Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld: Candy coated...vampires?

Dear Imaginary Readers,
Tomorrow I get to meet Scott Westerfeld. He is coming to my work. Yes, this is true. I am one lucky librarian! Badass that I am, I will be skipping out on my class early to do so (even grown ups like to play hooky!). Mwahahaha. In gleeful anticipation, please read my review of one of my favorite Westerfelds. And miscellaneous thoughts on the horror that is his 2nd edition paperback cove
Be jealous.

Peeps. Westerfeld, Scott (2005).
NY: Razorbill. ISBN: 1-59514-031-X

Oh sexy books, how I love thee. Peeps is a medical horror thiller. Subjective? Yes, definitely. But also, Peeps is totally and completely about sex, sex, and more sex. It is on our protagonists mind, as hard as he tries to ignore it, which means it permeates the entire book, sexily seeping out of the pages and into our minds, infecting us parasitically with dirty sex thoughts. However, while Peeps begins by playing into the YA cliché of sex as a honey-pot, bound to doubly screw you, Westerfeld deftly turns this cliché on its ear by the end of the story. Double props go to him for taking another overplayed YA staple, the vampire, and managing to give readers something new to chew on (teeheehee, read on). The story is gripping, a mysterious thriller from start to finish, interspersing the chapters of the story with chapters of true gross-out medical facts about different types of parasites. Kudos to whomever insisted upon including an appendix with a list of the top 10 ways to avoid getting a parasite. The hipness of the city of NY and all its gritty underground glory radiates and helps keep this story modern; it is not a story that would work in any other setting.

Peeps begins with our young studly hero, Cal, in pursuit of an ex-girlfriend he unintentionally infected with a deadly STD. However, this STD isn't deadly for her, it's deadly for everyone around her, as this STD is a parasite that turns its host into a crazed "vampire." Those who are parasite positive are known of as Peeps for short, and have an aversion to sunlight and a crazed desire to consume human flesh. Yum. Cal, it turns out, is a carrier Peep, meaning he's somehow resistant, but carries the parasite, making him quicker, hungrier, and way hornier than your average 18 year old dude. After moving from Texas to NYC for college, Cal managed to get crazy drunk and loose his virginity in a one-night stand to a strange girl he met in a bar (herein lies the cliché). Now that he's a Peep, he can never have sex again, or even kiss a girl, since the slightest swap of body fluid can infect someone with the rascally parasite. Cal has been recruited to join the Night Watch, an underground organization that tracks and contains outbreaks. In Cal's hunt to find the girl who infected him, he unintentionally creates some challenges for his enforced celibacy when he meets Lacy, a true to form very curious and cute journalism student. He reveals his secret identity to her, and the story here morphs into a mystery when crazy stuff starts to happen, including the discovery of Morgan, the girl who infected him. Turns out that bumping uglies and swapping spit aren't the only way for the parasite to be transferred, and that Peeps might not be so out of control after-all.

As a side note, I was super disappointed with the end of the story. It was all excitement, all tension, all gross-out medical stories to weather, all buildup…and then nothing but a sort of happy ending, marred by the lack of any other conclusions to late plot relevations. If I may use a secondary character reference from Judy Blume's Forever, the ending was a bit of a Ralph, if you catch my drift. I felt short changed and pissed. And then I found out there is a sequel, The Last Days. And now I feel much better about Peeps. The end. (Except now, months after I originally wrote this review, I have taken the liberty of reading The Last Days. And it is no Peeps.)

Best for: High school aged YA's. I'd say boys and girls, but the sort of sparkly, sexy, mascara
heavy cover art on my copy totally precludes your average teenage boy picking this up on a lark, and is even more targeted in the lipstick heavy paperback version…why must you always market to girls, publishers of America? Woe to you, losing readers on this one.

This brings me to the following point. Someday, I will write a long an lengthy rant about how publishers occasionally ruin a perfectly delightful cover in the hopes of selling more books to teenage girls, who they presume are daft magpies. But I'll save it for another day. Behold the cover directly to your right-o'clock. Now, I have never been nor will I ever have the displeasure of being a teenage boy. But I can pretty safely say that walking around with a book covered in hot pink print, hot chicks, and male models is something no average teen boy will willingly do before pigs have the opportunity to evolve and grow those wings they've always been meaing to do.

