Trust Exercise is set in a hot, sprawling, unnamed American town in the 1980s, with teenagers attending an exclusive performing arts school. It’s about the intensity of teenagers’ feelings, first love, the need to belong, the creation and abuse of power. It is unsettling and uncomfortable, told in three parts, with no other breaks or chapters; thought-provoking, not completely satisfying, but fascinating.
I have gone back to re-read this series, as i am so enjoying the latest. Lyra lives in Jordan College in an alternate Oxford, believing her parents to have died. She spends her days getting up to mischief with her daemon, Pantalaimon, her friend Roger, the kitchen boy, and the young rascals around town, until children begin to go missing, and Lyra is caught up in a great quest.
It is a wondrous adventure, full of endearing, frightening, and marvellous characters. Very occasionally the anti-church sentiment is a little laboured, forced, but on the whole, it is a delightful fantasy, with a spirited heroine. The author reads the audio version himself, with actors for character dialogue, which worked beautifully.
The Binti trilogy finished with Binti dealing with the war between the Khoush and Meduse people. Loyalty is tested, identity is constantly changing, and Binti must find strength beyond imagining to save her people, and her friends. This series is extraordinarily imaginative; and world-building is its focus. If you read more for character or plot, you may not find this is for you, but it has a deep sense of place, and is full of wondrous, vibrant, out of this world detail.
This is the second book in The Changed trilogy, and picks up right where The Silent Invasion finished. Callie discovers that before he was Changed, her father had made scientific advances that may have a huge impact on the future. This is another action packed, YA, dystopian novel, with a subtle environmental message, and a thrilling cliff-hanger ending. No word on book three yet, so hold off if you need instant closure.
Nina Stibbe’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, are a lot of fun. Paradise Lodge is an old people’s home in an English village in the 1970s. Fifteen year old Lizzie Vogel starts to work there as she avoids school, and wants cash to buy nicer coffee and shampoo. It’s a wonderfully life-affirming story, full of lovable, eccentric characters, coming of age revelations, and deep connection and community.
Elisa has been gifted the Godstone, which means she has been chosen for an act of heroism. But she does not fell like a hero. So begins this fantasy adventure. Love, kidnapping, war, death, religion are all in the mix as Elisa puts the puzzle pieces together. A satisfying read.Elisa has been gifted the Godstone, which means she has been chosen for an act of heroism. But she does not feel like a hero. So begins this fantasy adventure. Love, kidnapping, war, death, religion are all in the mix as Elisa puts the puzzle pieces together. A satisfying read.
Jude is a musician who becomes possessed by the cajou queen while playing at her funeral. The queen wants Jude to find out who murdered her and therefore has to venture into the world of vampires, spirits and witch doctors. Magic and music was very much alive in New Orleans, leaning more towards the darker side of magic. As someone who knew nothing of vodoo the author explained the concepts throughout which was much appreciated. I enjoyed the story but was probably a bit too much on the dark side for me.
Ginny is sixteen, and lives with her widowed father in Wales. Her father is white, and her mother was Haitian, and Ginny is just beginning to grapple with her own identity one summer, when a series of events turn her life upside down. It’s about identity, art, secrets, and family, and has plenty of teenaged angst. I enjoyed the story and the narration (Welsh accents), but it didn’t enthral me as His Dark Materials, or the beginnings of The Book of Dust did.
Black Swan Green is stories from one year in the life of a thirteen year old boy, in an English village during the early 80s. It’s about the common and peculiar trials of being a thirteen year old boy, friendship, family relationships, music, politics, poetry and truth, love and loyalty. It’s funny, clever, moving, sad, joyful, and with the special delight for the regular reader of David Mitchell books, the characters from his other books. He is one of my very favourite authors.
A story that reimagines the beginning of the little mermaid story, full of friendship (love), revenge and magic. The pace builds throughout the story, making the second half of the story more enjoyable.