First a short update. Yes, I feel like this weekend is going to be it. I have a list of about 4 little things that I want to fix up in Nikki's Wish and then I'll be done!! I kind of feel like I want to re-read the whole thing one last time, but I think I'll refrain from doing that, give it some time to sit while I clean up the query and synopsis. Then maybe I'll read it through one last time before sending anything out. Yeah, I know I'm kind of anal retentive that way, but I can't help it.
First, MT Anderson's Feed. Okay, I admit that I was a little slow on the uptake with this one. All I knew about the book going in was that it was a futuristic story where the internet is wired into people's brains. Cool background for a story, no? So I started reading. Fifty pages in, I was rather annoyed with the main character and his friends, searching for some sort of plot and thinking to myself that although the world building was spectacular, the story itself was sort of... dumb. I read some more. Still little plot, even more ridiculous scenes with characters who I want to thrash by now, and even more spectacular world building. I get to the middle of the book and one scene in particular. Main character and his girlf (yes, it's spelled that way) go out to the country to visit a farm. Woohoo, something is going to happen, I shout to myself. And then I see what kind of farm it is... a tissue farm. For growing tissue. Cow tissue. Big blocks of marbleized steak. Row after row of Fillet Mignon. I kid you not. After resisting the urge to hurl, I almost put the book down. Almost. And then, I got it. Feed is a satire.
Like I said, I was a little slow on the uptake, even afterwards I was thinking to myself that the author could have done so much more with the characters. They were dumb, shallow, and materialistic, even the main character. But now I see the brilliance in it. Really, there was no other way for Anderson to create his futuristic world and make the statement he was making without creating the characters that he did. It just wouldn't have been the same. Obviously I enjoyed the book in the end because it really made me think (and shudder a bit), but I would have liked it much more if I had known what I was getting into. So if you decide to read it, consider yourself warned.
Next I read The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. I've heard about The Duff for over a year now, and I even got to read the first chapter on the SYW boards at AW. This was a few weeks before Kody was agented, and I thought then that the story sounded fantastic. I'd been looking forward to seeing what Kody had done with her characters. And I was impressed.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I would have been all over this book in high school. A strong, gutsy girl who tells it like it is, plus some hot HOT scenes between Bianca and Wesley, and finally a message that it's okay to be a DUFF because really everyone is a DUFF at some point. Yeah, I would have loved this book as a teen and I think that's where it's really going to resonate. BUT, I have to say that reading this as a married 36-year old with three kids, it didn't quite hit the mark. I was very puzzled as to why a girl as smart as Bianca would sleep with a man-whore like Wesley. Even though she was using it as an escape, and even though they used protection every time, I was still... ew. I shiver just thinking about it. So I guess in some ways you could say that I had trouble accepting the premise, but then again I'm not a teen and I've never been in a situation like Bianca was so maybe I'm just too distanced from it to judge properly. The ending was a bit predictable, and the writing has room to grow. But again, a great debut from such a young author. I'd recommend it, especially to teens.
ETA- Geesh, what am I saying? It was written for teens of course I would recommend it to teens. There are so many middle age people reading YA now that sometimes I forget who the original audience is. BAAAADDD Angie, BAD!
Last up; Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I'm only halfway through this book, but I got it yesterday so having read half of it one day, you can guess that I'm pretty much enthralled.
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
The book is written by two authors alternating each chapter and this method works very well. I could tell right off which was written by JG, and I have to say that I liked his chapters better, but now at about the middle of the book, as the two Will Grayson's are coming together, I'm noticing how much more sympathy I have for DL's Will. It's got me addicted, so much so that I'd like to bail out of work right now to finish it. So, yeah, go get Will Grayson, Will Grayson. You won't be disappointed.
As a little side note - WG, WG is the first e-book that I got from my library. I'm just mentioning this because I had looked around online and realized that even though I don't live in Hennepin County (Mpls), I could still get access to the Hennepin County Library because I have a card from another MN public library. This shouldn't be too surprising given inter-library loans and all, but I just wanted to point out to everyone that maybe you have the same set up in your area. You might want to particularly check it out if you live in a small community - maybe your state's capitol or a bigger city in your state has e-loaning that you could get access to.
As always I'm interested in what you've been reading too! Leave a note. And next week I promise to be a better blogger, visit more sites and actually post some more! I should be done editing so I'll have more time (of course there's all that agent research to do). Blah! :)