PUBLISHER, I believe I make my point when I say this is a book that a lot of teen boys would actually identify with given the opportunity to not look like a tool carrying it around! Cal has rampant hormones and sexy urges! Many teen boys have rampant hormones and sexy urges! There are lots of gross true medical facts! Teen boys love a gross true medical fact...? Cal is always ravenously hungry! Teen boys are often ravenously hungry! Cal has serious relationship problems! Teen boys have serious relationship problems! And did I mention that this entire book is about sex? SEX. Epic fail, target marketer. Way to aim for a specific audience and miss a whole other one. Now that I've wound myself back down, I just stumbled upon a new edition paperback cover. I think it moves leaps and bounds in a less alienating and way grittier direction, so I choose to overlook what I think are the rose petals...yay for acknowledging that this isn't a shiny happy pod people book!

Book talk hook: Turn the idea of vampires on its head, luring eager young readers in. Describe the symptoms of peeps, maybe using some of Cal's own descriptions and play on the whole "Cal can never kiss anyone again. EVER."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti: AKA if Charles Dickens and Tim Burton were to breed.

The Good Thief. Hannah Tinti (2009).
NY: The Dial Press. ISBN: 0385337450

If Charles Dickens and Tim Burton could travel through time and space defying laws of physics, logic, even reproductive biology, I’m fairly certain that Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief would be the resulting lovechild. Filled with rich and colorful down-on-their-luck Dickensonian characters (Mrs. Figg, anyone?) and much of the dark, grimy, grotesque flavor that characterizes Burton’s works, this book has the legs to stand on its own as a beautiful piece of historical fiction. Or at least I think it is historical fiction, as I never seemed to be able to figure out where or when it was taking place. We’ll call it Ficstorical Fiction. I’m pretty sure it might be Colonial America…but Tinti doesn’t need to specify for us to get that it’s a back in the day buffet. It would be wise (and I’ll sound smart/actually use my university degree – thanks Prof. Thompson! – for a hot minute) to identify our protagonist and this novel for exactly who he/what this is: a picaresque novel of the nth degree - in which you never are really quite sure that things will end well for our big-hearted, down-on-his-luck and scraping by on the skin of his teeth protagonist. Irregardless (making it happen, Websters), Tinti is a masterful and beautiful writer, creating a three dimensional world and characters who can command her readers to shiver, shudder, sigh…dance fools, dance!

A one-handed boy baby is abandoned at monastery orphanage. Said one-handed baby boy grows into 12 year old one handed boy – Ren. Ren has no memories of life before the monastery and only a scrap of shirt left with the letters R E and N embroidered on it, hence his quirky name. Ren doesn’t want to be sold to the army and also is an unusually good pick-pocket/thief, despite having only one hand to pillage and plunder with. Not so surprisingly in our ficstorical “two-hands-are-better-than-one” pastoral world, nobody has jumped to adopt him. That is, until one day, a man named Benjamin Nabb appears out of the blue claiming to be Ren’s long lost and charming brother, armed with a cockamamie story Ren doesn’t quite buy but goes along with to the get. the. heck. out. Turns out Benjamin isn’t, in fact, Ren’s brother. He is a smooth criminal who, along with his alcoholic buddy Tom, steal to survive, and have recently clued into a new, lucrative adventure: body snatching. As one can imagine, this leads to a world of shenanigans and trouble, where things are not what they appear to be, where Ren is still hoping to find out who his parents were, and in which everyone’s secrets will be slowly unraveled layer by layer before their very own eyes (and ours), until the very last period on the final page.

Best for: Older readers 16+ This is a work filled with richly hewn, and vibrant but gritty characters. Moreover, while the story is seemingly simple it is actual complex in that it reads as mystery, with clues left strewn throughout for savvy readers (ie. mature) to identify. Because I feel the grittiness of the characters and the dark undertones will alienate younger readers, and because of the cumulative memory required on the part of readers, I feel this book is best suited towards older readers. Younger readers can totally read it – there’s really nothing to quibble about aside from a few murders and body snatching incidents. It may just be a book they read very differently than they will with a few more years under their belt.

