Tag Archives: magical realism

I heart A. S. King!

23 Jul

One of my big scores at the ALA conference was an arc of A. S. King’s new novel  I Crawl Through It.

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This is what I will be up to today. Crawling through its pages and loving every minute of it. It’s received a number of starred reviews already, from VOYA, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Here’s what all the buzz is about:

Publisher’s Summary: Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.

So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.

The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

Andrew Smith said “I Crawl Through It proves that A.S. King is one of the most innovative and talented novelists of our time. This is King’s masterpiece–a brilliant, paranoid, poetic, funny, and at times overwhelmingly sad literary cocktail of absinthe and Adderall. What a trip!”

Today is going to be an excellent day.

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Modern myths and fairy tales

13 Jul

Finn was the only person who witnessed the kidnapping of  beautiful  Roza, at the spring festival. Finn O’Sullivan  is the main character of Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap.

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The story begins as if it were a realistic novel about the aftermath of a crime. But as we read this novel, we see glimpses of subtle magic and realize Bone Gap  is much, much more.

I started this book a few weeks ago and abandoned it. I decided to give it another chance and I am so glad I did. Roza hasn’t been kidnapped by an ordinary man. Finn can’t describe the kidnapper. Other characters, human and animal, seem to be just a bit shy of ordinary. Bone Gap appears to be an ordinary small town, complete bullies,eccentrics, rumors, affection, and intimacy. As Finn looks into Roza’s disappearance the book transitions seamlessly from ordinary to extraordinary.

The book has overtones of Greek mythology and fairy tales, none of it spelled out in detail. Ruby lets the reader draw on their one knowledge of these things and connect the dots. Whoever you imagine the kidnapper to be, you will not regret reading  Bone Gap.

YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #3

28 Dec

Thank goodness for the holidays!!! I read three of the books this week: 2 Morris finalists & 1 NF finalist.

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I finally finished  The Carnival at Bray, which I liked, but fund I kept expiating it to be narrated in the first person and was surprised every time I picked it up because it wasn’t. That said, I liked it, but didn’t love it. I felt it took some time to get going, then everything happened at once. That said, it was beautifully written, so give it a read.

Next, I read  Laughing at My Nightmare which I was very excited about.

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I wonder if this book was a contentious choice. With gallows humor, Burcaw describes what his life has been like so far. He is trying to be a typical teen, while confined to a wheelchair. While the book is inspirational and really sheds light on what life is like for people with disabilities, the tone sort of rankled at time, especially when he is critical of others with disabilities. Maybe that’s  just my white middle-class sensibility, but it felt like he was over-compensating for the wheelchair. I feel like a bad person for saying that.

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Finally, I finished The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender yesterday afternoon. I loved this book.  It is magical realism wrapped in a world where the reader’s senses are tantalized. It s also very sad and violent, though not graphically so. It begins with the sad history of the Roux family, from which Ava is descended. When we finally got to Ava’s story, I was very worried for her, and with good reason. But the ending is so full of hope. Read this one.

Randy Ribay

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