Thursday, May 06, 2010

YA Sprawl

Sometimes when I go on a long stretch of really light reading, I can't seem to get my head together to blog about it. It's all from the gut around here. Anyway, I've been reading up a storm, and had some good hits.

The big thrill has been The Merry Misogynist, by Colin Cotterill. It's the most recent Dr. Siri mystery, and I think it's the best one since the first, maybe even the best one period. There's a supernatural thread that runs through the series, and in some books it's a little overwhelming--extended dream sequences, drug trips, and spirit world adventures generally make for a bit of a slog in my opinion. Dr. Siri's are more fun than most, but eventually I want to get back to corrupt bureaucrats and cranky villagers.

This most recent book is great. It's got a dash of the supernatural, but it by no means dominates the story. It's clear which threads of the plot are major and which are minor, and it's an all-around satisfying (if light) mystery. Oodles of fun.

I've also been reading Betsy-Tacy and Tib, which is the second of the Betsy-Tacy books. It's very sweet, though really a little kid book. I suspect I'll read it to Adam when he's bigger--though the characters are all girls, none of their adventures are particularly girlie. I'm interested in reading how the series evolves--it follows the girls as they grow up, and matures with them. I've heard that, after the little kid ones, the high school one, Betsy was a Junior, is the best. I'm not sure if I'll skip ahead or try to read on through.

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, is another one I've just finished. It's a very standard-seeming book about a free-thinking high school girl who's in touch with herself and not susceptible to whe whims of the crowd, and the boy who loves her but can't handle her individuality. It's a little on the after-school-special side--a story for another generation, where the quirky girl is startling. If it was a period piece, something more from the '70s, I'd get it more, but it's more modern, and so feels clunky. What I will grant it, though, is that it leaves me seriously wanting to send anonymous cards to my neighbors and strangers I pass in the grocery store, just to cheer them up.

The Dream Maker's Magic had all the usual Sharon Shinn magic, the telling of small details of life, the person transformations. Loved it. Also Caroline Cooney's They Never Came Back, which is a small, personally told story about the mystery of a girl whose parents fled fraud charges and left her behind. It felt slight, but I enjoyed it; one of those books that doesn't really transcend the fact that it's intended for young adults, but does its job.

That's what I was doing while I wasn't blogging last week. Let's see what happens during this next period of slacking!


Book Club Girl said...

Keep on reading Betsy Tacy! the series just gets better and better as the girls get older. I love Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, the last of the 4 younger books - the girls are 12 and starting to grow up. And then they hit high school in Heaven to Betsy and it's so great! The last six books of the series which cover the four years of high school, plus Betsy's year of travel in Europe just prior to WWI and then her return home to marry we reissued as 3 2-book sets last year. Read them, you won't be disappointed!!

Carrie said...

I adored her high school years, maybe because I really wanted my high school years to involve singing around a piano, going for sleigh rides and getting kissed under the mistletoe and throwing apple curlings. Damn it. When I was a kid I really didn't get Betsy in the Great World which is her year in Europe, but as an adult I was enthralled. I mean she's living in Germany on the brink of war. It's crazy. The only one that sucks is the very last one where she gets married.

Linden said...

I read a bunch of the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books when I as younger and remember really liking them. I don't think I got to high school, though. Let me know if it's worth going back and reading the later ones!