I'm slowly reading the 2011 Nebula Awards Nominees for (science fiction & fantasy) books in the Young Adult & Novel categories.
Recently Finished Reading
Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King. Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
This is a gem of a book about bullying (to the extreme) and trying to cope with it. I wouldn't normally read a book featuring a teenaged boy as a main character as I feel I can't relate (especially after Will Grayson, Will Grayson) - but in this case, I was totally wrong, and that is certainly 100% because of the author & how she weaved the story - delving not only into Lucky's life, but also that of his parents & their relationship, as well as his uncle & aunt who went to stay with. This is the 1st young adult book I've read that also takes into account the adults & their actions. (Amazon| Goodreads)
Among Others, Jo Walton. Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead.
When I read Fantasy novels, I want them HEAVY on the fantasy. I want those elements to be the main focus - and it wasn't really for this book. Instead, this was more a coming-of-age story with some fantasy elements (Mori could see fairies, and perform some magic). Plus, it was just too HEAVY on the references to other science fiction & fantasy novels. Our girl Mori likes to read, and we are subject to hearing about almost every freaking book she's ever read in her life ... and she reads a LOT ... this books gives me flashbacks to The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides, which also suffered from the same problem of way too many book references (see Weekly Reading in My World of Color with The Marriage Plot).
And, this book is written as a series of diary entries - but how interesting can the diary of a 15 year old girl with very few friends be ... not very - hence the BAZILLION references to all the novels she reads. So, I don't know about this one. The writing was excellent, and towards the middle it got a bit more interesting than the first 100+ pages, but overall, it was just okay for me. (Amazon| Goodreads)
* Among Others is nominated for a 2011 Nebula Awards (surprisingly NOT in the Young Adult category) and a Hugo Award, for which I'll also be reading all the nominated books in the Best Novel category.
Currently Reading and Next
Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson. Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right? (Amazon | Goodreads)
Firebird, Jack McDevitt. Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies. Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several interstellar yachts flown far outside the planetary system where they too vanished. And following Robin's trail into the unknown puts Benedict and Kolpath in danger. (Amazon | Goodreads)
- Inspired by It's Monday, What Are You Reading @ Book Journey.