May 31, 2005

Swollen, Melissa Lion

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Although this book is told from Samantha’s, the main character’s, point of view, she is so good at not really thinking about the things in her life that are affecting her, that it takes a long time for us to get the full picture. Samantha has slept around some, and doesn’t feel great about it, though she hasn’t slept around as much as people credit her with, and she definitely didn’t sleep with the super popular boy who dies right at the beginning of the book, though he leads people to believe she did. She struggles with her self-image and therefore the image others have of her: she’s an athlete, she’s a slut, she’s a girl who wants to love somebody and have somebody love her. At the core her relationship (and lack thereof) with each of her parents has a lot to do with what is happening with her. This book isn’t heavy on the plot, and in that way and many others maintains a lot of honesty. She meets a boy, thinks he could be the one, and then discovers . . .

May 30, 2005

Annie On My Mind

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I finally read this book after years of having it recommended to me – gblt ya is one of my favorite genres, and this book is a classic. Having now read it, I understand why so many people were trying to push it one me, and why it has earned its place as a classic. This is, at its core, a sweet story about first love. That it happens to be about two girls discovering something essential about themselves and the way they love enhances it. But Nancy Garden manages to keep the story about emotion, about that amazing feeling of pure, sweet, and somewhat innocent love. Sure, there is drama-–no good love story is without its trials. But more than most ya romance, this one maintains a good balance and doesn’t tend toward the melodramatic. Garden is respectful of her characters feelings, and portrays them (both the characters and the feelings) as having enormous depth and complexity.