sweet and sour

Sunday, November 11

it's rare to get an ARC for an author you know/have met. it's rarer still to get that ARC directly from the author. one of the perks of doing events!

Sweethearts, Sara Zarr's newest book, proves what i already knew -- she's not a flash in the pan. her first novel, Story of a Girl, has been a wild success -- National Book Award nominee, good critical reviews, etc. the second book can't help but be a worry, in this kind of situation: will people like it as much? will they not like it? is it too similar? is it too different?

i liked it better.

shock! blasphemy! wait, what? all kidding aside, it took me awhile to really get into Story of a Girl. deanna is a tough cookie, and i'm guessing that my hesitation was partly due to the fact that she was the girl i was afraid of in high school. this made the book more powerful for me, in the end, because by the closing pages i was right there with deanna, no longer afraid of her or confused by her. i got it, i got her, and loved the book.

Jennifer Harris aka Jenna Vaugh aka Fattifer aka JV (read it, you'll get it) of Sweethearts, however, i got right away. those of us who had a difficult elementary school experience will always recognize one another, so i felt right at home with Jenna. she's finally made headway -- lost twenty pounds, made friends at a new school, has a cute boyfriend -- and is able to ignore her difficult early years, for the most part. but then her only friend from elementary school, a boy she thought was dead, reappears. it's not an easy reunion, and the issues that Sweethearts addresses are genuine, heart-rending at times, and highlight the awkwardness of reconciling the many selves we carry around with us.

your reading list until it comes out:

This Is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis, another emerging author, is a great book about friendship, abuse, and identity. Ann Dee nailed the voice of her narrator, bringing unpopular, shy, troubled Logan to vivid life. Logan has trouble in spades -- a mysterious incident of abuse that he can't bring himself to talk about taints his life, making him simultaneously suspect and victim. his frank understanding of his own situation, his frustration with himself and his parents, and his fear of contact with his former best friend combine to create a fully realized and fully realistic story.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, of which you already know i'm a fan, is another one to add to the pile.


Teen Troves said...

I already have Sweethearts on my Wish list!