waiting on wednesday (38)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event courtesy of Breaking the Spine that showcases much anticipated upcoming releases.

Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.
The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

I'm a sucker for a boarding school story. And the idea of such a story told by the main protagonist's viewpoint and someone else outside of the main plot really has me excited - there are just so may ways that a removed POV can add insight into a story. Top that with what sounds like fantastic character interaction and a paper that will tell it all - I'm so completely sold.

review: every day by david levithan

Author: David Levithan
Publication Date: 08/28/2012
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 322
Source: ARC

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that 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 found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
As a baby, A woke up with different parents, siblings, and in the happy, careless way of children, thought nothing of it. A was always taken care of and that's all that mattered - until the rotating cast of family started mentioning a concept A couldn't grasp: tomorrow. "See you tomorrow!" "Good night!" For A, these things could never exist. Good night was good bye. There was a painful transition period where A had to come to terms with existence. A's rotating life never posed much of a problem after that. Until Rhiannon.

I absolutely loved this book. Some writers have a way of speaking so easily to the humanity within everyone that their books have a way of touching people on an individual level even if there is no one situation described that you as a person can identify with. David Levithan made that humanistic connection so easily that there were moments that I had to read passages over and over, in awe of how much I felt I could relate to the words or circumstance that A was going through. Though the premise is implausible, his ability to do so made it one of the most realistic books that I've ever read. Every Day is realistic, believable, and strikes you in your core. A is no one and everyone and that is why A is so genuine.

One of my favorite things about this book is that gender is completely unimportant. A is not male nor female; A is a person, human. A was able to relate to all of the bodies inhabited on such an instinctual level because A has lived by proxy hundreds of different lives in varying situations. And so it was interesting to see Rhiannon's reaction to A's ever changing landscape - A is the epitome of the ability to love someone for who they are, not their aesthetics. In this manner Levithan is able to make the story universal; everyone wants to be loved, to be able to live as themselves, and everyone has some sort of obstacle in their way. In this way, A is sort of the every-person, able to showcase the different issues people have in interacting with others. This is the beauty of Levithan's craftsmanship.

Though Every Day is about A and the way A experiences the world, there's a fascinating cast of background characters that A meets along the way in different lives that help to flesh out the different experiences and help A create a unique way through which the world can be viewed. And though A has sworn not to interfere in the lives of the bodies that A wakes in, there are a few times where I was inordinately pleased at the way tricky situations were handled without changing too much, and in a respectful manner.

Reading David Levithan is like swimming in a sea of poetry. I kept on wanting to write quotes down, but then I realised I'd be quoting the entire thing. Every Day is no different, which makes it easily one of the favorite books that I've read this year. Its ability to be universally applied, with poignant and realistic descriptions, makes it a book that I would recommend to anyone. Regardless of the fact that Every Day is published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, this is a book for any person simply by virtue of being human.

I really enjoyed writing my post touching on trends in reading and all of the discussion that came with it. I have to admit that when I first started this blog over a year ago that those were the types of things that I had in mind to write about. I want to be able to think critically about what I'm reading, share it with others, and receive feedback and new thoughts.

And so, inspired by Anita Sarkeesian's fabulous Tropes vs. Women series I'd like to try and address some topics that come up with females in young adult fiction. Though I doubt I'll be able to do it with anywhere near the aplomb that she has in discussing these concepts, I'm going to try my best to do it with as much equanimity as possible.

This is something that I've been thinking about doing for a while, and though I'm not quite sure what this is going to look like overall yet, I hope it ends up being useful to you in some way or otherwise adds meaningful discussions to an important topic.

The first idea I'd like to put out there for discussion is:
the idea of a female character as defined through a male lens.

For example, let's create the fictional character of Kate. Kate is your average seventeen year old girl. She may or may not have graduated high school yet. She may, due to plot circumstances, not be in a setting that does traditional schooling (perhaps futuristic Kate is in a dystopian political school for girls). Kate is fairly content with everything that's happening around her, but sometimes she wonders why everyone seemingly does the same job. In any case, Kate will be done soon and then she'll get to work for the government too. Right?

But then there's been a transfer from some distant government branch and a new guy is brought in. Kate and new guy work together on occasion through a cooperative program between the boys and girl schools.

At this point it's incredibly formulaic, but nothing is inherently wrong with the gender interaction.

Until Kate starts to realise that through talking with new guy that perhaps changes need to be made. She doesn't know as much as she thinks she did and new guy sees her in a way that makes her feel alive.

This - this is where the problem begins. Kate was questioning things on her own before new guy came, and his presence doesn't or shouldn't overshadow that in any way. She doesn't need to be affirmed by anyone else that what she is doing is right or wrong, and the fact that new guy helps her see herself in a 'new light' only illuminates the idea that a woman needs a man to help her make decisions about herself. This could not be any less true.

The better scenario would be where new guy offers new information for her to formulate her own hypothesis. Kate thinks and comes to conclusion on her own and acts on it. Kate gets to think independently to determine her own sense of self, while new guy is less of a plot device and more of a character I'd like to get to know.

There are endless permutations to this idea, and this is probably the number one reason I'll put a book down. As far as character romance goes, there is nothing appealing about a girl changing the way she thinks about herself for someone else. What do you think about this trope and/or Kate's situation? And if there are any other ideas or situations that you'd like to bring forward, please do in the comments! This is meant to be a series so I welcome your ideas.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

top ten tuesdays! (17)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you love lists
and wracking your brain for answers, then this is the meme for you!

Top Ten Book Romances That You Think Would Make It In The Real World

01. Anna and Étienne (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)
Is this cheating? I mean, they live in contemporary society. And they're adorable.
02. Puck and Sean (The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater)
Though this is also contemporary, an experience like theirs can make our break you. It worked for them.
03. Aria and Perry (Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi)
I'm pretty sure there are a few parallel situations you could put these two in in the real world. Hot and cold, these two, but lasting.
04. Anna and Bennett (Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone)
Also a contemp, but with a unique situation. Still, the way Tamara wrote them made their friendship and intrigue work so well that it would stay true just about anywhere.
05. Kate and Vincent (Die For Me by Amy Plum)
Despite the paranormal themes, I just love these two together, and one of my favorite aspects of the book is getting to read them in normal, everyday situations such as going to a café. Their chemistry leads me to believe that they'd do well without their crazy backstory.
06. Augustus and Hazel (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
No commentary necessary.
07. Brontë and Brewster (Bruiser by Neal Shusterman)
I don't know how Neal does it, but every single book that I've read has wrenched my heart. There's so much happening in this book on so many levels, but there was a lovely moment between both of them that made me smile big. I believed it.
08. Blue and ? (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater)
I...can't tell you. But I loved it. A lot. Why, yes, there are two entries by Maggie on this list. Because I love her heaps and it's my blog and I'll Maggie if I want to.

I'm going to stop at eight rather than name names for listings' sake. To make it is something difficult and long and though there are a lot of YA love stories that I've enjoyed, I'm not sure how many of them could exist out of their situation.

Who's on your list?


I am presently on hiatus into the foreseeable future. You can find me on twitter, tumblr, or my writing website, wooordsea.com

See you there!

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