A Reader’s Resolution

A Reader’s Resolution

Written by Grant Goodman, 12/31/2014

This year I will go on a thousand adventures. I will travel across countries, through space, and all throughout time. I will partake in daring rescues and tragic failures. I will be a part of star-crossed romance and the kinds of deep friendships that we should all be lucky enough to have.

I will discover twenty new sentences that give me chills. I will find a new author whose words give my world more meaning and color.

I will do what I can to deal with the fact that there will always be more books than I have time for.

I will stop losing so many bookmarks.

This year I will turn more pages, tame more dragons, and solve more mysteries.

This is a year for reading.

5 More Amazing Sentences from YA Novels

In case you missed the first installment, check it out HERE.

1. “This is the first kiss that makes me want another.”

–Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

2. “Too late, I found you can’t wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.”

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

3. “We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.”

–Peter Beagle, The Last Unicorn

4. “…there’s something about a girl and a night and a beach.”

–Cory Doctorow, Little Brother

5. “Autumn has a hungry heart.”

–Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

SEAL OF APPROVAL: BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope

Seal of Approval: BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope

Written by Grant Goodman, 12/24/2014

This is the first graphic novel I’ve reviewed for the site and, wow, this one is awesome.

Acropolis is under siege by monsters. Their only hero is Haggard West, who has used scientific research to design a way to fly AND (of course) to build himself a pretty sick gun that causes targets to burst into flame. Unfortunately, the Ghoul Gang (a cross between ninjas, mummies, and cobra commander) has a plan for Haggard West.

On a different plane of existence, Battling Boy is rounded up by his brute-force, monster-slaying god of a father and sent to Acropolis to battle its monsters and gangs. It is a coming of age process that all 12 year-olds go through.

I love the creativity at work here. There are spiders who weave armor. Cthulu can be found hanging out in the villains’ bar. The mayor has a PR team to manage Battling Boy’s image.

The artwork is explosive and brilliant. Pope’s linework is manic, his monsters are Ralph Steadman versions of nightmare kaiju. Battling Boy’s super-macho father is a hilarious spectacle of muscle and violence. The color symbolism is clear: the Ghoul Gang is dressed in dark clothes, Battling Boy wears all white.

There’s also the matter of Aurora West, daughter of Haggard. She doesn’t get much panel-time in this volume, but all of it is fascinating. The second volume of the story is titled THE RISE OF AURORA WEST and I suspect it will shine much more light on her and her life. I can’t wait to read it!

Laurie Halse Anderson on Nightmares, Writing, and Teen Audiences

Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, offers some amazing insights in this brief interview.

She discusses how a nightmare influenced her story, how an editor told her that “teens don’t read,” and how surprising it was when Speak became an award-winning novel.

This is good stuff, people.

5 Amazing Sentences from YA Novels

5 Amazing Sentences from YA Novels

Written by Grant Goodman, 12/16/2014

I was recently given the link to Buzzfeed’s 51 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature. It’s a wonderful collection. I thought that YA novels deserve the same treatment. So over the next few months, as a recurring feature, I’ll be collecting and sharing my picks for Amazing Sentences in YA.

1.  I feel such a tenderness for these vulnerable night-time conversations, the way the words take a different shape in the air when there’s no light in the room.

David Levithan, Every Day

2. Moonlight can reveal the truth of things.

-Joseph Delaney, The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

3. Life is short, but it’s wide.

-Wendy Mass, Every Soul a Star

4. The world was collapsing, and the only thing that really mattered to me was that she was still alive.

-Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian

5. There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

-Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Click HERE to read 5 MORE Amazing Sentences from YA Novels!

Margin Notes: THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente

Margin Notes: THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente

Written by Grant Goodman, 12/9/2014

The Quote:

When you are born…your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish…But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living.

The Notes:

Life wears you down. That’s the truth for most of us. You want summers and sandy beaches and ice cream and smiles. Maybe, for a few weeks in a row, you get that. Then that other stuff happens. The sleet, the flat tire, the rust. They come in many forms. Illness, exhaustion, too much homework, your parents’ divorce.

No matter the age you are, you know what I’m talking about. There’s stuff that slows you down and saps your energy. It’s terrible. (And for those of you who may think that adults have it all figured out, I’m sorry to tell you that we’re just as lost as you are. There’s no magic button that we suddenly press when we’re 22. It’s probably better you find out now.)

The passage above is gorgeous because of its ability to capture all of those aspects of life and turn them into a small work of art.

Those of you who are in school, you know what it’s like to deal with the fear of what others will think of you. Others can be cruel. Plenty of people tell you to speak your mind, but the reality is that so many people are afraid of being judged. Your courage, indeed, can get all gunked up.

In Fairyland, you can have your courage scrubbed clean. It’s a physical act. Sadly, we don’t have that luxury here on Earth. We have something close, though. It varies from person to person. There’s something for each and every one of us that restores us.

Maybe it’s the alchemy we call cooking, maybe you need to breathe in the deep, green scent of the woods in the spring. Perhaps you pick up your paintbrush and capture your heart’s desire that way. Some of us get lost in the rustle of paper pages and find that little piece of us that somehow went missing.

Whatever it is, it won’t scrub you sparkling clean again. It will, however, fill you up with sunlight again and remind you that you can still glow.

From there, it’s up to you to deal with the shadowy stuff.

It’ll be easier, though, even if only a little.