Book Talk Hook: Read aloud from the grave-robbing scene in which a character is not quite dead yet. Scary! Supsense!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Allison, by Allen Say: I like picture books too, mmkay?

Allison. Allen Say (1997).

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN: 978-0618495375

Allen Say does not stray far from his usual topic of Asian-American identities in Allison. This work, like so many of his other books like Grandfather’s Journey or Tea with Milk, is gorgeously rendered with almost creamy life-like watercolors. Each page feels almost like a snapshot of Allison’s life as she realizes out of the blue that she looks more like her doll Mei-Mei than her adoptive parents. Older readers (gr. 1-3) are better equipped to understand Allison’s reaction as she lashes out at her parents while struggling to accept that she is not their biological child. The snapshot quality of the images leads the book to feel almost like a family photo album, which helps to stress the themes of family, identity, and acceptance. Allison’s emotional journey is book ended by the appearance of a stray cat outside her window, a surrogate stand-in for herself who helps her understand what adoption means. This work deals very tastefully and gently with the topic of adoption, not sugarcoating feelings of rejection, but also ending on a positive note. Readers of this work may also enjoy Jin Woo, by Eve Bunting, another work that explores the themes of family identities and adoption.

For the zero of you reading this blog, this review is written in a somewhat more professional way than the was for a class last year. And I totally got an A (self high five). HOWEVER - this blog is not tots profesh, so let me tell you how I really feel. True story, I love Allen Say. He is one of the rare children's book authors/illustrators who has made me cry. At work. In front of children. I am. A big sap. And the pictures are so so pretty, and so so simple. I shake my fist at you and your magic tear producing powers, Senor Say! Shake shake shake! (Keep up the good work.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd: Eye Spy

The London Eye Mystery. Siobhan Dowd (2008).
NY: David Fickling Books. ISBN: 9780375849763.

Once upon a time, a book with narrator diagnosed with any sort of mental disability, such as Aspergers, were unheard of, barring a certain type of book that sensationalized the crazy (cough cough, Bell Jar, Girl Interrupted, I’m pointing at you). Then, along came The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, which crept up beside us (and up the best seller charts) and suddenly, a more positive outlook and favorable portrayal of protagonists afflicted with mental handicaps wasn’t so strange or scandalous any more. Consequently, voices previously marginalized with mental health problems, particularly those with Aspergers, are now being heard more frequently, though not regularly, in popular fiction and literature. Just this year, Francisco X. Stork released Marcello in the Real World, a story told in the first person by a teenage boy with an Asperger-like condition (it’s on my To-Read shortlist, and totally has the most gorgeous cover of the year, in my always right opinion). However, these titles seem to reach a slightly older/teenaged audience, and don’t allow for much crossover to tweens and young teens. Three cheers then for The London Eye Mystery, which safely will amuse tweens, teens, and adults.

Ted Stark is our middle school aged protagonist who also happens to suffer from Aspbergers. He is extremely high functioning and intelligent, is obsessed with the weather, has some self-identified trouble recognizing body language in others, and describes himself as being wired slightly different than most people. Ted and family are thrown for a bit of a loop when his estranged Aunt Gloria and her son Salim come for a quick visit on their way to move to New York City. Salim and Ted bond, Salim shares his unhappiness about having to move and be lonely, and Ted tells us that he now is glad to have five real friends (his teacher, Mom, Dad and sister Kat are the other four). On a visit to the London Eye, Salim disappears, somewhere between getting on, and getting off the ride. Has he been kidnapped? Run away? Spontaneously combusted (one of Ted’s theories)? Kat and Ted are desperate to solve this mystery as the drama of a missing child case fills their lives and causes obvious tension and strain for everyone in the family. Ted, with his mind like a computer, and Kat, his sassy and bossy big sister, may be able to crack the case, but not before Ted learns how to tell a lie, Kat learns how to listen to Ted, and Ted learns a little bit more about how to blend in a world that doesn’t accept him as he is.

