I am deep into reading Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and I have to say that much of this touching and funny anthology is ringing as remarkably true for me. I am planning to include it as a "Cool Read" for my column this Spring and I think it really is an excellent choice for teens. Many of the essays recall friendships in high school or college that will particularly appeal to young adult readers and if they are in similar situations as the writers then this book will certainly seem to be a god send.
I requested an ARC of this one solely based on the inclusion of two of my favorite YA authors: Cecil Castellucci and Bennett Madison. Most of the contributors write for adult readers, but it was Cecil and Bennett who were the big attractions for me (and also David Levithan). Cecil's piece is, well, a heartbreaker. Anyone who has been there, whether in Paris or Florida (like me) will know what she was thinking and feeling and you just hate that it has to happen so often - that we all have to get our hearts broken on such a regular basis.
Now I have an idea as to why she is so very good at writing her books with their endearing characters and poignant plots. (Oh how I wish I had gone to college with you Cecil - I am sure it would have made it all so much more wonderful!!!)
As for Bennett's essay, well it is full of the sort of searching for self and embrace of all that is unique and free and wonderful in the world that I would expect the creator of Lulu Dark to know and feel. I suspect though, for all of his casual attitude and refusal to get too close, that Bennett's heart was broken a time or two when he was young as well - even if he broke it himself, it sure seems like a few lonely tears were dropped on occasion.
It's all in the growing up, you know.
What I really loved about these two essays most of all though was the peek inside of the lives of people who are sort of friends - friends in this odd way that the internet and lit blogosphere can give you friends you have not met or talked to or really honestly know.
And yet, still, somehow they are friends. (And I know this - I know how much I would have to talk to them about from the very first moment we say hello.)
Ed had a piece earlier this week in response to Michael Goodman's announcement that he would be sharply reducing his blogging at the Grumpy Old Bookman. The question of why to blog or is blogging a distraction is not new, but I have figured out why I do this. No one in my family is a writer, none of my friends are and other than grad school I have never really been around writers. I have already written why I chose to review books, but starting Chasing Ray was more of an attempt to connect with a portion of the literary world. Simply put, I blog so I can meet people and learn things that make me a better writer. I blog so I can learn from Cecil and Bennett, from Gwenda and Jenny D. and from the lovely Justine (who has so kindly been emailing me with advice on my YA book). I blog so I can meet someone like Gavin and then exchange opinons on Ray Bradbury's latest as if we were sitting outside a Parisian cafe in the 1920s; as if talking books was the best, right way to spend part of each day.
Because you know, I think that is so very true.
I blog because it helps me to know better authors like Cherie and Margo, whose worked I have reviewed and loved, and reviewers like Leila, Jen, Susan and Kelly who all have discussed a book at one time or another that I have subsequently read and enjoyed. And also there is all that I learn from Ed and Mark, Johanna and Jessa on other writers, publishers and the larger literary universe.
The lit blogosphere might seem to be a small world, I know, but it's a world that I have never been allowed to enter before - that I was always urged away from because there were other things more important than reading and writing. (These are things you do after school, after work, after "the real world".)
I blog because at long last I have found my people and really, what better reason do you need than that?