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Paper Girls 2, comic. The main new conceit of this volume (as set up at the end of volume 1) is a hugely compelling premise for me. I kind of wish they'd been able to hit it harder/dig in deeper... I mean, the emotional tone was in keeping with the rest of the comic, but. Dude. Way to concretize what happens to be one of my core emotional conflicts. Maybe there'll be fic? Maybe I'll write some?

Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee. My reaction is under the cut, as is a GIANT MASSIVE PLOT SPOILER. Sufficient warning? MAJOR SPOILERS HERE? Read more... )
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Not Your Sidekick, C.B. Lee. Charming teen superhero YA science fiction romance. I suppose technically this is authorities-with-secrets but, I don't know, it never made me roll my eyes about it? Like there were reasons that these particular kids ended up in a position to uncover the lies and fight the system other than Their Innate Teen Resistance To Conformity or whatever. Anyways, I thought it was all pretty obvious but fun and nice and had some good character beats and I appreciate recommendable happy queer teen romance. I mean, adult readers might find it too young for them, but I like there being Good Books For Teens out there, if that's not too patronizing. I mean, I can see some young bisexual Asian girl being like "holy shit A Protagonist Like Me, and she gets the girl, eeee", I don't think we're even at the point yet where we have an abundance of those. I certainly remember compulsively rereading every teen romance I could get my hands on where the girl was taller than the boy (the pattern of many of my early crushes), which was, like, one Sweet Valley High novel and a novella in a collection I've never been able to track down again. Anyways, it turns out this is the first of a trilogy and the next one's going to focus on the trans shapeshifter character, yay.

When The Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLemore. I picked this up because it won the 2016 Tiptree, and I admit I found it very slow going for awhile. Super-poetic magical realism family drama angst romance. I did eventually get through it and did enjoy some of the imagery and language, and how it unfolded, but I still kind of think it could have been about half as long for the actual story. But, much like the previous book, that may be because this book was not For Me; I totally think some young trans person is going to read this and it's going to be Their Book, the thing they write quotes from in their journal and get tattoos of when they turn 18, or at least put on their list of their ten books that most explain who they are. Older YA, if only because I'm not sure younger YA readers would have the patience for the style.

The Lotterys Plus One Emma Donoghue. Did I randomly find a book about a poly family on my library's middlegrade new books shelf? I *did*! Well, it turns out the two dads are married and the two moms are married and they're probably not polying much except to live in one giant house and have kids together, but, like, I am not trying to erase the distinctions here between romantic and familial love, but a middlegrade book probably isn't going to get much into that distinction anyways. This book is definitely from the wish-fulfillment-fantasy genre one might call "what kind of life would we make if money was no object" - there is an enormous lottery win in the backstory - and would probably make a fascinating period piece for people outside the contemporary-liberal cultural context, either past or future. The Lottery dream life is joyously racially and ethnically diverse, warmly accepting of disability and difference (we are very overtly taught the word "neurodiversity"), self-consciously Wacky (so many cutesy names and misheard words) and Unstructured (so much homeschooling) and Literate (some of the books that get name-dropped seem more random than others). I was... not entirely convinced on the main theme about adjusting to accepting a grandpa with dementia into their family instead of finding a dedicated care facility for him... his dementia is conveniently at just the right stage to elide some of the more gritty burdens of caregiving, and his racism and homophobia conveniently soften once he gets to know everybody (there is probably a book to be written that seriously grapples with the question of asking minor children to endure microaggressions in their own home in the name of non-institutionalized caregiving/loving generously, but it wasn't quite this book. probably needs to be own-voices.). And there's a few bits of other weirdness (an AFAB kid who says they're not a girl but is still given she/hers pronouns because they also don't claim to be a boy... I swear we have a good third pronoun for this situation...). But overall it was sweet and goofy and I've always had a fondness for the wacky slice-of-life adventures of characters with an abundance of family and money, going back to, like, Eight Cousins and Cheaper By The Dozen (which both have some uncomfortable racist content as I recall so yay for contemporary readevenvaguelyalikes). If you ever thought it would be cool if Dykes To Watch Out For and the Ramona Quimby series had a baby and it was a feelgood middlegrade, here you go!
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Things I have read for Hugo purposes:

The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle. I have to respect "white people are the real horror" as a theme but this didn't grab me as a story. (The POV switch away from the sympathetic first character kind of killed the momentum, alas, although I can see why LaValle didn't think he could do the whole thing from his POV.)