I think what I love about this book is that Dowd manages to capture Ted’s voice and alternative thought process in a way that feels both organic and authentic. It doesn’t feel like she’s trying too hard, or that she’s going for any easy, stereotypical cop-outs in creating this interesting and well developed character. She is extremely talented in getting us to see that Ted thinks and feels differently than we do, in his very unique and detached sort of way, but still manages to make him an empathetic, charming, and even funny character. I especially love the ongoing sub-plot within this book, in with straight arrow, logic loving, and 100% truthful Ted begins to see the merit in telling a little white lie every now and then. This story also handles the events surrounding a tragedy like a missing child very skillfully; we see and recognize he agony and the drama, but are somewhat removed from it because our narrator himself doesn’t feel like the others do, though feel the same emotions he does, in his own way.

Best for: Older middle school students (lads and ladies both), probably 12-14, mostly because the American edition of this book still contains a lot of British slang younger readers may find confusing (along with the narrative voice). Adults will enjoy this alter-narrative as well – especially you Brit culture vultures. You know who you are.

Book Talk Hook: I would read either the section in which Salim goes missing, orrrr read the scene of the first time Ted lies. I think the humor and the mystery are the best ways to sell this one to our target tweener audience.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan: Salute your shorts...or toga

The Sea of Monsters. Rick Riordan (2007).
NY: Miramax/Hyperion Books. ISBN: 978-1423103349

In honor of book 5 aka
The Last Olympian dropping like it's hot AND because there is going to be a movie starring a ton of famous adult actor people (including a Hollywood crush of mine, Kevin McKidd, as Poseidon), I present to you, my pretend audience, my two cents on the second Percy Jackson book. I think I reigned it in pretty well in the review below, but my inner 12 year old fangirl is totally digging Percy Jackson, and I'll let my freak flag fly a little bit here before I start said review. I mean...what's not to love? Greek mythology? Check. Exciting fight sequences? Check. Interesting, personable, realistic protagonists? Check. A sense of humor and mucho jokes? Check.

For a chick who as a middle schooler used to stay in to watch Xena, who attended summer camp well into her 20's, and who still loves D'Aulaires book of Greek mythology, Rick Riordan has struck me with the literary equivalent of Cupid's Arrow. Looooooveeeee. Again, I say much of this below, but my love is not redundant. I love you, Percy Jackson. I'm sorry if that is weird because you are 12 or something. You just can't fight a love like ours, okay?

Just a heads up...if you haven't read The Lightning Thief (aka book one in this series, stop reading now!).

We did a recent election in the Children's Room where I work to coincide with the presidential election. Instead of voting for a presidential candidate, kids were asked to vote for their all time favorite book. Not so shockingly, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series won in a landslide with kids grades 4-6. Not just a blow to the
Series of Unfortunately Events, this is a book that needs only the fanfare of the first book and the word of mouth popularity that it has generated to convince the majority of kids to read it. I flippin' love this series too, and I can read at well above a 6th grade reading level (not to toot my own horn, kiddies). I'm not sure if the fact that I used to obsessively watch Xena Warrior Princess has anything to do with my chortling over the way Riordan cleverly inserts heroes, monsters and gods into this modern story (Aries looks like he's boss of a biker gang).

The Sea of Monsters is the second book in this awesome adventure series, which is yet unfinished (obviously now it is). Each of these takes on the shape of a Greek epic quest; this one is the Odyssey. Like the first book (The Lightning Thief), the story follows Percy Jackson, the demi-god son of Poseidon and a human woman, who has only recently learned that he's not just your average 7th grader. After the excitement of discovering his true identity, attending Camp Half-Blood, (a summer camp for the children of the Olympian gods) and surviving an ordeal to recover Zeus' stolen lightening bolt with his fellow demi-god Annabeth (daughter of Athena) and bestie Grover (who just happens to be a satyr), Percy has had a fairly normal school year for the first time in his life. Things go awry on the last day when a normal game of dodgeball turns into a fight for his life. Annabeth appears to save both Percy and his new bud, Tyson, only to let them know that things are looking pretty bleak down at Camp Half-Blood too; the magical borders that protect the camp grounds are shrinking. Percy, Annabeth and Tyson are catapulted into an adventure in the Sea of Monsters to save Camp Half-Blood, and along the way, Percy is bound to find out some more shocking things about his mysterious family.

