I think genre is pure discrimination. Young Adult is the worst among them. Young people don’t want to read books for children (assuming they want to read at all). Old people cannot bother with a story about a teenager – they’ve got older fish to fry.
A good book is a good book.
I think the same thing applies to genre and to people who don’t like to read. It doesn’t mean you don’t like it – it means you just haven’t found a book that suits you. I disliked fantasy until I’ve read Earthsea, and it’s not like you can say you love cyberpunk just because you liked Neuromancer.
We use labels to navigate through the labyrinth of life, but often these labels stop us from taking a turn which could bring us joy and maybe even discovery.
…and one amazing book does not make a writer amazing. Ok, it does, but it doesn’t make all his books amazing.
Benjamin Alire Saenz: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
ILML has lovable characters and their relationships are as flawed and lovely as they are. Everything is a combination of perfect imperfections, which I really enjoyed. Up to the point where I started struggling against it and then finally rejected it completely.
Salvador is the narrator of the book which deals with people, family, friendship and pain which invariably comes when you love. Like any other teenager (and a lot of adults) he’s having a hard time dealing with the changes which are out of his control. I liked Sally at the beginning when he still had a semblance of a person. As the book progresses the reality of him seeps away and he becomes nothing more than a narrator of a poorly constructed story.
The flow of words is not effortless – quite the contrary. It seems forced and artificial. In a story which deals with everyday things, the artifice ruins everything. In ILML you can tell in advance when the author is preparing to give you a deep thought or a beautiful sentence. And there are beautiful sentences and quotes worth jotting down.
The story is what I minded the most. I know a lot of people have to deal with a lot of shit in their lives, but I think it really was not necessary to wreak havoc on every single character in this book. This only added to the feeling that everything was less than honest, because some of these tragic events seemed uncalled for which was most evident in a flippant way they were treated.
The worst thing is definitely the ending. All the pain, loss and confusion are neatly resolved in the final chapter which is a lecture written by a 17-year-old Salvador Silva. Lazy.
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Maddie is a popular, cheerleading, quarterback-dating girl with a dark secret. She likes comics, a lot. She hides her true, comic-loving self in fear of losing her popularity which she cultivated over the years. However, she is forced to slowly show her true face and accept who she really is with the help of the boy she’d been secretly pining after for years. Book includes comic book talk, LARPing, a guy called Logan and words such as adorkable.
I cannot seem to get a break. This time break was not given by The Summer I Became a Nerd. I was not expecting to be amazed at the magnificence of its literary merit, but I was expecting…. What in the world was I expecting when I picked this one up?
The Summer I Became a Nerd is something of a book, although not really. It’s more like a rough draft that could have been a book, a fun book at that. There’s just so much missing from it. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about making a list.
So I won’t.
The one important thing this book lacks is soul. Fact is, even the crappiest of books can have a soul. The Summer I Became a Nerd has these words, and stuff happens. Some stuff is cute, some mildly entertaining.
But in the end, it’s just meh. Read it. Don’t read it. In the end it’s really all the same.
Featured Image by gelopsychedelico.deviantart.com
Rose Christo’s Gives Light Review
I’ve been itching for something light to read, so when I realised I’d bought a book titled “Gives Light” it seemed a no-brainer. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I had bought it, which I absolutely loved because I had no idea what to expect.
In the beginning, the book was capable of smoothing out the wrinkles of a shitty day.
Halfway through, it became apparent that I will not enjoy the book. Rose seemed to have had a bunch of various ideas which are perfectly OK, but she really should not have put them all in one book. It’s just too much, and the book ends up being about nothing and everything and about no one and everybody. It’s all over the place and no character is given proper attention due to this literary ADHD.
I will list all the things that were not given proper attention in Gives Light. And no, I do not care that it is the first book of a series because a series is a series, and a book is a whole in its own right.
- Skylar St. Clair is a mute teenager who got his throat slashed by a man who had killed his mother
- His father has disappeared without a word and Skylar is put in a custody of his paternal grandmother who lives on the Nettlebush Reserve
- Skylar’s mother was murdered on the Nettlebush Reserve by a member of the tribal council
- He was in fact a serial killer who had murdered several women
- The son of the murderer, Rafael Gives Light, lives on the reservation
- Native American customs and history are interspersed throughout the book
- For the first time Skylar becomes a true member of a community and makes friends
- Skylar’s new friend Annie has to take care of her two siblings because her mother is in the Army and her father is useless (it is mentioned somewhere that he had a stroke)
- Rafael Gives Light becomes one of his best friends
- Skylar’s father turns out to be a criminal who brings illegal immigrants into the country
- FBI and social services regularly visit the reserve and threaten the fragile stability of Skylar’s new life
- Skylar slowly falls in love with Rafael and Rafael returns his feelings
- Skylar is briefly conflicted about his feelings for Rafael – briefly because there’s so much shit going on in the book he has no time to deal with it for a longer period of time.
Imagine all this (and more – I avoided spoilers) crammed onto 285 pages, and do not forget to include descriptions, internal monologue and musings of a teenage boy who uses words such as “vociferous“.
Let’s go general and explore topics.
- Dealing with severe loss and monumental change
- Facing painful past experiences and achieving personal growth through adversity
- The treatment of Native Americans in modern society
- The importance of preserving the culturally and spiritually rich Native American customs and way of life
- Dealing with the fact that you are different and learning that “normalcy” is a matter of perspective/upbringing
- Treatment of crime and punishment in different cultures
I’m sure I could come up with more but I think this is enough to illustrate my point.
It’s a shame, really, because the book is well written. If the first list was cut down and one or two of the topics given proper prominence, I believe it would have been a really good book and I would have probably been half way through the second part of the series.
I find myself lost for nice words (jaded?). I mean, I really enjoyed Lock and Key, and here I am struggling to write down the reasons I liked it, with a prepared list of things that were poorly executed in the book.
The positive aspects, which made me read the book in three days and have a hissy fit for having forgotten my Kindle at work one day, are just too damn ethereal. It’s not about the characters. It’s not about the plot. It’s about that general feeling that seems to encompass you when you’re reading a worthy book. It infuses every minute of your day and makes it different.
Lock and Key made my days somehow softer. It made me calmer and more serene. The story goes pretty much as Goodreads says it goes. It’s not very original nor is it exactly ground-breaking in character development. It even has one of my least favourite things – first-person narrator. But it worked for me, even though throughout the whole book I was painfully aware of all the things that could have been done better.
What sealed the deal at four stars is a quote which made me realize I need to stop bitching and feeling sorry for myself.
Needing was so easy: it came naturally, like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part.
Yeah, I knoooow. It’s lame, second-grade stuff, but sometimes you need someone to remind you of that lame second-grade stuff you forget along the line. They don’t stop being true, we just dismiss them, thinking we’ve outgrown them.
I’m pleased that my new vague blog category has not been a complete failure, because this books fall easily into the Maximum Coze category. I guess it wasn’t a fluke after all.