Penric and the Shaman, Lois McMaster Bujold. I didn't feel like this did anything that she hadn't already done better in Hallowed Hunt.

"Your Orisons May Be Recorded", Laurie Penny. Good gimmick but I have no strong reaction here.

"Blue Monday", Laurie Penny. Also enh.

The Jewel and her Lapidary, Fran Wilde. A bunch of authors I respect seem really into Wilde and I just don't get it. Here, she obviously had an ending she wanted to get to but I totally didn't understand the logic that was supposed to make it necessary? And (SPOILER)Read more... )

Infomocracy, Malka Older. A kickass near-future novel with interesting political mechanics, an awesome action scene, appealing characters, the works. On the one hand it is weird to be reading about election shenanigans that don't seem to have a lot of catastrophic real-world consequences, on the other hand it was delightfully escapist. Recommended. Minor spoiler:Read more... )
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I am so happy.

I can't write a review, because Megan Whalen Turner book. (The MATCHLESS SATISFACTION omg you guys.)

I did a complete reread of the series before reading it and am glad I did. I imagine some people might read this one and then go back and reread others and enjoy them in that direction too.

!!!!!!
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The Girl Who Drank The Moon, Kelly Barnhill, 2017 Newbery. A fairy tale type fantasy that's mythic at its best, uncompelling at its worst - "plotless" would be the wrong word, there's a pretty satisfying core story, but there's not a lot of action, and particularly not of the rising action/falling action sort. The story sets itself up, and then about where I started to expect some kind of breakout that would catapult us into a more urgent, immediate storytelling mode, just kept right on unfolding in a sort of methodical, sometimes repetitive way, until eventually all the pieces came together in the sort of "Janet? Brad! Janet? Dr. Scott!" climax that I'm not even considering a spoiler, because, look, this is middle grade, Romeo's not passing the messenger on the road back from Mantua here. There are some good strands of the plot web meanwhile, though; this is probably the best take on the mother-whose-child-is-taken fairy tale trope I've ever seen, with a mother who refuses to vanish quietly out of the story. And I feel like the characters and metaphors in general might have more power for actual older-middle-grade readers, who might also have fewer expectations about pace and tone? Or maybe not. I wonder if it might actually be the right amount of story for a movie - maybe a bit too much backstory, but it would be gorgeous in, like, a Miyazaki adaptation (and already in the right tone, you wouldn't need a dubious tonal shift like the Howl's Moving Castle adaptation, this is right along the emotional lines of Spirited Away. Oh, man, now that this has occurred to me my brain is redrawing my vague mental pictures of all the characters into anime designs and it's *perfect*.)

books

Apr. 4th, 2017 02:35 pm
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Like a River Glorious, Rae Carson, second in the trilogy that started with Walk on Earth a Stranger in which a girl who can sense gold dresses as a boy and plays Oregon Trail. I liked this one less well than the first one: [spoiler cut]
Read more... ) Anyways, I'll surely read the third one.

Frogkisser!, Garth Nix. Enjoyable, super-readable middle-grade fantasy, nice twists on fairy-tale tropes. Reminded me a great deal of Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest books which is an excellent thing for there to be more of in the world. I'm hoping I can get Junie to read it although it's got "kisser" in the title so she's reluctant.

