Saturday, October 1, 2016

turning blobby stuff into music

Despite a crazy month of preparing to move, doing lotsa remodel stuff, overdosing on tennis and family time, and librarying it up I still managed to read quite a bit, and I have another long and happy two-part list of favorites this month.  

Favorites Part 1:

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Even though I love poetry I’m usually not a fan of novels written entirely in verse. However, my skepticism completely disappeared within the first few pages. The melodic poetry perfectly complements the story of a dancer who loses a leg and her journey towards "chasing down soaring music” again. Filled with memorable characters and fantastic lines like "I can dance beauty into my body,” this inspirational and captivating story set in India is a must-read.

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

As they brave their different battles with cancer, Zac & Mia's relationship flourishes in its complexity and beauty. Their relationship isn't effortless, and I found myself rooting for them to become friends. At one point I was so fed up with Mia's attitude that I thought about not finishing, but when I found out the reason for her behavior I felt absolutely terrible and ashamed. So bravo to the author for adding so much depth to the character and taking me by surprise. The ending is also executed very well I think. Of course I knew that this book had potential to be very touching, but I didn't expect to laugh so much or grow so attached to both characters.  

Jack's Worry by Sam Zuppardi

* we have another cuddly abstract thing here, people, just like Orion and the Dark, and though we want Jack’s worry to vanish, I like to think the worry turns to love, to music, so it’s still flourishing through a positive outlet, and therefore still cuddly. * the illustrations are breathtaking: poor Jack hiding from his worry, overcome by his worry, mitigating other worries. * and the message is so simple and brilliant and therefore incredibly impactful and wonderful for any audience. * next time I have a worry I’m going to imagine it as a blobby thing that’s friends with all my blobby fears and negative emotions and then I’m going to make a sincere effort to always turn them into music.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson 

I loved every panel, every angsty, hilarious moment, every second I spent reading Roller Girl. Roller Derby wasn't easy for Astrid, and I was really impressed by how Jamieson illustrated the amount of effort, persistence and drive it takes to do a sport. Usually young adult books (and a lot of books about athletes) gloss over the hard work and make it seem like passion gets you everything. And yes, passion keeps you motivated, but there's a lot of hard work involved too. Jamieson made it feel like I was right there with Astrid learning about roller derby. And the relationships in this book are insightful, earnest and absolutely dead on. I love how Astrid matured in her relationships, how it became less about her and more about those she cared about.

This is the page that made me laugh the hardest:

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