And the reviews keep on coming
All-American Girl by Meg Cabot was one of those books that I kept reading in the hopes that the narrator stops being annoying long enough to be interesting. Fortunately, it does happen, but it’s really hard to get to the plot with the whining teenage girl leading the way. I ended up enjoying this book, and part of me wants to read the sequel, while another part of me wants to slap myself for even thinking it.
Nana by Ai Yazawa, Volumes 18-21
I read these at the very beginning of the year, and can’t remember anything other than “Still somewhat compelling; could’ve ended a zillion years ago.” I found the movie incredibly touching and created a depth I often didn’t get out of the book (which could be my own fault; I’m prone to skimming art and going right for dialog, as is my kid, which drives my husband nuts). I hear the author’s sick and isn’t sure when she’ll resume work on the series, so I guess this’ll be it for a while. Did it end? I can’t even remember. But Nana’s a title I still recommend to manga newbies, because it’s one of the better realistic adult titles. (Why is it not listed as josei in Wikipedia when ParaKiss is? Weirdness.)
True Blood: Altogether Now by Alan Ball et al is a waste of a comic, I have to say. It adds nothing to the show or characters. It seems like one of those “Hey, I bet we can make more money if we put out a comic” decisions. Oh well. They can’t all be gems.
This was the year I got into Alex Flinn, reading both Beastly and Cloaked. I thoroughly enjoyed both books (I hear the Beastly movie is nothing like it and is to be avoided, but I have no idea myself, in case you were wondering), although I was disappointed to find that Flinn is a woman. Guys writing teen fairy-tale books that aren’t Gregory Maguire would interest me a lot more than women right now, but Flinn seems to do a good job on the male narrative voice, from a woman’s perspective anyway. Good books, easy recs for teens whose parents are worried about what they read.
I mentioned Ally Carter before, having read the first book of both her Heist Society and Gallagher Girls series. Well, I also finished both second books and, I have to tell you, I am done with the Gallagher Girls and still somewhat interested in the Heist books. I can’t help it; I can’t stand the spy stuff being played for laughs, and I can’t stand how we’re supposed to think these girls are smart when they do nothing out of the ordinary. I like my characters empowered and sharp and reacting to situations that throw them off, like Kat in the Heist books, not dim and sheltered and prone to miserable failures like the Gallagher Girls. This is too bad, because the books have the best title/cover combinations out there, but UGH. Heist seems more grounded in reality, although I’m also getting sick of “Well, we can always pull (this ridiculously-named con), but who’s got a duck and four water guns handy?”-type jokes in Heist, which is just a variation of the “What has the Professor made lately?” jokes from Gallagher Girls. At least in Heist, it started out somewhat believable (there ARE names like that for cons), then it grew more and more ridiculous.
Also, despite the complaints from my daughter, yes, I’m totally okay with them aging the characters for a movie, as is the rumor (posted on the author’s site). It makes perfect sense to me. Unlike the Gallagher Girls, Heist doesn’t necessarily require the characters to be in their teens, just young.
Now that our library has all of them, I reread Powers and Ex Machina, two very different series but both amazing, I have to say. I’ve glowed about Vaughan before, and Bendis too, and I have a few complaints about Powers (specifically, how ridiculously gratutious the art gets as the series goes on), but for the most part, I found them to fantastic series with strong endings–maybe because they DO end, people. I’m just saying. Powers follows cops in a super-powered world, and Ex Machina is about a superhero who saves one of the Twin Towers during 9/11 and goes on to believe that he can do better work in politics than he can in the sky. Ex Machina has a stronger base in reality, but Powers’s focus on police procedure–specifically, evidence–grounds it as well, no matter how sci-fi/superhero-y the series gets as it progresses. The other thing I liked about Powers that I’m not sure I did the first time around is that the mysteries, once solved, feel like a boot dropping rather than some neatly tied-together bundle, like on television. Sometimes you think, “It’s that easy?” and other times you think, “It’s solved? Really? We’re done here?” and the answer is, occasionally, yes. Not every mystery is worthy of Batman (who, my husband points out, looks ridiculous at a regular crime scene in his costume).
787 to go.