Lagoon

Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:09 pm
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When I finally sorted/spreadsheetized my to-read list, Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon was on it multiple times, suggesting that it kept coming up on contexts where I was picking up recs. Finally read it! Like Binti, I liked that it didn't feel quite like anything else I'd ever read - reading things that are actually different turns out to be a great way to avoid that feeling of reading the same plots over and over, who knew. I felt less spoonfed, not being quite sure what to make of parts of the story... like I didn't feel like I had the cultural context to be able to tell when Okorafor was being satirical about Lagos vs just straight-up storytelling? And she did something that I had also found striking in Shawl's Everfair where fantastical elements outside of the main sfnal premise are introduced relatively late in the story and taken at face value like of course there could be animal possession or demonic roads in this universe why would you be surprised. Anyways, I didn't love it, but I found it very interesting, and I still hope to read some of Okorafor's fantasy novels to compare if/when I ever get to that part of my reading list.
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Moonshine, Alaya Dawn Johnson. So I expected to really like this - Summer Prince is one of the best YA SF books I've ever read, and Love Is The Drug, which I wasn't thrilled with at the time, is looking more prescient by the day (when LITD made the case that the best hope for America was just to escape from it, I was pretty shocked... now, well...). And Moonshine is full of appealing elements - vampires in the roaring 20s, speakeasies and jazz singers, social justice, attractive djinn, etc. Unfortunately it just didn't quite take off for me, the plot strands felt like more of a jumble than a satisfying puzzle, and the emotional throughline seemed kind of all over the place too. It would make a *really* excellent movie or miniseries though - the costumes, the song numbers, the fight scenes, plus I think the sometimes jarring episodic-ness would work better in a dramatic medium? Man, I wish the world gave me the movies I want.

School's First Day of School, story by Adam Rex/pictures by Christian Robinson, is an adorable picture book about a new school finding out what happens at school. At the end of the day, the parents come to pick up their children, and then the janitor comes to pick up the school. :) I really liked that the janitor got to be an important character (the school at first thinks it might be the janitor's house, and then finds out that the janitor has a house of his own that he goes home to), and the whole thing was very sweet, a fine entry in the first-day-of-school genre.
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The Starlit Wood is an anthology edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe of fairy tale retellings. Star-studded TOC including Sofia Samatar, Naomi Novik, Aliette de Bodard, Max Gladstone, Garth Nix, and Charlie Jane Anders - this was where Amal El-Mohtar's excellent lesbian iron shoes/glass mountain remix "Seasons of Glass and Iron" was published, before it was reprinted in Uncanny where I read it. I very much enjoy a good fairytale remix and pretty much everything here was worth reading - standouts for me were Marjorie Liu's "The Briar and the Rose", a lesbian Sleeping Beauty/Rumpelstiltskin sort of deal (theory: pretty much all fairy tales are improved by de-heteronormicizing them) and Novik's story, "Spinning Silver", a very Novik Rumpelstiltskin retell with Jews and fairies and moneylending. (Almost tempted to swap in "Spinning Silver" in my novelette nominations... for "The Tomato Thief", I guess? I don't know, I'll have to think about that.)
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Powerful shorter-than-novel fiction piece about a human colony living in an uneasy incorporation into an alien society, and the relationships of two collaborators and two separatists. Some stuff here about slow change vs burning things to the ground that really packs a punch here in the age of the destruction of the American government. I am mildly unsure of the length of this story - Asimov's called it a novelette in their table of contents, but Locus listed it with the novellas - but I'm inclined to assume Locus can count, and nominate it as a novella. Not sure though whether I'm replacing Every Heart a Doorway, which I wasn't that enthusiastic about, or Last Days of New Paris, which I'm pretty sure is too long to qualify (Locus called it a novel, so if we're going by Locus...).
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One Half from the East is a middle-grade novel by Nadia Hashimi, an American child of parents from Afghanistan, set in contemporary Afghanistan, about a ten-year-old girl whose family decides to make her a bacha posh, a girl who is temporarily dressed as a boy so that the family will have a son. I've been obsessed with gender-disguise narratives my whole life (well, gender narratives more generally, gender-choice and transition and so forth, but as a kid in the 80s and 90s, what you got was mostly girls who wanted to wear pants so they could do stuff), so obviously I was going to read this. And it was very interesting! It wasn't clear from the book whether Hashimi had, like, interviewed people, or was working from secondhand sources, or just using her imagination - it turns out there's a companion novel for adults, following one of the other characters, which I'm hoping might have more extensive author's notes or a bibliography - anyways, it's hard to say how much of the story is an American sensibility of what this kind of gender situation would feel like, or how much is authentically Afghan, but it felt plausible and nuanced to me as an American reader. I actually thought the strongest part emotionally were the parallels between the protagonist and her father, who recently lost a leg in a terrorist attack, who are both struggling to accept the changes in their lives. Anyways, I thought it was very well-written, and interesting both for telling me about a real-world practice I didn't know about, and as a realistic-fiction contrast to the gender-adventure genre.
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Novella by Kij Johnson. This was so good, I picked it up from the library today and pretty much couldn't put it down. I have not read the Lovecraft novella it's based on (Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) but have read enough Lovecraft to feel like I had the general literary context if not specifics? I've been a Johnson fan for awhile ("Man Who Bridged The Mist", "Ponies"), this novella combines great writing (if you like the descriptive fantasy sort of thing) with a killer denouement. Immediate addition to my Hugo nominations.
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The One Who Isn't, Ted Kosmatka. I like the way this one unfolded.

