... for reading that is. I spent today just having a mainly quiet day with my sweetie. Saturday was a bit more hectic, culminating in a wedding we attended with lots of friends. Somehow though between Friday evening and tonight I read two very different, but very good YA novels.
It happens quite often that I hold out when I read that a book is "wonderful" or "stupendous" or such because too often in my reading life I have been drawn into the hype only to be disappointed. With these two books, I waited and was not disappointed.
The first, my Friday read, was Shine by Lauren Myracle. Not only was there lots of hype over this one, it was also mixed up in that Shine vs Chime National Book Award kerfuffle. I think the mistake there was that they were not both nominated in the first place. Shine deals with a hate crime perpetrated on a young man simply because he is homosexual. The victim does not appear directly in the story until the end. Instead the focus is on his former best friend who regrets cutting him out of her life after she has a scarring experience. She makes it her mission to investigate in this small town in a way the sheriff seems unable or unwilling to do. Through her efforts we learn a great deal about her, the victim, and their small group of acquaintances. I am always glad when a YA author takes the expected "search for self" motif and approaches it in a unique way as Myracle has done with Cat.
My second read of the weekend is Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I cannot agree with one review stating this was better than The Hunger Games, while it does have some similarities, it is a strong story without those commonalities. In this case I am glad to have waited to read it because the second book, in what I imagine will be a trilogy, is coming out in just two weeks so I do not have to wait a year....or more.
One day, that starts like all the rest for Saba, her brother Lugh, and her sister Emmi, four men come to their home, kill their father and take Lugh. The book then gets going as Saba leaves home behind in order to find her brother and protect her sister. This post-apocalyptic world is run by corrupt men who prey on the weak and control the populace with chaal, a powerful drug that renders one benign unless too much is taken in which case behavior is erratic and often violent. Along the way Saba befriends a group of post-apocalyptic Amazons, Jack, a mystery man of sorts, and many other well-developed characters who all have different ways of trying to survive this horrifying world. Most similarities to The Hunger Games are superficial; the most striking is Saba a strong female whose strength is prompted by her love of family and the desire to avoid losing any more than she already has. I am looking forward to the second book, Rebel Heart. Cannot say I am fan of that title, but the blurb sounds good and I am looking forward to getting back to that world.
Next up: The Raven Boys by Marrgie Stiefvater whose book The Scorpio Races about man eating race horses sounded ridiculous, but turned out to be a unique story.