Best for:
Everyone. Even you, old people like me. Basically, if you liked Harry Potter, and you like adventure, and you like or know anything about Greek mythology, you'll probably enjoy these books. As my roommate says, "They're basically New York style Harry Potter." Well said, sage roomie.
4th grade and up for independent reading, but younger children will probably enjoy being read these books as well.

Book talk hook: I'm not entirely sure one is necessary…it is Percy Jackson and all! I think I would probably rather book talk the first rather than the second book, since it is a series that builds on itself, and I don't know that I would recommend just one random book out of it over recommending the whole shebang.

*And when the hard cover complete set of these books drops, I want to be the first to know, Amazon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ahoy, maties! Here be a review of Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ships Boy, by L.A. Meyer

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ships Boy. L.A. Meyer, (2002).
NY: Harcourt. ISBN: 0152167315

This book, in a word, is ship-shape! Bloody Jack is the first in a series of books about the adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, an orphan from the streets of London, who assumes the identity of a boy to escape the fight to survive on the city streets. This cross-dressing endeavor is otherwise known to Jacky and her captive audience as "The Deception." Her only skill to speak of is the rare ability to read and write, and more than anything, she fears dying and having her body sold to doctors for medical research, as happens with most street urchins in the London of 1797. She gets a job as one of six ships boys aboard a pirate-fighting naval ship, and thus begins her life of adventure on the open seas…but there is a catch! Since carrying a fair, sweet lass aboard a ship is bad luck, Jacky's got to keep the crew from uncovering "The Deception." Jacky is clever, inventive, and scrappy. She fashions and wears a codpiece, finds secret ship nooks in which to make a lady friendly bathroom (i.e. to pee sitting down), and makes herself useful during squirmishes, earning her the moniker "Bloody Jack." But some things can't be stopped, and Aunties Flow and Curves join her aboard the HMS Dolphin, making "The Deception" all the more tricky, necessary, and complicated when she develops a big ole crush on her fellow ship's boy, Jaime, and a big creepster of a pedophile develops a crush on Jacky. With a big bad French pirate named LeFievre on the loose, Jamie convinced he may be gay, an undeniable talent for sewing, and "The Deception" getting trickier by the day, Jacky certainly has her hands full!

This historical fiction novel doesn't take liberties where it easily could; Jacky isn't a feminist, even though she knows she can do what all the men can do. Meyer sticks with the mentality of the time, even if Jacky herself is an historical anomaly. I can totally get behind the slangy Cockney narrative voice ("Today, after our duties, I'm sitting down with me shiv in my lap and I'm carving a rooster's head on the hilt of it in remembrance of Charlie whose shiv it was original."), which adapts not just to reflect where Jacky comes from, but how far she's come and where she's going, and reflects just what a little character she is. I can't wait to read the next one!

Best for: This would probably be most enjoyed by girl's ages 12-15 who like adventure, historical fiction, and pirates (especially due to that visit from Aunties Flow and Curves). I'd also recommend it to fans of the Tamora Pierce Alana books.

Book talk hook: I'd give a short summary of the plot and then read the bathing scene, Jacky's first major deception as a boy aboard a ship, when the Captain orders the ships boys scrubbed down and Jacky strategically places soap suds to disguise herself below decks.
GET IT? Chortles abound.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang: I have EXCELLENT taste.

American Born Chinese. Gene Luen Yang (2006).
NY: First Second.
ISBN: 978-0312384487

I'm a reluctant reader of sorts, the graphic novel sorts. This is only the second graphic novel I've ever read, while I enjoyed the first, I wouldn't say I was eager to read another. This one caught my eye first, if I'm honest, because it is colorful, and second, if I'm honest, because it's short! By the end of the first section (it is in three parts), I was totally digging it for all the reasons I've avoided graphic novels in the past: the colorful, cartoony illustrations, the teeny thought bubble text, and the crazy emphatic action words. Perhaps it helps that this is a smart graphic novel, disguised as a comic book. This allows some weighty questions about racial identity and acceptance to sneak up on the reader, and not in an interfering way either.

