This installment: magic and surprise in a teen book (f); tiny, pithy essays (nf;) and creepy suspense in NYC (f).
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I often start teen books with a little resistance. (Back at the mall again, for instance.) But there’s so much magic and surprise in this one that I got totally hooked. Here we have the world of Faeire that exists parallel to our “real” one, and it’s a cruel, conflicted realm. Especially hard on 16 year old twins, Judy and Taryn, who are mortal but have been taken in after their parents were slain. They and their older stepsister Viv occasionally even get to that mall—they can move between worlds. Fairies have varied physiognomies, with animal and human aspects cunningly mixed. And they can’t tell lies, though they can be treacherous and blood-thirsty. Very lively and what an imaginative workout!
Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
52 Micro-Memoirs fill this slim book, some just a paragraph long. Fennelly’s a poet and her words are precise and grounded in everyday life (whatever that is). Little stories about her family, her growing up, her lovers, and her children. Like the title offering with the faltering HVAC unit that’s basically inaccessible, or the purple popsicle on the cover (her neighbor concocted ones from beets and kale). Some funny, some with tragedy snuck in, life compressed and incredibly accessible. After reading it, over too soon, I wanted more.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
Agoraphobic Anna, once a child psychologist, has a good view of her neighbors and sees some horrendous things. But no one believes her. We gradually find out why she’s holed up and has anesthetized herself with alcohol, which doesn’t help her testimony. New York City setting, some clever and desperate folks and lots of suspense.
Back next week.