5x5, Jilly Dreadful. Teen geniuses at science camp.

Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus, Jeremiah Tolbert. Wheee, cyberpunk food! Except I don't mean cyberpunk, I mean whatever we call the fun anticorporate futurism now. There are two kinds of stories like this, ones where it stays fun and ones with an unpleasant gotcha. I would like you to know that this one stays fun and you can safely enjoy it. * NOVELETTE

The Siren Son, Tristina Wright. Fairytale teen romance.

Unauthorized Access, An Owomoyela. Secretly a character piece dressed up like a data heist. *NOVELETTE

The Wilderness Within, Tim Pratt. Fun magical realism scenario, possibly a reprint though.

Also this fine NOVELLA, not from Lightspeed! Kai Ashante Wilson's A Taste Of Honey is from the same universe as his novella last year, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. I loved Sorcerer; Taste isn't *quite* as powerful, but I'm still so in love with this world and with Wilson's writing, the mix of "high" and "low" language and the distinctive voices he gives characters. I would maybe read Sorcerer first for maximum impact but definitely recommend Taste, and if you don't have time to read them both and are looking for 2016 novellas, I think it would still stand alone just fine.

books

Dec. 5th, 2016 11:34 pm
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The Raven and the Reindeer, T. Kingfisher who is Ursula Vernon, 2016. A nifty YA novelization of "The Snow Queen" fairytale, with shapeshifting, and the having-to-overcome-feeling-stupid part of being a hero, and lesbians, and realizations about dangling after jerkboys. Recommended, especially if you like Fire and Hemlock.

A Closed And Common Orbit, Becky Chambers, 2016. Sort-of sequel to Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, although most of the characters from that aren't in this one. This one is more serious and intense, grapples SFnally with some not-unfamiliar brain stuff? Also I criiiiied so much oh my gosh, really hit some of my buttons for that. Recommended but while I think you *could* read them in either order, this one definitely spoils some stuff that happens in Long Way so my suggestion is to read them in publication order.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly, 2016. Sequel to Evolution of etc. Kelly has answered my objection about the previous book and laid out a path by which Callie might actually escape and make it to college! Really hoping we get a third one of these with some bigger time jumps so we can see her do it. Are series that start with a juvenile protagonist and follow them all the way into adulthood rarer now than they used to be? I mean, there's Harry Potter, but I feel like stuff like, oh, all the big classic old timey girls series, Anne and Little House and Betsy/Tacy, and then the fantasy classics like Dragonsong and Alanna, there's this whole thing where the content (and, especially in the older series, the complexity of the writing), "grows up" along with the characters. I don't know whether someone could sell a series like that today - specifically I don't know whether Kelly might have. I guess there's Princess Diaries, hrm.

