November 22, 2010

NaNoReMo: week 3

I'm behind on my NaNoReMo goal of reading three books a week :( After week 2's huge effort I only managed two books last week, but I enjoyed them both.

The first was Cassie by Barry Jonsberg. From Goodreads:
Holly hates her name, her looks and her life. She isn't in with the right crowd and she has little hope of dating the gorgeous Raph McDonald. With Cassie staying, she has to move out of her bedroom into the tiny, smelly spare room, and she feels her life couldn't be more unfair. So when Demi, the coolest girl in school, invites Holly on a make-over shopping spree, she jumps at the chance. Even Cass can see that Holly is stretching her wings. But will she fly or fall?

This was a really interesting book, both in its narrative and stylistically. There's a lot of talk about how there's not enough diversity in YA, and I think that includes characters with disabilities.* As a reader, I thought Jonsberg did an amazing job of communicating what it is like to be trapped in a body that won't obey your mind, and also in creating Cassie and Holly as well-rounded, believable characters. I also loved Holly's dry wit. As a writer, I was intrigued by Jonsberg's mix of first and third person narration, which I haven't come across before.
The second was Little Bird by Penni Russon. From Goodreads:
Ruby-lee is cynical about love; after all, she's watched her sister Shandra call off her wedding three times a week. But when Shandra volunteers her to babysit her friend's seven month old baby, Ruby-lee discovers just what love means. First she's overcome by powerful feelings for tiny Maisy, then she starts spending time with Maisy's dad, Spence. She even begins to imagine a future together, as a family. But where will Ruby-lee's fantasies lead? And what sort of trouble could they get her into? When it looks like Ruby-lee might lose everything, she has to discover what love truly is to find her own heart.
Little Bird came highly recommended, and for good reason. As both a reader and a writer I loved Russon's exploration of love in all its forms. Her writing is beautiful and she managed to pack so much into a relatively short book, without making the pacing too rushed. It also appealed to me that the book is set in Tasmania - a state I don't know nearly enough about!
* Cassie has cerebral palsy.

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