Yang's story begins with three, seemingly unrelated stories: a retelling of the famous myth of the Monkey King, that of Jin Wang, the child of Chinese immigrants, and Danny, a Justin Timberlake lookalike with a crazy stereotypical Chinese cousin named Chin-kee (major play on words and into this stereotype) who is enrolling in Danny's high school during his extended visit. He gives each story ample air time, but the stories really shine when he begins to weave them together in an unanticipated fashion, which is really where the strength of the story lies. While each character has their own problems and challenges (the Monkey King desires equal god status, Jin Wang wants to fit in at his all white school, and Danny just wants to fly under the radar, while still getting the girl), these personal challenges have one common theme: acceptance, both of oneself, of others, and by others.

Best for: This book is fabulous and I highly recommend it. It covers weighty issues with no heavy lifting by employing the graphic and illustrative format, and consequently is an easy, yet sly sell to reluctant readers. This also makes it fun and accessible, and is great for both boys and girls of all YA ages. Also, I found out months after reading this that it won the Prinz in 2007. I salute you, my critically confirmed good taste.
Self high five.

Book talk hook: The beautiful, colorful illustrations are all that I'd really need to sell this book to the audience I'd target for this at a book talk: young male readers. I'd probably do a summary, but since there is so much going on story wise, brevity is a wise choice.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card: Deep Space Nine Year Old

Ender's Game. 
Orson Scott Card (2002).
NY: TOR Books. ISBN: 978-0765342294

I am not a huge fan of sci-fi (except for Battlestar Galactica, secret geek love of my heart). I picked this book up thinking to myself "Ugh, I should probably read a sci-fi book, just so I'll know more about it and be able to recommend it, and this one is as popular as a jock in high school, so why not." Imagine my surprise when I found myself TOTALLY digging Ender's Game. I think what I love about BSG is what I found myself loving about Ender's Game: the psychological drama and mind games, and a story that doesn't revel in weird, heavy science fiction fantasy things. This, along with seeing the world through Ender's too-young-to-be-this-old eyes, marveling at his preternatural military genius, and trying to figure out who is really playing whom, is what really hooked me.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is six years old when he is taken from his family to go into intensive military training at Battleschool, a deep space training school for future military leaders. We learn from dialogue between high ranking military officials what Ender himself will learn soon enough: that he is the only hope for survival in the war between humanity and the buggers, an alien race which is seemingly hell-bent upon destroying humanity and colonizing earth. Ender leaves behind his beloved sister Valentine, and his maniacal and vicious older brother Peter, both geniuses in their own right. Ender advances rapidly through his training, pushed on by his own desire to win and his empathy, which allows him to understand others before using this to destroy them, should they prove to be an enemy. By the time he is 9, he has advanced to become the youngest army leader in the school, and shortly thereafter is promoted to Commander school - about 6 years ahead of schedule. He has revolutionized the way simulated battle games, the pinnacle of Battleschool education, are played. The teachers are unabashedly brutal with him, constantly pushing him to almost the breaking point, all in the hopes of turning him into the heroic commander they so desperately need to win. Before long, the lines between the game and reality are blurred. The ending to this part of the story is a nice twist, and while the real ending to the story is pretty good, it feels somewhat rushed compared to the rest of the story.

Best for: Because this book is somewhat complex, psychologically and politically, I'd hold off on recommending it to anyone under 13 that I didn't know well, simply because (and this may be a generalization) I'm not sure how many younger kids would fully understand the manipulations and games throughout. That being said, I'd probably still recommend it to eager younger readers who enjoy sci-fi because it is a rare sure thing. I think this is a fantastic book, and I feel confident about YA boys digging this (gender stereotypes, damn you!), along with girls.

Book talk hook: This is a book that I'd definitely need to gauge the crowd for. For example, I could see this as a military book (more of a sell for a crowd of younger, more reluctant reader boys), a psychological thriller ala the short story the Game (an older audience, both girls and boys), or as a straight sci-fi adventure (for sci-fi fans of all ages). I'd skew my summary of the plot towards the intended audience, and maybe to some Q&A type of things ("How many of you here think you can save the world? How many of you could outsmart a grown up at six?" etc.)
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