Chi Yu Rodriguez: No Two Ways

From other reviews, this short novel seems very polarizing: A bisexual woman and and a bi-phobic lesbian negotiate a mutual attraction. I found KJ Charles’ review very helpful; he praises this book not so much for its exploration of sexual identity but for not punishing its protagonists for hookup culture or binge drinking. Perhaps because I cameContinue reading “Chi Yu Rodriguez: No Two Ways”

Rainbow Rowell: Fangirl

Fangirl has a soundbite to make it easy to describe: it’s the YA novel about the girl who writes fanfic. Like most soundbites this is terribly and unfairly reductive; it’s about a whole lot of other things, like growing up, coping with your own neuroses and your family’s unique miseries. It’s nuanced and surprising, oftenContinue reading “Rainbow Rowell: Fangirl”

Laura Resnick: Disappearing Nightly

I liked Disappearing Nightly, but I have a bit of trouble explaining why. It’s a light contemporary fantasy with a whodunnit flavor and a dash of romance. It partakes of several genres, and I didn’t think it succeeded particularly well at any one of them. A mystery novel, for instance, needs a bit more misdirectionContinue reading “Laura Resnick: Disappearing Nightly”

Willo Davis Roberts : The View from the Cherry Tree

For better or worse, I found myself thinking of The View from the Cherry Tree as sort of what-if-Ralphie-of-A-Christmas-Story-witnessed-a-murder? story. (The novel substantially predates the film, of course, but post-dates the Jean Shepherd novel from which the film drew, so maybe the association isn’t entirely spurious. (Then again, it could as easily be what-if-Dennis-the-Menace-witnessed-a-murder?) TheContinue reading “Willo Davis Roberts : The View from the Cherry Tree”

Adam Roberts: Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer

There was a lot I appreciated about Robert’s elegantly crafted Jack Glass, but I definitely didn’t think it succeeded at everything it set out to do. The middle section of the novel, for instance, offers a classically structured whodunnit and — skirting spoilers — I think Roberts is trying to get the reader so farContinue reading “Adam Roberts: Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer”

Dia Reeves: Slice of Cherry

I liked Reeves’ first novel Bleeding Violet so much that I ordered her second in advance of its publication date. And then I didn’t read it until now thanks to a quandary familiar to me: I didn’t want the new book to be the same as the one I just read, but I wanted toContinue reading “Dia Reeves: Slice of Cherry”

Daniel Radosh: Rapture Ready!

Rapture Ready!, an outsider’s tour of many facets of evangelical Christian culture was entertaining and informative, lucidly and sometimes even beautifully written. I already knew about the existence of the near-oxymoronic music genre Christian black metal and Left Behind novels, but I had no clue about Christian wrestling or superheroes like Bibleman. Depending on howContinue reading “Daniel Radosh: Rapture Ready!”

Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief

It took a while for The Lightning Thief to win me over. For much of its length, it felt too nakedly calculated to appeal to Harry Potter fans (with the interesting, but hardly unique, added dimension of a basis in Greek mythology). The character dynamic between Percy Jackson and his pals seemed a bit tooContinue reading “Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief”

Philip Reeve : Predator’s Gold

Mortal Engines left me so eager for more that I scoured all three bookshops in the town we were staying in for a copy of the sequel, Predator’s Gold, even though I suspected I was setting myself up for disappointment. Sequels aren’t usually as good, perhaps particularly in genre fiction, in part because the criticalContinue reading “Philip Reeve : Predator’s Gold”