Sunday, December 25, 2011

a very happy christmas to you all

in the tradition of fabulous, large and delightful families in fiction - here i'm thinking of natalie standiford's sullivan family, or the casson family by hilary mckay or even the radlett family from the fabulous nancy mitford - here is the most very best christmas video by the gorgeous and hilarious gladstone family. may all your christmases be as madcap as this!

go to charlie and caroline's blog here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm a small town girl, get me out of here! (part one)

Saving June, Hannah Harrington (Harlequin Teen)

In Saving June (which really ought to be called Saving Harper or Saving Jake, because poor old June is beyond saving) Harper isn't necessarily looking to expand her world view or escape her town - but rather she is trying to escape or assuage her grief after her seemingly perfect older sister kills herself for a reason that nobody can decipher.

Her divorced parents cope with their grief in their own ways – her dad and his new girlfriend don’t call and her mother drinks a lot. Harper's christian aunt is making it really difficult for her to grieve her own way.

Harper is a self-confessed bad/rebellious girl - though if she really were a bad girl the reader potentially wouldn't like her very much, so really we know from the start that she's just a bit sad and angry.

Scruffy rock music lover Jake, who turns up is the potential love interest, though we aren't sure what the relationship between Jake and June had been. An interest in music is a nice touch to any book, like Sarah Dessen's ace Just Listen, and it's just gorgeous (warning, condescension ahead) when young people "discover" old music and think it's revolutionary.*

To prevent her parents from dividing her sister’s ashes into his and hers urns, and to grant June’s wish to move to California, Harper and her friend Laney (of the vintage clothes , straight-talking and slightly odd plot arc**) and the aforementioned Jake (who, of course, has a secret) steal the ashes and roadtrip in Jake’s van to the West Coast, which is where the story really starts. Crazy antics, kooky sights to see, encounters in mosh pits, fights and some sexytimes.

A lot happens. And I think because so much is going on, so many different places and conversations there's a funny pacing and I lost momentum a little towards the end. The scene in which they farewell June somehow felt too short, or anti-climactic, though it was raw, physical, and original.

There were lot of issues crammed in, but Saving June was a very enjoyable read overall. This review on goodreads says all I wanted to say but better. And read the comments too.

Click here to read more reviews of books with dead people in them about grief.

*yes, i am a bitter old lady and i totally listened to that band before you. any band. all bands!
**which (spoiler) goes something along the lines of date rape, unwanted pregnancy, no talk of pressing charges or STDs and with one wholly unsatisfying conclusion.