Thursday, January 9, 2014

Over You

Over You.  Amy Reed.  Simon Pulse, 2013.  978-1-4424-5696-9.  $16.99.

Max and Sadie are best friends. 

“We have always understood our relationship comes first.”  

Max is the one who drives them home when Sadie is too drunk; she is the one on standby when Sadie climbs into a car full of boys; she is the one always protecting Sadie.  So when they are shuffled off for the summer from Seattle to the Nebraska commune where Sadie’s mom lives, it will be all right because they are together. Even when they encounter obvious bad boy Dylan, an attraction for both girls.  

However, when Sadie comes down with Mono, Max must carry on without her- alone.  She has never been without Sadie to care for.  She doesn’t even know who she is without Sadie and feels like she is floating through life.  But Dylan is still there, unexpectedly now next door the new yurt she must occupy since Sadie is quarantined.

Max calls herself bisexual, but there is little angst over this.  A past love is explained, but this is just a statement, not to be addressed again, even when Sadie yells it out at the first party they attend in Nebraska.  Max has a good relationship with her father, but her mother is emotionally unavailable.  It is Max that is the stronger part of the relationship, and Max who must figure out her own needs- and whether or not they include a relationship with Dylan.  It is after all, Sadie, who is also drooling over Dylan and Sadie who always gets what she wants.

Max is studying ancient literature, and each chapter is interspersed with a myth or poem that she restates to make sense of her own story.
Abortion, bi-sexual issues, drinking, drugs, Start Trek sex

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Far Far Away

Far Far Away   by Tom McNeal
audiobook read by W. Morgan Sheppard

What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, and girl, and a ghost.  The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and darling, and the ancient ghost...well, let it only be said that his intentions were good.

So begins the unusually compelling story of Jeremy Johnson Johnson (not a typo, his parents both were named "Johnson"), who can hear the ghostly voice of Jacob Grimm, one of the famous collectors of fairy tales.  Jeremy and his father live in a small mid-western town where nothing of interest ever happens...except that an unusual number of young people have gone missing over the years.  

Jacob Grimm narrates the story from beyond the grave, noting the folkloric elements that seem, coincidentally, to exist in Jeremy's town:  the disappearing children, a hooded woman, an enormous oven, a forbidden door, and a mysterious dwarf-like man who may (or may not) have dark intentions.  And yet, the darkness implied by the fairy tale motifs is not a coincidence.  Something dark and horrible is at work in the town, and Jeremy is the innocent who is slated as the next sacrifice.

I had hoped for a lighter, happier book, but the dark and awful qualities of this story were more fascinating than I had imagined.  Those readers (like me) who want a "happy ever after" ending will not be dissatisfied, but be warned: the path to that ending is long and harrowing and might not  be exactly what the reader imagines.

No cussing, no sex.  A few kisses (kisses are important in fairy tales) and some violence including bullying and some scary forcible abductions.  

Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.