Tag Archives: Christina Loves
WELCOME BACK!! It’s time for another Swoony Boy Alert. First, some Joe Fontaine swoon. . .
Can we tell you how much we’ve missed these posts? And you, of course! *smothers* So what are Swoony Boy Posts? SBA’s are random and often incoherent posts in which we, and you, YES YOU, awesome reader, gather around a glass of something pink and sparkly and talk all about our favorite male characters in fiction. They can be old favorites, or boys we’re meeting for the first time.Read More »
From the summary: It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.Read More »
From the summary: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
*SEMI-SORT-OF-BUT-NOT-REALLY-SPOILER-ALERT* TFiOS was just released last week, and the author himself has asked that readers not spoil the book for those that haven’t read. And of course, we agree. So as usual, we will gush and squeal and have flailypants while giving away as few of the delicious spoilery details as possible. Deal? Deal.
From Goodreads: “Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers.”
It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.Read More »
Welcome Back!!! It’s time for another Swoony Boy Alert!!
We’ve had so much fun with these posts, and want to thank each and every one of you for the emails, comments and tweets about your favorite swoony boys. We love to hear what you have to say and adore talking to all of you about books, writing, life and of course, swoon.
For the newcomers: What are Swoony Boy alerts, you ask? SBA’s are random posts in which we, and you, YES YOU, awesome reader, gather around a cup of tea/coffee/latte/sparkly pink drink to talk about our favorite male characters in fiction. They can be old favorites *cough*Mr. Darcy*cough* or new boys we’re meeting for the first time. Coming soon, the SBA’s will be joined by the Basass Chick On Boards (BCoB), posts spotlighting the most kick-ass girls in the YAdom.
BUT BUT BUT you guys? The time has come for us to talk about ADAM! *the world faints*
In June, Lo told you all about the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. And while compiling our list of Swoony Boys, we kept
squealing over coming back to one boy in particular: Adam (zomgswoonsflailsfaintsTATTOOS!) Kent. And stg, if there’s one fictional boy worthy of the title Swoony Boy, it’s Adam Kent.
It seems fitting that we start this post with Stephanie Perkin’s Amazon review. Perkins is, of course, one of our favorite writers of swoon, and yet here we are recommending a very hard, very non-swoony book. It’s perfect to us because it shows the depth and breadth of the literature available to adults and young adults. In a wonderfully concise review, Perkins has captured the brilliance that is Forbidden.
Tabitha Suzuma has crafted a harrowing, sexy, heart wrenching, and heartbreaking masterwork about one of our last remaining taboos. Lochan and Maya are the oldest children of an alcoholic, absentee mother. The burden of raising their three younger siblings has fallen upon them, and they have been forced to mature into parents. As their friendship is strengthened, and as they become dependent upon one another for survival, their parental relationship develops into a new stage: romantic love.
An alternating first-person narration immerses the reader deep inside the hearts of the characters. Suzuma takes great care to help us understand how such a situation could arise and allows us to be sympathetic for it–even root for it–though we know, just as Lochan and Maya know, that the future of a Happily Ever After is unlikely.
This is a powerful novel about love in all of its forms. About teenagers forced to become adults, and about children forced to acknowledge new parents. Particularly stressful is the second oldest boy, Kit, whose every appearance carries an impending sense of disaster.
Forbidden never let me set it down. It never let me stop worrying. And it never let me stop hoping for the best. –Stephanie Perkins
As you can see, Forbidden isn’t a book that is appropriate for our Swoony Recs page. The characters may be any number of wonderful things, but the categories we save for this site—our fun zone—don’t fit this book at all. Lochan is truly wonderful but it feels shallow to call him swoony. Maya is amazing, but ‘badass’ feels much too light-hearted. And although we’ve both gone back and reread particularly powerful passages, we probably couldn’t handle a complete re-read in any near future. However, for both of us, Forbidden goes straight to the top of the favorites pile.
The problem is that we can’t in good conscience really recommend Forbidden to anyone. It’s like telling someone to go watch Ponette or La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful). Wonderful, sure. But it hurts, and it’s hard, and here the subject matter is both devastating and a little cringey.
Still, it’s hard to not recommend it, to want to share it with everyone we know, discuss and then relish the heartache together. Even though it didn’t fit our usual campy content, this book has hit us so hard and so fiercely it felt weird to not bring it to this site. Forbidden is beautifully crafted and executed. We both read it in a single, sleepless night, and then sobbed together the following day.
