The Girl Who Would Be King

The Girl Who Would be King uses alternating first-person narration to tell the stories of two young women who discover that they have unusual abilities, their struggles to understand and adapt to them, and the conflict those struggles eventually draw them into. Along the way Bonnie and Lola become, more or less, a superhero andContinue reading “The Girl Who Would Be King”

Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl

I had a very mixed response to Gone Girl, and a decidedly see-saw reading experience. It features two strong and very distinct authorial voices, both rendered with considerable verve, and these initially drew me in. But I quickly grew impatient with long lags between broad hints (not nearly subtle enough to be called foreshadows) andContinue reading “Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl”

Catherynne Valente: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I loved this book so much that weeks later I’m still struggling to express my reactions coherently. Valente explicitly draws on the works of Barrie, Baum, Carroll, Lewis, and the folk tale tradition as represented by the Grimms and Andrew Lang’s compendia. It has a dash of post-modern self-referential awareness of its own narrative (butContinue reading “Catherynne Valente: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making”

Victor Gischler: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse may have been partly the victim of excessive expectations from me: I love the title, and it had extravagant blurbs from authors I admire. But it left me cold. Aside from the conceit hinted at in the title — that a strip-club franchise could become the nucleus of a newContinue reading “Victor Gischler: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse”

Heather Donahue: Growgirl

When I heard of this book, it sounded like the real-life counterpart of Weeds: Donahue, an actress in career free-fall after a successful movie failed to result in a viable career, decides that raising pot sounds like a viable make-ends-meet option, and makes other highly questionable choices; some whacky and some racy stuff ensues. InContinue reading “Heather Donahue: Growgirl”

Lizabeth Zindel: A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills

Holly has problems. Her mom died, and her dad has taken up with her mom’s sister, Claudia, which is pretty oogy. Something that may or may not be her mom’s ghost is crying out for vengeance, and Holly doesn’t know whether to trust it or not. Everyone in Holly’s life has names that start withContinue reading “Lizabeth Zindel: A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills”

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy

I saw the John Carter movie (1/3 awesome, 2/3 slow,sappy,dumb/hard-to-follow) and wanted to revisit the original novel, mostly to see if there was quite as much time spent on the Earth backstory (answer: not by a long shot). But after reading A Princess of Mars I realized the John Carter film incorporated several major plotContinue reading “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy”

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Girl from Farris’s

I don’t usually write about short fiction, but Burrough’s The Girl from Farris’s is almost novel-length, and it packs in at least a novel’s worth of plot, with intrigues, betrayals, and skullduggery to spare. I read gobs of Burroughs in my adolescence — John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, et al — but thisContinue reading “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Girl from Farris’s”

Libba Bray : Going Bovine

At the outset of Going Bovine, Cameron Smith, a quintessential teenage underachiever, finds out he’s under an unusual death sentence: he’s contracted Mad Cow disease. With some supernatural aid, he breaks himself out of the hospital and goes on a whacky road-trip to save both himself and the universe — or then again, maybe heContinue reading “Libba Bray : Going Bovine”