Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: Bleeding Violet

Reeves, D.  (2010).  Bleeding Violet.  New York:  Simon Pulse.

454 pages (but with large font!)

Appetizer:  If she doesn't take her meds, Hannah hears the voice of her dead father.  Listening to him, she arrives at her mother's house in small town Portero, Texas at midnight.  She lets herself into the house of the women who she's never truly known.

Her mother still doesn't want her there, but they make a deal:  If Hanna can manage to make friends and survive for two weeks then she can stay.

Her survival is in question because Lamartine may be even stranger than Hanna is.  Creatures hunt and feed upon the residents.  The only defense is a group called the Mortmaine.  Hanna finds herself attracted to one of their recruits and to hunting the creatures in her struggle to create a home for herself.

Within the first few pages I was captivated by the perspective Reeves created for her protagonist.  Hanna is hilarious, moving and disturbing in the way she reveals that she may have killed her aunt before hitching rides to East Texas.  Having said that though, some of the bonds that had kept me tethered to the book loosened a little when I realized the book had such an unusual fantasy or so many twisted elements of magical realism.  I would have been fine venturing with Hanna through a realistic story as she struggles to begin a relationship with her estranged mother.

I've read multiple bloggers say "It's not for everyone, but I enjoyed it" about both Bleeding Violet and its companion novel, Slice of Cherry.  I suppose my opinion is about the same.  There's a lot that's engaging about Bleeding Violet.  It was the kind of book where I found myself saying, "I'll just read one more more chapter...oh look, I'm half way through."

It's engaging, refreshing, but also brutal at times.

Dinner Conversation:

"The truck driver let me off on Lamartine, on the odd side of the street.  I felt odd too, standing in the town where my mother lived.  For the first seven years of my life, we hadn't even lived on the same continent, and now she waited only a few houses away.
Unreal." (p. 1)

"'You broke into my house to fix a snack," she said, testing the words, her East Texas drawl stretching each syllable like warm taffy.  "I better be dreaming this up, little girl."
"It's no dream, Rosalee.  I'm here.  I'm your daughter."
Her hands clutched her sleep shirt, over her heart, otherwise she didn't move.  Her oil black eyes raked me in a discomfiting sweep.
"God." She seemed to recognize me then, her gaze softening a little.  "You even have his eyes."
"I know." I marveled over the similarities between us.  "Not much else though."
Rosalee looked away from me, tugging at her hair as if she wanted to pull it out.  "How could he let you come here?  Alone.  In the middle of the night.  Did he crack?"
"He died.  Last year."  (pp. 7-8)

"The statue in administration, the statue in the restroom.  "Those were people?"
"Yeah," Lecy said.  "The lure call you to the window and suck out all your juices and organs, all the good stuff, and leave this glass shell behind." (p. 87)

"I kept silent a long while, thinking about everything Wyatt had told me:  doorways to other worlds, a mayor with power over the dead, a Key made of bone.  I let it all sink in and found myself smiling.  I was right to have come to Portero, a town more insane than I could ever hope to be.
"So my mother is the supreme badass of Portero," I said, embracing the strangeness and letting it embrace me in return." (p. 112)

Tasty Rating:  !!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cybils Award Finalists Announced!

Late last night, while I was off at a New Year/bachelorette party, the finalists for the 2011 Cybils Awards were announced.

1,289 books were nominated!  And now it is down to the final few in each category:

As a second-round judge, I will be lucky enough to be reading through the YA fiction category's final seven.  Listed in no particular order, the finalists are:
  • Anna and the French Kiss
  • Between Shades of Gray
  • Bunheads
  • Everybody Sees the Ants
  • Frost
  • Leverage
  • Stupid Fast

The discussion has already begun.  Squeeeeeeeee!
My lips are sealed from discussing (and fingers bound from typing about) the judges' discussions, but I'd love to hear about which 2011 YA and children's books and apps would get your votes.

What a wonderful start to the new year!


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