Welcome to the first in our series of posts for Guys Read week. Today, Paul Vogt of The Hopeless Gamer joins us to talk about comic books — find out what you’ve been missing and what you can lead your rabid readers to. Your to-read list is guaranteed to expand.
Archives for February 2011
As anyone who has spent any time on the blog knows, I am passionate about guy reads. There is so much out there for guy reads, but so little is paid attention to it. To celebrate and highlight the great things about guy lit, we’re throwing a Guys Read week here at Stacked.
Stay tuned this week for book reviews, guest posts, and a resource list for those who want to learn more about the topic or those who are interested in good guy reading. We’ve got a giveaway, as well. We’ll hit on comic books, sports books, capturing the male voice, and much, much more. I’m excited by the variety of voices and stories we get to highlight this week.
Hop into the discussion and share your experiences and thoughts on all things guys read this week. Share these things widely and feel free to add your two cents. We’re open for discussion!
Welcome to In My Mailbox, a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It’s a weekly look at the books received for review, from the library, or purchased in the last week.
This looks like a quiet week, but I did check out about 6 books from the library. I left them there, though, since I’m going to be reading them next week in preparation for a middle school book talk.
On another note: next week, come back for Guys Read Week here at STACKED. Abby will be hosting AudioSynced again so we can bring you a collection of book reviews, resources, and guest posts all about the importance of guy reading. You are in for a treat!
Without further ado.
Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams (St Martins, available now): I think Carol Lynch Williams is on my top ten authors list, so to say I’m excited about her new book would be an understatement. Main character is 13 again and the story revolves around her mother’s mental illness. It sounded a little reminiscent of Holly Schindler’s A Blue So Dark.
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Molton (Harper Collins, available now): A fantasy. I know it’s gotten some rave reviews, but it’s not really my thing, so I’ll be passing this one off to my teens at work.
Abandon by Meg Cabot (Scholastic, April 27): Cabot’s new book is billed as way different in tone than her others — edgy and sexy. The cover reminds me a lot of her adult novel.
When you’re the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can’t write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.
That’s when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol’s voice in her head and see things she can’t explain, she must face the truth—that she’s either inherited her mother’s madness, or Errol is for real.
Summary from Goodreads
Mad Love was a quick, enjoyable read that simultaneously managed to be light while also covering the fairly heavy topic of mental illness. While some young adult books of late have covered the subject of mental illness in a main character, the mental illness of a close family member–and the ramifications of this illness–has not been seen as often.
Alice is a well-developed, three-dimensional character. She worries about her mother’s health and about how to support her family and keep their finances on track. Even though Alice never truly interacts with her mother until the novel’s conclusion, we witness her deep love for family in her inner monologues, actions, and visits to her mother’s mental health facility. Yet at the same time as she struggles with these unique problems, we see Alice deal with the same feelings that many adolescents have: she crushes on Tony, a boy in town who skateboards past her window every morning, and constantly fights with Realm, another girl living in her building whose goth tendencies and pushy “read my manuscript and get it published” pleadings get on Alice’s last nerve. Alice also harbors deep fears that she herself will develop bipolar disorder and that this so-called Cupid who appears in front of her is irrefutable evidence of her own mental illness. Her moments of panic are realistic and vivid.
Another plus of Mad Love was the fantastic supporting cast of “family-friends,” the other people who live in the house that Alice’s mother owns, who rent out rooms and serve as a surrogate family for Alice. Mrs. Bobot and Reverend Ruttle obviously care for Alice, and it is refreshing to see such an extended family in a YA novel.
As a whole, the book was enjoyable. However, many aspects just didn’t quite work for me, most notably Errol. For a character who was supposed to be Cupid himself, the embodiment of love, Errol the boy never seemed to be fully realized. He was too quiet, too moody, too loath to reveal crucial information, both to Alice herself and to the reader. While this reticence was partially explained by the plot, Errol’s personality really got in the way of my enjoyment of his character and his character’s relationship with Alice.
The first part of Mad Love also dragged a bit, as Alice took way too long to believe Errol’s story and agree to help him with his memoirs. This “buying in” was crucial to the plot, and holding back Alice’s realization and belief for so long really slowed down the novel’s momentum.
Ultimately, however, I did enjoy Mad Love. It was a quick, slightly fluffy read that was perfect for both pre- and post- Valentine’s Day. It was also incredibly refreshing to see bipolar disease presented as something that can be conquered and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
Review copy provided by publisher.
|Thorn & Fone Bone are a little worse for wear.|
|Fone Bone is so adorable.|
|The rat creatures have missed out on a delicious quiche.|