The Case of the Invisible Dog and The Case of the Secret Scribbler, E.W. Hildick, illustrated by Lisl Weil. We've finally caught up to McGurks I remember! Not all or even most of the details - I think I would have read these in like 1984, and never re-read them past elementary school - but there's bits where I'm like "oh yeeeah, this is familiar." Invisible Dog is really charming, and Secret Scribbler involves an Actual Crime TM!

The Storyteller, Evan Turk, picture book, 2016. I don't follow the Caldecott (so no idea what they've been awarding) but I could see this making the list. Really neat story about storytelling, with nested framing stories. Junie was intrigued and wanted to discuss further, which she rarely does about her reading!

Zoom, Istvan Banyai. Q was fascinated by this wordless picture book in which steady "zooming out" reveals scenes to be pictures cleverly inset in other scenes. After we went through together he spent a long time flipping back and forth through the pages "zooming".
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Goldenhand, Garth Nix, 2016. Ties off threads from Clariel and the novelettes "The Creature In The Case" and (less directly) "To Hold The Bridge" as well as being a direct sequel to Abhorsen. This being Nix, there are some good settings and sequences here (that was true in Clariel too, despite my general lack of enthusiasm for that book, and this one is definitely more enjoyable), but it definitely felt like a "late book" for a series, as the momentum and creative energy winds down and runs out. If you love the characters you'll probably enjoy seeing them in action again and knowing they get closure on a bunch of fronts, but if you didn't feel like you needed to read "Creature in the Case" you can probably continue to ignore everything after Abhorsen without fear you're missing something great.

I did really like this bit: Read more... )

Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone, 2014. Third in publishing order of the five-going-on-six-book Craft Sequence; chronologically after both Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise and does involve some characters/situations from those books. Creative energy still going strong for Gladstone at this point in his series, at least. The legal-thrillers-but-with-magic aspect of these means that they're pretty satisfying (truths discovered, injustices rectified) and the magic makes for some good wow in the worldbuilding. There was a bit in the middle of this one I found profoundly moving. I remember that when I read the first two back-to-back I felt like that was too much of the same thing at once, so I'm not going to rush out to catch up on books four and five of the series, but I definitely look forward to reading them when it seems like a good time.

Hold Me, Courtney Milan, 2016. In the contemporary series that started with Trade Me. You can analyze all the dimensions to these fantasies - women get the courage to take what they want! wealthy, powerful men feel lucky that these women give them a chance! but they're really well done, and aren't most books peddling some kind of fantasy of power/justice/hope/what have you. Milan writes her characters with a lot of sympathy and nuance and real-life Stuff to deal with - this whole series seems to be shaping up to have a theme of emotional vulnerability. So it's heavier, than, like, Crusie (although there's definitely still some wackiness here, including a secondary character whose future book I can't wait for). Also the couple in this one is a trans Latina woman and a bi Asian dude, which is just *neat*, like, I'm not really up on the self-published contemporary scene but I know I've never found a trans character on the romance racks at the library.

Swarm

Oct. 6th, 2016 07:19 pm
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Swarm, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti, second of the trilogy that started in Zeroes. Spoiler cut for major spoilers.
Read more... )

books

Sep. 25th, 2016 11:57 am
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I'm falling behind on books. (Well, and, perpetually, almost everything else too... but right now I am addressing the topic of books...)

