Thursday, December 17, 2009
Publisher Review: Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?
And here it is. The tenth and final book in the confessions of Georgia Nicholson series.
The one where she finally figures out her boy situation, though not until the very, very, VERY end, after you, as a reader, have very nearly had a nervy b.
The one where she and her friends start to show mysterious signs of maybe edging towards the direction of maturing just a touch. (But not that much, don't be scared.)
My very favourite wait-for-the-next-one series for girly teens, the one that makes me laugh like a drain, as Georgia would put it.
I am, for all that I did indeed giggle and cackle my way through it and thoroughly enjoy it, unreasonably sad. Now where will I turn when I need to be wholeheartedly amused until it hurts? I may have to re-read these, and if you haven't read them at least once, I recommend you get started. You won't regret it a bit - only that it ends.
Meanwhile - Ms. Rennison? I do hope you are starting a new series?
(Check out some of this last book online if you don't believe it could be so funny - then come back and tell me I'm right.)
Stop, In the Name of Pants!
With this book, the series of the "Confessions of Georgia Nicholson" is at, to my delight, book #9. And while I was, around the end of book #8 (Love Is A Many Trousered Thing) (my review here), starting to get a twist in my nicknacks about why she couldn't just get on with it and figure out that she and Dave the Laugh were perfect together, I have to admit that this one came back so funny that although I still wanted it to happen, I was enjoying the ride too much to have the hump about it, as Gee would say.
This time, things are heating up between her and Masimo, but she keeps finding Dave the Laugh hanging around in her brain for some reason, and she can tell it's getting to Masimo - at one point, she stops an almost-fight with the line in the title. (Nice work, kittykat.)
It's not resolved quite yet, all of this agony of luuuurve, but along the way, Rennison serves up more of Georgia's usual madness and hilarious self-absorption, as well as her equally berserk family and friends. (and cats, for that matter)
These remain the only books that I cannot allow myself to read in public, for fear of looking like a complete twit when I laugh to the point of hysterics - I nearly choked myself giggling over this at home one night. (My husband may be calling a psychiatrist for me behind my back.)
Now on to #10, just arrived...
(want a little taste of the mad, mad world of Georgia before you dive right in? Go check out this book here!)
Publisher Review: A Season of Gifts
Richard Peck is a prolific writer, and one I have enjoyed many times, at different ages. As a girl, I thrilled to his tales of Blossom Culp and loved Ghosts I Have Been. More recently, I have loved his hilarious tales of long-ago happenings in small towns. His ridiculously funny Long Way From Chicago
was a favourite pick for nearly everyone, landing on "best" lists everywhere. The followup, Year Down Yonder, won a Newbery. Here Lies The Librarian
continued this trend, a great, rollicking story of pranks, races, and schemes, not to mention some great librarians (my review here).
It seems that she has taken a shine to these new arrivals, though, and in her gruff, mysterious way, she paves the way for them while she brings down revenge on some of the town's shadier characters both on their behalf and her own through one ridiculous mishap after another.
By the end, her gifts become more apparent, and the "new" family has been solidly taken in by the town - so much so, that their success will lead them on their way.
A fun, warm-hearted read, this book may culminate in a Christmas scene, but should in no way be seen as limited to being just a seasonal book - it's a great read at any time of year, this one.
Publisher Review: Pip: The Story of Olive
Olive is an odd-looking young girl who lives with a single mom who is single-mindedly chasing a career goal, and putting in too many hours to really be there for Olive at the moment. She doesn't quite fit in among the ruthless social structure at her girls' school, either, but has a best friend who shares her love of long baths, dress-up, and good snacks. The friend helps, gives her someone with whom to stave off the lonely hours, and a sense of belonging. So when her friend falls prey to the lure of the popular girls and is eager to be brought into their fold even at the expense of her friendship with Olive, Olive is cut adrift.
With too many free hours to start contemplating life, Olive's ever-present curiosity about her father grows unbounded. He is know to her only known by name and old stories of how the family lived as hippies when she was a baby, plus one old photo, so there is plenty of scope for her imaginings. And then one day, the day she is dealt the final parting insult by her former best friend and the top girls, she discovers her twin. Pip.
This twin moves in with her, goes to school with her, provides her with company, and eggs her on, getting her to do some things she wouldn't do on her own, and even getting her into some small trouble at school. (The twin, it is never explicitly said, is imaginary.) In fact, the twin so emboldens Olive that the two of them together hatch a plan to find their father, using clues to figure out last place he was known to be and plotting out how to get there.
And they do it. They skip school, lie to their mother, and board a train for a town a little ways away down the coast of Autralia. What they find, though, is not what Olive dreams of, but a man who has built a life with no room in it for her. The book ends with Olive having the answers she needs to move forward, even if they are not as she hoped - realistic, yet not depressing, for other things have turned up well in the meantime.
Her mother's aspiration has been met, and she will have more time, as well as seeing how desperately Olive needs her around. Olive has found a new friend at school during all of this, a girl with similar sense of humour and lack of interest in the school's hierarchy, so she can let Pip fade away, disappearing from her mirror and leaving her one.
The language in this book is lovely, capturing the beauty of the wild coastline and a less-structured life with a strong sense of the wistful. Longing is palpable, befitting Olive's emotional state through most of the book. And as someone who had her own unanswered questions about her absent father at this same age, I know it to be true. In fact, I had a friend with whom I plotted a trip out west to my father's last-known whereabouts as well - but it's a longer trip than Olive made, and my friend and I just plotted and dreamed, both too practical to really convince ourselves to go. Still, I know the pull of wanting to just know, and I found it pitched well here.
And for concerned parents - the dangers inherent in such a trip are not ignored by Olive entirely. She has been focused on the puzzle and the planning, not thinking of that until she has set out, but when she starts to think of that and second-guess her decision on the way, it seems too late to turn back, and she goes ahead, cautiously.
I found this book haunting and lovely, yet grounded in emotions that I recognized - a read for a thoughtful child, or one a little more mature.