Gamer Girls, FTW

November 17, 2008

Congratulations to Mari Mancusi on her YA novel, Gamer Girl, and its inclusion in the Winter ’08/’09 Children’s Indie Next List (it’s the third book in the Teen Reader’s section if you’re in a hurry, though I highly recommend checking out the whole list)! I loved this book so much that I not only nominated it, but am thrilled to tell you that Mari will be doing an interview here on the blog for us! So, to get you excited, here’s my full review. Also, please note, I do not usually use the non-word “fun-tastic” — that was my overflowing enthusiasm having trouble with accepted vocabulary.

Gamer Girl taps into the culture of gaming, uniting books and the online world in a fun-tastic novel. After her parents’ divorce, a move away from her friends in Boston, and a horrific first day at her new school, Maddy seeks refuge in her manga and the game world of Fields of Fantasy, where she can be powerful, beautiful, and beat back the bullies with her spells. But the game world and her real life start to intersect when she meets Sir Leo, another character in the game who turns out to go to her school. Who is he? Will he still like her when he realizes that she’s just plain, unpopular Maddy? Mancusi handles the ups and downs of high school, family, and virtual reality with zest, producing a novel that will fit right in on a 16-year-old’s desk, between InuYasha and World of Warcraft.

For the Birds

August 29, 2008

I’m sure someone somewhere knows exactly how often it is that a debut novelist makes it to number one on any list. I am also sure that it is probably statistically more likely to happen on a list compiled by booksellers than on any other book list, though I’m betting that the chances are still pretty small. Enter Joyce Hinnefeld!

In Hovering Flight is lovely, just lovely. Hinnefeld clearly grasps and delicately illuminates the ways in which our families and our geographic surroundings shape our lives. With such complex and heartfelt characters, I’m hard-pressed to think of any reader who wouldn’t find something that pulls them in. A quietly moving book, one can almost hear the songs of the birds that weave their way in and out of the plot, sometimes symbolic, sometimes characters in their own right, but always reminders of what it is that we have, and what we stand to lose.

In Hovering Flight is number one on the September Indie Next list, and it couldn’t have happened to a better book.

Lots o’ Goodness

August 27, 2008