December 29, 2008

Winter YA Fiction Roundup, Part I

I've been reading a lot lately--really--but I've not had time to sit down and write reviews like I'd normally do. So, first of all, I thought I'd deal with some of the backlog by doing a quick set of one (or two or three) line writeups. So, here goes:

Siobhan Dowd's Bog Child, a 2008 Cybils nominee, is an unconventional mystery set in 1980s Ireland during the heart of the "Troubles." I was surprisingly touched by the story of Fergus, who is trying to resist being drawn into the conflict, hoping to get good exam grades so he can get the heck out of there and study to become a doctor. When he and his uncle discover a body in a local bog while digging for peat, Fergus finds himself strangely intrigued by the mummified girl--who appears to have been murdered. There's just a hint of the supernatural to this story, with threads of the past interwoven with the present, and it's also a wrenching story of family and loyalty. I was truly sad to hear that the author recently died, and I look forward to reading the rest of her work.

At a library book exchange, I randomly picked up a copy of Leftovers by Laura Wiess. This is the story of Blair and Ardith, two best friends and troubled teens with indescribably horrible parents and sometimes almost unbelievably hurtful classmates. It's a gripping and rather sordid story--and sounds a bit like it would make a good TV drama, with its somewhat hyperbolic portrayal of evil selfish mothers and icky fathers. However, there's definitely enough realism in there that I was able to suspend my disbelief and get caught up in the building tension--and the appalling unintended consequences. I wasn't a fan of the second-person viewpoint--its relentless recurrence was distracting--but the writing is suspenseful and dramatic. A good quick read, if a bit dark.

1 comment:

jocelyn said...

I loved Leftovers and don't love Lifetime...But when you said that it would make a good TV drama, I immediately thought, "Lifetime! Over the top Lifetime movie!" I can definitely see it.