Three cool things

I have been told that it is often confusing what sort of a book each book is when I review it, so I’m going to start noting that at the beginning of each review.  Also, watch this space for a super-awesome Bookavore book-rating system that will be based on my other true love: food.

53. Potential, written and illustrated by Ariel Schrag (Touchstone, 2008).  Graphic novel.  I really liked this, even more than Awkward and Definition.  Schrag’s art gets incredible, especially the dream sequences, and her manner of storytelling is straightforward but somehow never felt like an overshare (despite the very sensitive nature of most of the stories).  Would probably resonate a lot with lesbian/bi/queer teens even more than the first book.  I also loved her depiction of her family as it fell apart, especially that her first relationship with a girl completely overshadows that collapse.  The one thing I would love to have seen in this re-print or in the first one is to hear how she looks at the books now, 10 years later.  But other than that, loved it.

54. Jerk, California, by Jonathan Friesen (Speak/Penguin, 9/08). YA fiction.  I was a bit wary of this book because I thought it might be a very-special-story-about-a-teen-with-Tourette’s, but it really wasn’t at all.  The main character has Tourette’s (as does the author), and of course that’s an important part of the story, but it’s almost secondary to the book.  To me, more than anything, it was a story about the weird period between high school graduation and the rest of your life.  Sam/Jack (the narrator; you’ll have to read it to see why he has two names) has a slightly weirder period there than most, since he’s charged by a friend of his father’s (who died when he was very young) to drive across the country on a specific route, but he’s still dealing with the same issues: who he is, where he comes from, and what he wants to do next.  And a girl.  I really liked this a lot; not surprisingly, given the author’s background, the discussion and use of Tourette’s is informative and interesting without being exploitative.  Sam/Jack’s alternating strength and weakness is real and endearing, and though it wraps up neatly, it doesn’t feel too clean.

Also, this link to a great literary mix CD.  I am inspired to try one of my own, although I think it’s going to take awhile!  (Adding LitMinds to my reader right now!)

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