’t hang together (like when she’s all, Huh, I must have flat-ironed my hair last night because I sure didn’t this morning, and I am like, No, your brain re-sets at some ungodly hour in the a.m. so unless you neglected to look in the mirror this morning, Sometime In The Afternoon is too late to be making this realization) and I don’t really like how the affliction is presented as A Neuro-Sciencey Brain Thing, NBD, when it means she can see into the future and that is semi-voodoo shit. But ZOMBG SEEKRITS will always trump minor quibbles, especially when the writing is competent.
Seven and a half caterpillars.
Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen! You are so great. I just want you to tell me stories all day. Particularly because your protagonists tend to have Normal, Actual Problems and not either Lame First-World Romantical Problems or Post-Apocalyptic Survival Problems (the latter I have no problem with. It’s just, we’re not always fighting off the zombie horde, ya dig?).
So Annabel’s problems include an EXTREMELY ANGRY former best friend, a Terrible Seekrit (which you will guess from page one because you have read YA novels before) upon which that best friend’s ANGER is contingent, an older sister with an eating disorder, an oldest sister who has scuttled irresponsibly off to New York, parents who do not Discuss Things, a mother who is WAY too invested in her daughters’ modelling careers, a decided lack of interest in said modelling career, and then obviously a BOY.
And none of those are very exotic ingredients, but they are carefully measured and not over-blended and this is a cake I would eat often, even though it is slathered in metaphor (music! But also silence! And honesty! And listening to what people are saying! And what they’re not saying! And so forth). And the banter wasn’t as banty as The Truth About Forever, which I loved into waffley pieces, but not everything is about the lulz (but yes it is. Why else are you here?).