We are so hammered by our love for this book and so many of our expectations were dissolved away when we read. The characters are deeply, richly drawn, so intimate and real, that we hurt when they hurt. We hope hope hope for them so acutely, even when a part of us feels like we can’t, or shouldn’t.
There are very few situations in which this book would work. Few authors could craft a story that would make us understand incest, let alone support Lochan and Maya’s decisions the way we did while reading. And although we both love happily ever afters, the truth is that sometimes the perfect ending isn’t the characters dancing off together to the singing of birds and the rustling of fallen leaves. Sometimes, the only way a story can end is with heartbreak and triumph and hope and devastation and redemption and surrender. The world that Suzuma built is a real one, and a hard one, and one that neither of us wants to let go of quite yet.
Read More »
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
Lo says: Sometimes I want to review a book with a single word — SWOONY, or maybe HEARTCLENCH– and hope that those single descriptions carry enough of my enthusiasm to make my friends want to read it.
UNEARTHLY almost got a one word review. I pretty much just want to yell TUCKER! over and over again and hope that everyone flocks to their local (indie) bookstore to buy a copy.
Honesty time: it took me about 50 pages to get into this book, but Leiah and Tonya had raved about it so much that I knew I would get to that can’tputitdown stage if I just hung in there. I think UNEARTHLY was the first victim of my Reading Slump because it was a start-stop-start-stop for me, but I’ve since gone back and re-read the first several chapters again and they’re outstanding. So I think I was just mentally impaired in early August.
::awkward silence where no one disagrees with me::
Aaaanyway, the premise is that Clara is an angel-blood, has visions about her purpose (her entire reason for being put on the planet, KIND OF A BIG DEAL), and these visions propel her mother to move Clara and her brother from California to Wyoming. That’s when the real fun starts because in Jackson Hole, Clara meets a host of characters, including Christian, Wendy, Angela and… (all together now) TUCKER!Read More »
From the book jacket: R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.
I was hesitant to read this one. The main protagonist is a zombie? And wait, I’ll love him? Really? Pfft. Aren’t we supposed to like, chase them with baseball bats and stuff? But because my friends are
pushy persistent, I gave it a go, and THANK GOD because within the first few pages, I knew this was something special.
Coming November 2011: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
I’m not actually going to talk much about the story because (1) I don’t want to spoil a single thing, and (2) WHEN you all buy this book (and you will) you’ll read it so fast you’ll get the reading equivalent of a brain freeze. Even writing a review feels kind of teasing and unfair; I’ve had the chance to read this and not everyone has. But it also would feel weird to read this and NOT gush about it. So here goes:
My arms fell asleep while I was reading in bed and I totally did not care even though they still hurt today (who needs arms?). ADAM EQUALS SWOON. Juliette is the best combination of badass and vulnerable and Mafi balances this perfectly. It’s quite amazing. But what struck me most of all is that Tahereh Mafi’s prose is unbelievable.
I read every paragraph of Shatter Me over and over obsessively. Even though it sounds awesome, that might actually be my single complaint about this book: the prose was so rich and full and shapely that I sometimes found myself having to reread something simply because I stopped focusing on the sequence of action and had become transfixed by the way the words rolled around together in my head.
It’s the kind of book that reminds writers that it’s okay, great even, to use fluid language and wild descriptions and, Hey, about all of those words that you want to save for that one perfect sentence? Why? Why not use them right now, even for the simple dialogue tags or tiny sentences buried in larger moments? Mafi even uses common words together in a new way to make something as simple as breathing sound like a spectacularly exciting event. She brings food into metaphors about skin and lips and bodies – and I’m sure that sounds obvious but trust me, she does it in a way that you’ve never seen before. She describes expressions and reactions so perfectly they were visceral for me. Her gift for metaphor is truly incredible.
I want great things for this book. I want rabid fans, and a website dedicated to speculations on movie casting. Maybe called the Reestablishment or [won’t spoil another possible name]. I want two camps to emerge when the movie rumors start – one who loves the casting choices and another who insists they’re all terrible, but both camps end up sleeping on the sidewalk for the movie premiere and afterward they all say that no one could have done a better job with the roles. I want people to feel inspired to write and read and talk about how she took new and old themes in YA and made a really amazing story. And I hope everyone reads her blog because it is truly one of the most uplifting and supportive places for aspiring writers.Read More »