(Catching up on my bookish thoughts…)
Megan Crane – I Love The Eighties
This is a slightly new departure for Megan Crane, who veers away from the strictly-real contemporary world to a science-fiction mystery one. 30something Jenna is obsessed with an 80s band and in particular the main singer, Tommy Seer, who died in 1987. An electrical storm sends her back to that year – mere months before his death. It’s up to her to figure out how to prevent his death – which is looking like it wasn’t an accident – while ensuring that no one finds out how she knows everything she does about the ‘future’. There aren’t quite as many wry observations on life as there are in Crane’s other books, but I really liked the take on Manhattan now-and-then, and political correctness, and 80s fashions. And the plot is delightfully twisty and dark, without ever getting too gritty. There is also, of course, a romance. And that too is rather fun.
Madeleine George – The Difference Between You and Me
I adored Madeleine George’s first YA novel, Looks, so was very excited about this book. Jesse is an angry activist rebel type, with big clunky boots and messy hair and a serious crush on Emily – student council vice-president, all pink and sweet and earnest and hypocritical. At school, they pretty much ignore each other; at the library every week they make out and it’s like nothing either of them have ever experienced. But things can’t stay secret or safe forever – and when the girls come into conflict over big business interfering with the school, something’s got to give. The narrative is mostly divided between Jesse and Emily, and I really loved seeing Emily’s self-justification and self-congratulation – she’s frustrating at times but very, very real. Gorgeous writing, relatable characters, and ‘issues’ without super-preachiness make this a YA book to keep an eye out for.
Hannah Moskowitz – Gone, Gone, Gone
David-Levithan-esque tale of two boys, Lio and Craig, falling for each other in Maryland in 2002, a year after 9-11 and against the backdrop of a sniper on the loose. Lots of interesting thoughts on loss and love, filtered through the two angry-angsty-teen-boy voices.
Megan McCafferty – Thumped
Sequel to Bumped, so more delightful zappy zany dystopian comedy. Melody and Harmony are both pregnant with twins – at least, that’s what the world thinks. In reality, there’s a tangled mess of secrets – one which might just have to unravel once someone goes into labour. The cast from the first book, including the swoonworthy Jondoe and lovely Zen, return, and there’s the same mix of snarky social commentary and genuine relationships (between sisters, friends, and partners) as in the first book. Feels more like a ‘part 2′ than a sequel, so well worth reading if you enjoyed the first book – but here’s hoping they get packaged as a single volume in the future.
Sarah Ockler – Bittersweet
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous story about winter and cupcakes and cute hockey boys and friendship and family and competitive skating. This is the sort of story you sink into, the kind that reminds you why contemporary YA is just so darn good. Loved it.