Saturday, October 29, 2016

H8rs gonna hate: The Haters, by Jesse Andrews

The Haters

Jesse Andrews
Amulet Books: New York, 2016
ISBN 9781419720789

Haters gonna hate, but hopefully not on The Haters, a simultaneously witty, rude, and charming title by Jesse Andrews.  Wes and Corey are headed to band camp.  To be specific, jazz band camp.  

They hate it.  They join forces after one epic jam session with the only girl there, Ash (a stone cold vixen), who hates it with equal passion, prompting them to start a band and run away from camp to go on tour, ditching their cell phones and hitting the road.  The problem is, who wants to hear a band that doesn’t even have a name?  Can a human survive on red vines and chips? Can this band avoid their parents long enough to survive each other?

This book is as funny as it is heartfelt, but probably not for those who can’t handle overhearing a conversation with teenage boys (ie. sex, drugs, rock ’n’roll, and yes, dirty words).  For the rest of us, it would be a shame to miss out going on tour with this crew.  The book features a diverse cast, both racially and socioeconomically, and touches upon family issues as well as the general woes of coming of age.  This is a must read if you’re into music, in a band, or need a book for a reluctant to read teenage boy or dude in your life!  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Anthropologically anthropologic: Euphoria, by Lily King

Lily King
Grove Press, 2015
ISBN: 978-0802123701

Every now and then, I read a book that makes me sigh, “DAMN, that was gooooood.” While these books can run the gamut from totally fluffy books (you guys know by now I’m a sucker for a time traveling/historical/brooding/cooking/horseback/saga/survival romance), generally this type of sigh is saved for the kind of book that hits all the (other) right notes: compelling characters, intriguing plot, balanced highs and lows in pace and plot, language that raises the story off the page and creates strong visual imagery, and, usually, a certain je ne se quois, which is one of the approximately five things I can say confidently in French. Euphoria has that all, and boy howdy did I let out a major sigh of “DAMN,” when I finished. Not only did I get the requisite good book hangover after finishing Euphoria, but the story, plot, and writing have stayed with me since.

As you also well know, I’m a shameless coverjudger, and Euphoria’s colorful book-dress fell into my vain horizon. It’s like a melted Rothko! I will note that I do have some standards, I have no standards, because you know I’ll totally read anything. I’m looking at you, terrible Mermen book that made me laugh so hard this summer when Amazon recommended it that I had to read it. I digress though, because Euphoria is definitely not a case of the terribles, and what I mean to say is that the publisher flab on the classy, colorful jacket was what really put this at the top of my endless pile o’books to read.

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