Saturday, July 27, 2013

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

The first thing you should know about this book is that it's bittersweet. So if you like your endings perfectly happy, consider yourself warned.

The first time I read Keturah and Lord Death, it had me so completely captivated that I brought it with me to a family Christmas and locked myself in the washroom just so I could finish it. And then, after I finished it, I sat on the floor for twenty minutes trying to compose myself before I came out again. Which might make you think that you don’t want to read this book - except trust me, you do. Because the very next day, I read it again. And I’ve read it half a dozen times since. These are the reasons why I love it so:

1) Keturah, our main girl, is a storyteller who loves the people around her so much she’ll play a dangerous game with Death himself to save them.
2) The romance is unconventional and oh. so. swoony.
3) The prose is lyrical and lovely.
4) The musings on death (and, inevitably, life) are breathtaking. For example:

In fall, she knew it was Death who sweetened the apples. He made her see the sun in a blue sky and hear the trees in a spring wind. He made her see how much she loved her friends, for all their trouble, and how much her grandmother loved her, and oh, he made her love the breath in her lungs.

Ugh. Best book ever. You should read it.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eleanor & Park Fan Art

Kristen and I both read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell recently.

A brief synopsis:

It's 1986. Eleanor moves to a new neighbourhood and new high school. She does not fit in. She meets Park, who loves music and comic books. She sits down next to him on the school bus one day and he makes the non-committal, but totally endearing gesture of lending Eleanor a comic book. And that's all I'll say for now. OK, I'll also say that it's a beautiful love story. (Kristen and I will be posting a chat about the book soon!)

One thing I really I loved about this book was the vivid imagery that it called to mind: Eleanor's bright, red, curly hair, Park in his concert t-shirts, and Eleanor's mismatched outfits from the 80s.

Other fans have been similarly inspired by these images, and taken things one step further. They've created beautiful fan art. 

Here is a sampling:
by Simini Blocker (
by Andiree (
by Irena Freitas (

by Simini Blocker (

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lola and the Boy Next Door - a review


A Brief Synopsis

Once upon a time Lola was in love with the boy next door. A boy who liked solving equations and making contraptions and building automatons. A boy who burned her just before he moved away. Which sucked. And now that Lola’s over him (and dating a sexy, older, musician) the boy next door moves back.

And suddenly Lola's not sure that she was ever over him to begin with.

The Review

“It’s easy to talk about things we hate, but sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly why we like something.”

Oh, how true this is. I find it so much easier to review a book that I absolutely loathed, but talking about one I loved? I often resort to things like, “ZOMG. It’s amazing! You have to read it!” Which is not exactly helpful.

So, here I am, telling you that I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. And here is my attempt to explain why:

First of all: family dynamics. Lola has two dads (trust me, you will fall in love with them), and her aunt is her birth mother - a woman who often makes unwise or unhealthy decisions, then needs bailing out. Lola struggles with her origins, often trying to hide or deny her birth mother’s lifestyle, and wants nothing to do with her. But while her reactions are realistic and understandable, the story never demonizes her birth mother or her choices - which is a hard thing to pull off.

I also loved the way Lola presents herself to the world. She has an eye for fashion and a resolution to never wear the same outfit twice, which means her persona is always changing. You might even say that Lola herself “performs” her identity - through both her costumes, and through her tendency to lie or omit the truth. As a result, the question of “Who is Lola really?” comes up a lot throughout the book, and the questions that her choices bring up are important ones. Questions like: Is who we are how we perform ourselves? Are we the clothes we wear, or the things we say? What about the colour of our skin, or the gender we were assigned? Or are we something else entirely? I was perusing goodreads reviews of this book before reading it, and some people really didn’t like Lola because she has a tendency to lie and has extreme fashion choices. But these things give Lola power – something teenage girls have very little of.

Most of all, I loved this book because it was raw and true, in the sense that love is often complicated and messy and you’re not always the person you want to be, and you don’t always make the decisions you should. I usually avoid love triangles at all costs, but this one is done really well. It’s realistic in that it shows how much love triangles can really suck, and how much there is to learn from them. Lola’s choices make for a realistic, messy story (or maybe it’s just that I could relate to them), and this is why I loved her.

While the book is a companion book to Anna and the French Kiss, you certainly don’t have to read that one first – although, if you don’t, be warned: there are mild spoilers in this one. Characters from Stephanie Perkins' first book make appearances. (And if you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss, what are you waiting for?! Seriously. It’s so swoony and good.)



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