All tagged Rainbow Rowell
Blogger Reynje wrote the best review of Elizabeth Scott's brilliant Heartbeat and digs into who much some readers have hated the main character.
If Emma’s character is divisive then I’m stating right now that I’m firmly on her side. I want to see more of this: more honesty, more difficulty, more discomfort. Sometimes teenage girls are angry, or sad, or complicated. And that’s okay.
But as I’ve thought about the novel over the past two months, mulling over the possibility that I was perhaps being too sensitive, that the possibility of my being too sensitive was unfairly impacting my view of the rest of the book, and the book as a whole, my final analysis has always been the same: I don’t believe this book.
I don’t believe the historical context.
I don’t believe the characters.
I don’t believe the romance.
Eleanor and Park is framed as a historical novel, taking place in Omaha, Nebraska, the author Rainbow Rowell’s hometown, in 1986. Our titular 16-year-old characters meet on the school bus when Park grudgingly allows new kid Eleanor to share his seat.
Park is half-Korean, his parents having met and married in South Korea, where his father was stationed as a member of the army. Hmmmmm. Okay, so they met around 1968? 1969? I have to assume it was no later than 1969 since as a sixteen year old in 1986, Park would have to have been born in 1970. So...during the height of the Vietnam War, when a draft was in place to send as many young men as possible into the fray, Park’s father, an able-bodied member of the U.S. military was...stationed at an army base in Korea. Possible, I suppose, but still a bit ludicrous to me.
Ok, so then his parents get married and move to his father’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska where Park is raised and, according to Park, the good people of Omaha,
“...couldn’t call him a freak or a [anti-Asian slur] or a [homosexual slur], because—well, first, because his dad was a giant and a veteran and from the neighborhood.”
Let me get this straight.
I spend a fair amount of time snarking on covers that just don’t do it for me, so I thought I’d spotlight a few upcoming covers that rock my world. I thought I’d focus on young adult covers, since that’s that category that seems to have the worst case of same-old, same-old in terms of cover art.
It seems like publishers are finally moving away from the frothy dress/lots of hair covers, doesn’t it?
I don’t really understand what this book is about, but I will be buying Paper Valentine—in paper form, and I’m a pretty dedicated digital reader—even though it sounds like it’s not my normal thing. The cover artwork is just that gorgeous and eye-catching. I would usually hate the title’s type treatment, but it works with the intricate details of the papercut-style graphic. It feels mysterious and is more mature than a lot of YA covers (all of Yovanoff’s books have had covers I’d label as “sophisticated”).
Even though I—once again—don’t really understand what this book is about (an early review mentioned an f-bomb-dropping mer-boy) but I love the striking cover featuring fish hooks. While I’d prefer the author’s name be larger (it’s hard to see on a screen), I forgive that because the textured background is so unusual and eye-catching. This is one I’ll probably check out as well based only on the intriguing cover art.
I love to buy books. Ebooks, paper books, whatever. I simply love to own books. It’s probably a disease of some sort.
Sure, I use my library, especially my library’s ebook collection (more on that in a minute), since it always nice to visit my library without the hassle of, you know, leaving the house. But, ultimately, I feel good about buying books, because I know that it supports the people who create the books I love—authors, yes, but also the editors and book designers and everyone else who’s involved in the creation and curation* of what’s on our shelves, virtual or physical.
And with the combination of publishers—particularly Penguin—simultaneously raising their ebook prices while yanking their titles from libraries’ ebook collections, that’s exactly how I feel.
Let me tell you a little story about my recent attempt to read one of Penguin’s new releases, Patricia Briggs’ Fair Game.
I’ve been hit or miss with the Alpha & Omega spinoff series of the Mercy Thompson series. I liked the first book just fine and was rather “meh” on the second. So, while the books in the main series are auto-buys for me, because they’re guaranteed good reads, I’m not as confident in the Alpha & Omega series.
But, since there’s not going to be a new Mercy book until 2013 (sob!), I decided that I’d been missing the Mercyverse way too much and would revist this parallel series in the same world. Since it was a hardback release, I knew it would be a perfect Kindle book. (I have tendinitis in my right hand so hardbacks, are murder on my hands—I’d quit reading any new releases unless they were in paperback before my husband bought me my Kindle three years ago. Additionally, our house is super-tiny—around 800 square feet—so I can’t bring paper books that aren’t part of my “permanent collection” into the house.)
Logging onto Amazon, I discovered that the book was priced at $12.99. Given that this series is iffy for me, and that it was fewer than 300 pages, I balked at that price point. Momentarily forgetting that Penguin had abandoned libraries’ ebook collections, I logged onto Multnomah County Library’s website to put a hold on the ebook.
Oh, right… Penguin doesn’t want libraries to lend ebooks.
We met Rebeca at the March meeting of Portland’s Forever Young Adult Book Club. (Come hang with us at The Kennedy School on April 21!) Rebeca is a voracious reader, so her request for some new reads is super-tough, because she’s read a lot of books—a lot. She’s in particular need of some books that make her feel good—nothing sad or depressing or violent or where everyone dies in the end.
Here are her responses to our extremely scientific Book Matchmaker Questionnaire.
YA or Adult: Surprise me!
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magical Realism
POV & Narrative Style: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Epistolary, Graphic Novel or Graphic Elements, Present Tense, Past Tense, Male POV, Female POV, Unreliable Narrator
Swoon Factor: 5
Gross Out Factor: 4
Smut Factor: 5
Fluff Factor: 5
Favorite Books and/or Themes: “Fairy tales, unexpected moments, books that make me think, clever & smart writing, angst. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite writers and I also love books like Sherry Thomas’ Not Quite a Husband.”
Hated Tropes/Themes: “Please, nothing sad or disturbing and no non-fiction.”
We had to call in some expert advice on this one, since Rebeca has read everything. So our Twitter friend and soon-to-be published author Alanna Blackett (her first novella, Unsecure Connection—which sounds extremely badass is out later this month from Decadent) lent us a hand.