So I'm in the midst of my first December working retail at Grand Central Terminal--this week, leading up to Christmas and Chanukah, is proving to be a doozy. Luckily, there's young adult literature to smooth over the rough spots.
Withering Tights, Louise Rennison: By the hilarious author of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, which I really must read the rest of, WT starts off a new series with a bang! This one centers of Tallulah Casey's misadventures at a quirky-to-say-the-least performing arts school on the Yorkshire moors. Plenty of adolescent romance, humiliation, and sarcasm for all! And I loved that Tallulah realizes her true talent lies in comedy--since some still contend that women can't be funny (hello, the late Christopher Hitchens!), it's nice to see a different attitude pitched to young'uns.
Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King: Purchased on the strength of King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz, one of my favorite books of last year. Wasn't disappointed--Ants is a mix of raw and witty, with an otherworldly undercurrent. Its narrator, Lucky Linderman, has been mercilessly bullied by Nader McMillan since he was seven. Eight years later, he's lost faith entirely in the world of adults to protect him: not his distant father, not his obsessive mother, certainly not the school administrators and therapists concerned more with his joke-y proposal to do a social studies project surveying students with the question, "If you were going to commit suicide, what method would you choose?" His sole trusted authority figure is that of his grandfather and namesake--and that only happens in dreams, where he tries time and time again to rescue him from a Vietnamese prison camp. This mission, given to him by his beloved grandmother on her deathbed, blurs the line between fantasy and reality, as Lucky brings back objects from the dreamworld into his real, miserable life. The book is funny and haunting by turns, at a level rarely reached in soi disant adult literary fiction.
Darker Still, Leanna Renee Hieber: Finished off my streak with a good old-fashioned YAP break. Hieber's debut is a Dorian Gray-ish teen paranormal romance, wherein mute New Yorker Natalie Stewart falls in love with Lord Denbury, imprisoned by sinister forces inside a portrait, against the backdrop of 1880 Manhattan and the still-new Metropolitan Museum of Art. I liked but didn't love it--I wish that everything hadn't been just as it seemed, the bewitched lord righteous, his bewitcher so blandly evil. I need a little ambiguity in my heroes and villains.