How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
I've been following Justine Larbalestier's blog since reading her Magic or Madness books. The author splits her time between the States and Australia and has many wickedly funny observations on life. She also has lots of good advice for writers and shares what it is really like to be part of the publishing business. Long before I got to read this book I saw it referred to on the blog as a work in progress. Justine called the "Great Australian Feminist Monkey-Knife-Fighting Elvis Cricket Mangosteen novel." If that doesn't clue you in that this is one YA book that defies categorization I don't know what would.
HtDYF is set in a city that's not American or Australian and seems to part of an alternate reality that combines the best of both into a new sort of place. Larbalestier has hit a home run of a novel that should appeal to fans of sports, Meg Cabot, fantasy and school novels like the A-List or Gossip Girls. It's got something for everyone, and manages to be poignant, humorous and real while still focusing on "parking fairies" and the luge. Quite an accomplishment, really, and fun to read. I reccomend it highly. (Genre YA)
Other books read in February 2009:Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
This title was one of SEP's early novels and has been out of print for ages. She recently went over it with a fine tooth comb, adding and tweaking and or in her words she" spent four months freshening up the original manuscript—developing the characters a bit more, adding a few new scenes—and I'm delighted with the outcome." I was delighted with the outcome, too, but I'm a sucker for her novels. They combine humor, glamor and slightly over the top scenarios with characters that have real world problems, emotions and a healthy amount of growth. This one was no exception. (Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy)Beauty by Robin McKinley
Originally published in 1978, my copy hails from an '85 reissue and features the Boris cover. I have no idea how many times I've read this book since I first discovered it while in middle school. It's an old friend, a comfort read and unlike some I discovered at that time (Merceces Lackey pops to mind) the story remains as magically charming on the gazillionth read as it did on the first. (Genre: sometimes considered YA, other times Fantasy.)
First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My enjoyment of her two new books (one read in Jan) made this fun little piece a must to re-read after I discovered it in a box of books that had been in storage in my in-laws basement. The premise is that the widow of an American President needs space after being an icon for so long and goes to great lengths to get it. It's marvelously fun, but feels just a tad dated in a post-Obama world. (Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy)
Cat-Tales Books 3 and 4 by Chris Dee
I mentioned these last month as being an unusual additon to my reading list. They are online fanfiction but still quite superior adventures. I reccomend them highly. Chris's Selina Kyle is all woman and all cat, full of contradictions, characterized by periods of playfullness and solemninty. The Rogue's gallery in the elseworld created here like a dysfunctional sitcome with a maniacal bent, and yet poignant too, in a strange way.
Promises in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)The latest case to call NYPD Lt. Eve Dallas out onto the streets hits closer to home than most. The murder victim is a fellow police officer, and new significant other of a long recurring character in the series. Like a kicked ant hill, the cops go into hyperdrive to achive justice and closure for one of their own. The grief is heavy in this book because of the closeness of the death, instead of just solving the who-done it, there is sorrow and frustration and more all close to the surface. Even with that, though, the author still deftly inserts developments for all of the supporting cast, a wedding shower and certain elements of humor and daily life. I maintain that these books are some of Roberts best work as she gets to play with and develop recurring characters and explore a married relationship instead of just setting up the one two punch of falling in love that happen in her more mundane romance novels.