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloane. I knew almost nothing about this except that it had been recommended by a friend, and that was a great way to read it, but I'm going to give y'all a little more detail so you know how it fits into the spectrum of things I recommend. So, a) this is a *nice* book, a book with a warm and rosy glow, I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. b) It reminded me a little bit of Ready Player One except more universal and w/fewer annoying bits. c) Google is involved and I would love to hear from anyone who's worked at or with Google what they thought of the portrayal of Google in the book. And a couple of spoilers: Read more... )

vN, Madeline Ashby. Apparently first of a trilogy of which the third book does not exist yet, but if I hadn't read that I wouldn't have known, it read like a standalone. Posthuman rogue robot hijinks! I am so psyched to have read this book because I finally have a woman author to list with Greg Egan and Peter Watts when I'm talking about people doing hardcore non-sentimental post-human futurism. Good stuff here about identity and robot-human relations and what it means to be a child and what it means to be an adult and consent and family. Ashby is exploring some similar territory to Stross in Saturn's Children but I'm so much more interested in thoughts about what it means to be a sex class/created as sex object from a woman? Sorry, but, like, similarly, I will be much more interested in what it means to be created as laborers/as bodies to suffer danger/pain from a writer who comes from a background of having their ancestors' bodies imported as commodities for those purposes. Not that I think I've actually read that book yet but if it's out there someone should recommend it to me immediately. It's like how Butler has much smarter stuff to say about race/species relations than anyone else, there's a real example. One interesting note, there's a murder of a human child pretty early on that for whatever reason *didn't* bother me, I mean, I'm not saying I was cheering, but it didn't set off the typical waterworks of child death, it would probably be interesting if I could put my finger on why not, but I can't, just didn't?

The Fifth Season, NK Jemisin. And on the topic of child death (there's a great transition), Josh read this and enjoyed it so I gave it a second go in preparation for reading the sequel when we get it. Turns out I really had already found all of the child death/torture in my first attempt, so no new awfulness, and I got to read some nifty stuff I hadn't found before, so that was nice. Iiiii don't know, I still don't feel like I would recommend these to anyone but I guess I'll have to see what she does in the second book? There is some genuinely *really cool* stuff here in and around the world too brutal to stand. (And then I read Facebook and it's like three new horrific shootings/beatings to death by cops, so, to be clear, I am not blaming Jemisin for writing about a world too brutal to stand, we may also be living in one.)
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I really love it when books I'm reading in some coincidental order (availability, whim, etc) turn out to have some interesting theme or common thread together. Cairo by G Willow Wilson and MK Perker and The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks are graphic novels about metropolis cities and the people who come to them and through them and how they're able to ally in hope of a better future. Cairo is Wilson's first work, before Alif the Unseen (which I still haven't read) or Ms. Marvel, and is a standalone; this is the first volume of Nameless City and it says it's continuing in volume two, dunno how long it's intended to be. I would recommend both, if you like comics - Nameless City is maybe an easier read, it's colorful and the pacing is more decompressed, more manga-influenced in its wordless action panels. They have interestingly contrasting takes on who should get to speak, who gets a place at the table - Cairo took a sharper stance on, like, white people should shut up and listen, Israel should be rejected (at least in its military-occupation aspect), the only voice that matters is the ordinary citizens of Cairo, while Nameless City, maybe because it has the freedom of being set in a fictional world, seems to be taking more of an "everybody gets a place at the table, the way forward is for conquerors and conquered to work together" approach that I find very appealing but would probably make a lot of people mad if it was about a real city's history.
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Man, maybe when I'm all the way down the Duolingo tree I should celebrate by reading a book in Spanish, I haven't tried that in twenty years.

Anyways. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly, is a middle grade about an 11-year-old girl in 1899 Texas who becomes interested in evolution and bonds with her naturalist grandfather. It's been awhile since I read anything in the "girl in historical setting resents limitations/expectations of her gender" genre (although heck knows I used to devour them when I was younger) so I don't remember if they all felt this bittersweet - Callie longs to go to university and see the world, but there's zero indication that this is going to be possible, and quite a bit of indication that she's going to be expected to give up her dreams and conform. So it's more like a "she's getting this magical time in her young life before reality descends" book than "and then she totally grew up to be Kate Sessions" (or whoever your fave lady naturalist is at the moment), despite her grandfather name-dropping a list of historical lady scientists. (Curie, Martha Maxwell, Anning, Kovalevskya, Isabella Bird.) There's apparently a sequel, I'll be curious to see whether this changes.

