Hi, everybody. I hope where you are the weather isn’t too bad; here it’s slowly getting gorgeous. I’m thrilled we made it through the winter with no power outages or black ice. From here on out it’s green, green, green as far as the eye can see. Everybody should just move to the South, honestly. You get to stay home for an inch of snow; it’s honestly great.
As my spirits began to lift (seasonal affective disorder is for real), so have my choices for books. I felt very drawn to green covers in March, maybe because of the Irish festivities or maybe the hints of lush vegetation all around me.
Here’s what I read in March:
A book based entirely on its cover: The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
What do you think of when you look at this cover? A girl-about-town, an ingenue snappily dressed, quirky, sharp-witted, with many suitors and connections? That’s the heroine of this book: Sally Jay Gorce. This is the story of her whirlwind tour through Paris a la Edith Wharton, eating croque-monsieurs and evening gowns in the daytime. Think 1950s Carrie Bradshaw/Holly Golightly/Bridget Jones/etc etc.
I enjoyed this book once I accepted it for what it is: an unmapped-out, stream of consciousness journey with a flawed and honest young woman in Europe. You can’t go into this book expecting an intricate plot or groundbreaking character development. You can, however, expect the highs and lows that come from a coming-of-age tale set in a lush and passionate city. Some parts get fairly dull, others are vibrant and funny. Eventually I gave it three stars. I recommend this to anyone who wants to get lost in a fast-paced setting with a likable heroine.
A book that became a movie: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Ahhhhh. It’s nice to read dialogue and character development of youths that’s natural, emotional, and completely unpretentious (looking at you, John Green). I’ve read Wintergirls by this author, which beautifully handles the topic of eating disorders in teenagers. Speak is no different. It deals with ninth-grader Melinda who enters high school a pariah, due to a blurry memory of that past summer involving many of her classmates and one boy in particular. Throughout the book it becomes clear what happened to cause the entire school to shun Melinda, and the tragic toll it takes on her.
I think Speak is a splendid example of depression manifesting in a protagonist without the story becoming dull. Each character is real: flawed but not archetypal or cut-out. I think this book is a must-read for those who enjoy YA.
Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera & Bill Cleaver
Here’s another book I was asked to read for my adolescent literature class. The back cover offers a vague description: four children in the Smokies trying to cut out a living after losing their parents. I was quite pleased with the book. At just under 200 pages, the reader is swept up into the sprawling landscape of Appalachia and its plant life. It’s also a heartfelt, often tragic look into poverty, the meaning of family, and the importance of promises. If you want a strong female protagonist that you’ve never heard of, give this a try. I gave it four stars.
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
The graphic novel trend continues. This was one that I was really excited to dive into, and I was NOT disappointed. This is the story of Anda, a teenaged girl who joins an online community (similar to World of Warcraft) called Coarsegold. Everything is going well until she encounters a blatant infraction of the community’s rules: the illegal collecting and selling of in-game items. Once our protagonist discovers the truth behind this player’s actions, she questions her morals and her previous ideas about what is right and wrong. Unexpectedly, the story deals with economics and business, but it’s not boring AT ALL.
I loved everything about this book, the biggest thing being the art. Everything is so round and bouncy and colorful and friendly. The aesthestic of the Coarsegold world was awesome, too. I’m not a big gamer, but it made me wish I were! I also enjoyed the plot. I think both children and adults could learn something from this story. The only thing I didn’t like was how short it was; it took me less than an hour to read. I gave it five easy, easy stars. Perfect introduction to someone who is new to the graphic novel world.
What did you read in March? I’d love to know.