Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On

 

Check out guest contributor Kristy Elam’s reviews of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On! Kristy is an avid reader, former English teacher, current tutor and book editor, and a life-long learner. She is married and the mother of two amazing boys. She loves Harry Potter, Stephen King, own voices stories, and dystopian novels.

Fangirl: A NovelCarry On (Simon Snow Series)Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series)

I read Fangirl years ago, well before this blog, so I can’t give you a “first time” review. However, after reading this gem the second time, I can easily say I loved it even more. I was introduced to Rainbow Rowell’s books via an online book club, and I was skeptical. Her works sounded too cute for me. My first of hers was Eleanor & Park, which dealt with difficulties like bullying and a difficult family. I quickly realized there was more than “cute” to this books. My next book was Fangirl. And as much as I loved Eleanor & Park, Fangirl will always be my favorite of hers. I’ve read dozens of coming-of-age stories, but the main character in this one, Cath, really just captured my attention. She’s off to college, separated from her twin, Wren, and really struggling. Cath and Wren write fan fiction. But Wren has a new roommate and the divide between the twins is growing, much to Cath’s horror.

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Queer YA: Patrick Ness’s Release

ReleaseIf you haven’t read a book by Patrick Ness, you are really missing out. He is one of my favorite authors, and everything I’ve read from him has been a hit, including Release. I’ve previously reviewed one of his books More Than This review  but I cannot recommend his Chaos Walking trilogy enough. Published the same years as The Hunger Games, it was a pioneer in the modern young adult dystopia genre and is FINALLY getting a film adaptation. I plan to reread the series next year. He also wrote A Monster Calls, which is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. You might have also seen the very well done movie. So, anytime a Ness book comes out, I clamber to get my copy. Continue reading

Queer YA: Laurel Wanrow’s Guardian of the Pines

Guardian of the Pines (The Windborne Book 2)Every once in awhile I invite guest contributors to review for Raise Them Righteous. This review of Laurel Wanrow’s Guardian of the Pines is by Sean Farrell, a lecturer of English at the University of Texas at Arlington. I hope this won’t be his last contribution!

YA fantasy can sometimes feel a bit same-y: a chosen one goes on a quest and defeats a great evil, perhaps finding love along the way. Laurel Wanrow, in Guardian of the Pines, inverts or flat-out ignores many of these familiar tropes, leading to a unique fantasy adventure that feels like a breath of fresh air. Continue reading

YA Coming Soon: Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands

Image result for Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White LandsGuest Review by Sara Austin, PhD

Because there was so much apocalyptic YA fiction, it is rare to find something truly different, but Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands delivers just that. Samuel, the main character of the novel, is not gifted with magic by birth or circumstance. This lack of “Chosen One” status is what sets Demon in the White Lands apart from many other entries into the genre. Samuel is relatable, a flawed character whose decisions seem realistic. Also, because Samuel is not special in a traditional YA sense, Richard relies on characters and relationships to drive her plot. Continue reading

Kit Mallory’s Blackout

Kit Mallory’s dystopian young adult novel, Blackout, is full of as much stellar character development as it is breathless action. Mallory delivers the story with a sense of urgency but doesn’t neglect character backstory or the events informing the text’s destitute politics. This leaves the reader feeling like they’ve spent far more than mere hours getting to know the characters and inhabiting their world. Continue reading

Available NOW: Shout Out (Queer YA)

Andrew Wheeler has edited a brilliant collection of eighteen LGBTQ2SIA+ comics targeted to a teen audience. This much needed anthology, Shout Out, begins with a thoughtful foreword by Nalo Hopkinson who testifies to the significance of the collection for queer teens who rarely see representation of gender and sexuality that mirror their identities and experiences.

Most of the comics tell cotton candy sweet love stories and Hopkinson notes she was at first critical of this idealistic picture of queer love. But she then exhaled and realized the stories made her happy. She writes: Continue reading

Matt Mendez’s Barely Missing Everything

Barely Missing Everything

Matt Mendez’s emotionally demanding Barely Missing Everything (2019) explores the lives of working-class Mexican Americans living in El Paso, TX.  A teenage boy named Juan anchors the text, which focalizes his experiences as well as those of his mother, Fabi, and his best friend, JD.

Juan and JD are high school seniors planning life after high school, but just barely. They both have hazy visions of the future. JD, a film enthusiast, aspires to make movies and carries a camera wherever he goes. Juan, a high school basketball star on a mediocre team, doesn’t imagine himself doing anything else. Additionally, Fabi, a teen mom turned 30-something mom of a teenager, tends bar to make ends meet. Continue reading

Lucile De Pesloüan’s What Makes Girls Sick and Tired

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired, written by Lucile De Pesloüan and illustrated by Geneviève Darling, will be published March 19 by Second Story Press. It’s a brief and simple text that pairs minimalist illustrations of diverse girls and women with short descriptions of forms of discrimination, stereotyping, and oppression experienced because of gender and sexual identities. Continue reading

Chandra Prasad’s Damselfly

A few kids. A crash landing. An island that may or may not be inhabited (or possessed). It’s the stuff of a story we don’t seem able to stop telling.

William Golding’s 1954 version, Lord of the Flies, lives on in our collective imagination, resurfacing in songs by Iron Maiden and on random television shows like The Simpsons. Golding’s take was inspired by The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean, an 1858 book by R. M. Ballantyne. In Ballantyne’s version the kids who crash on the island are moralistic cherubs with a penchant for converting cannibalistic barbarians (yes, it is racist). Golding wasn’t buying the moral simplicity proffered by Ballantyne and created a dystopian parody emphasizing human nature as well as the relationship between humans and nature. Continue reading