Company Town, Madeline Ashby. Near-future thriller is not my favorite genre, but as I often think about these books, this one has some clever sfnal ideas in and around the running around, including a woman whose birthmark is natural face-recognition-software camouflage, and post-Singularity AIs trying to meddle with the past. It more or less all hangs together - I found some of the scenes/plot developments at the end kind of muddled, so that I had to reread a couple of times to sort out what was meant, but I got there eventually. And it was very readable in general, in the sense of pace and momentum, and had some good lines, and a neat setting, and, I mean, near-future thriller isn't my *least* favorite genre either, sometimes it's fun to read about someone running around having fights/solving murders/etc and this one has a good protagonist and perspective, so, hey.

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell. Waaaah nostalllgia. Better critics than I have written about the somewhat awkward handling of race in this novel, so let me just say, that's there, but my white privilege let me focus more on the teen-romance parts than the dubious-representation parts, and Rowell does so well with capturing the immensity of that first romance and the intensity of every particular tiny step? I read so much slashfic where people confess their feelings and someone has a dick up their ass five seconds later, I really love the contrast of teen stories where someone very daringly touches a collarbone on the eighth date. Anyways, I ended up crying on the couch at one in the morning listening to "Get Lost" very very loud in my headphones (which isn't even my personal teen heartbreak nostalgia soundtrack, that would be more like REM/U2/Metallica, but it's become the iconic album of those emotions for me), which was an excellent outcome as far as I'm concerned, so, recommended if that sounds good to you.
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Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling. Delilah Dirk is one of those things for me that, the instant I heard there was a second Delilah Dirk book out, I was looking up what library I could go get it at in the morning. (Okay, it might have been the afternoon.) Partnership! The travails of living a double life! Swordfighting in a dress! God I love them so much. (I bet Junie will love these in a couple of years, if she keeps reading comics...) 2016 graphic work.

The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo, translated from Finnish by Lola Rogers. In alternate-history dystopic Finland where women have been domesticated, one throwback woman pursues the illicit high of capsaicin... I enjoyed this a lot, the gender stuff is not really anything new if you already hate gender/compulsory femininity/etc, but I assume as long as women have to live in patriarchies they're going to want to write pissed-off books about that. The dystopia is nicely presented through found-text type insertions, there's some really neat writing in the synasthesic way the main character perceives emotions/sensations, and the whole chili-as-controlled-substance thing was great. 2013 book, 2016 translation.

Deadline for McGurk and The Case of the Condemned Cat, E. W. Hildick. There's a very good chance the McGurk Organization was the fictional universe of my very first imaginary self-insert character - I can't remember anything about her now, but I very dimly recall being a little embarrassed when I read Vanishing Ventriloquist and it added a talented, exotic new girl member to the club, like, hey, I knew this story. (And already knew to be embarrassed by it, apparently.) Anyways, I thought of the McGurk mysteries when Junie got into the A to Z Mysteries recently, and of course I'm rereading them, both for nostalgia and to see how they hold up a generation later. They're not bad! A little gender antiquated (Wanda, the Girl of the Five Man Band - although they won't actually meet the Nerd for another four books, so right now it's a Four Man Band - "can climb trees as well as any boy", which is "strange for a girl"), and everyone is white, but the mysteries are good, and the period details might be interesting. (McGurk's yard is full of litter, primarily cigarette butts - can you imagine a kid's book mentioning smoking now? And the solution to the second mystery hinges on someone buying an unplucked pigeon from the meat department of a supermarket - I guess in 1975 that was something you could do?) Junie has requested more of them and I intend to keep reading too; we haven't hit any of the ones I remember anything about yet, so that should be fun when we do.
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