It all starts, as these things sometimes do, with a dead man.
He was a neighbour, not someone Abby knew well, but still, finding a body when you only came over to borrow a tin of tomatoes, that comes as a bit of a shock. At least, it should.
And now she can’t shake the feeling that if she hadn’t gone into Simon’s flat, if she’d had her Wednesday night instead, then none of what happened next would have happened.
And she would never have met Melody Black…
The Mirror World of Melody Black reminds me of films that look good on the trailers, but prove to be a bit of a disappointment at the cinema. The intrigue of the ‘mirror world,’ together with the synopsis, makes the novel feel as though it sits within the realms of fantasy, or at the very least, magic realism. It doesn’t. Nor does it hold any element of detective fiction, mystery or thriller. This disjointed element is reflected in the plot, which jumps from one unrelated event to the next, leaving the novel feeling poorly structured and lacking direction. Continue reading THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has someone he wants to be with – every day…
A character devoid of sex or gender (not to mention body), how could it possibly work? But it does. So well. In Every Day, you lose yourself between the pages, flying through tightly constructed chapters that showcase a new day, and introduce the reader to a host of equally diverse and thought-out characters, that are just as engaging as our protagonist. Continue reading EVERY DAY
On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice.
All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous. Anything can be revealed at any meal.
Rose’s gift forces her to confront the truth behind her family’s emotions – her mother’s sadness, her father’s detachment and her brother’s clash with the world. But as Rose grows up, she learns that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
Much as the book focusses on food, I feel it has to be digested slowly when reading. It’s heavily laden with sensory descriptors and raw, exposing emotion from the characters. The pace is steady throughout and many sentences over-indulge themselves within a scene, noting surroundings, textures, and emotions at great length. It’s definitely a book that’s more hearty meal, than light snack.
Continue reading THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE
Not everyone has to be the chosen one.
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death.
What if you were Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
And what if there are problems bigger than this weeks end of the world and you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life?
Even if your best friend might be the God of mountain lions.
Minority groups have always been pushed into the background of novels, particularly where fantasy is concerned.
They reside in the bulk of stock characters, and hover on the outskirts of the action. On occasion one might crop up as a secondary character, as part of the group that trail after the protagonist as she/he saves the day, but rarely being in the limelight themselves.
In The Rest of us Just Live Here, Ness explores the typical events of a YA fantasy novel from the perspective of these overlooked characters, representing different sexualities, disability, colour, size, age. From this turn in perspective, the background characters have flipped to consist of the ‘chosen ones,’ of which we are normally used to following as the novel’s protagonist. Rather than being unique and special, they’re indistinguishable from each other, as Ness satirises the stereotypes of the blank, one dimensional characters, usually reserved for characters of minority.
Continue reading THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE