Thursday, June 9, 2011

Color Me Brown (Catching Up)

I'm s-l-o-w-l-y going through my Google Reader so there may be some old links but I'm trying to keep it current. Leave your own links to posts discussing books, conducting author or blogger interviews or just having general discussions about bookish topics (particularly having to do with race).

Katie from Book Love reviews Trash by Andy Mulligan

The poverty that these boys exist in is almost unthinkable. Homes are nothing more than crates piled one atop the other. From the time that they are old enough to wield their own "hook," small children are taken out of school and sent to scavenge through the trash. The government is greedy and corrupt, and it isn't at all unusual for members of the police to lock up (most likely) innocent children for years without hope of a trial. When Raphael finds the leather bag, it's no wonder that he chooses to keep his find a secret from the police.

But Raphael certainly wasn't in this story alone. Trash is told from many different points of view. In fact, pretty much everyone who was remotely involved in his story has their own chapter

Sarwat Chadda unveils the Italian cover of Devil's Kiss (PHENOMENAL book and cover to match) and shares an interview he did with his translator. The questions asked really delved into the depths of this wonderful series)

What is Hell? Hell is the cry of a starving infant. Hell is the begging for mercy then denied. Hell is the betrayals between man and wife. The lies between father and child. Hell is where the heart is.” OMG! That certainly leaves not much room for Heaven! What can we do?

Remember who you’re quoting, it was the Devil and he’ll have a fairly negative view of humanity, so I wouldn’t trust his opinion on anything.
But Devil’s Kiss is a grim, dark story. It’s not your usual paranormal romance where the girl gets the boy and they all live happily ever after. I wanted the horror and brutality of the world Billi lives in to be authentic and sincere, she’s playing for the highest stakes imaginable.
Billi and the Templars are about the struggle. They know they’ll never win, the best they can do is keep the darkness at bay for a little longer. That takes a particular type of bravery, knowing it will never end but carrying on regardless.

It’s too easy to let morality and common humanity fall by the wayside as you pursue your ambitions. The Templars are heroic because they fight to defend humanity when at times they may feel humanity is no better than the creatures they face. That’s especially true in Dark Goddess when Billi realises the enemy is just as dedicated as her, and they may be right, not her.

Khy from Frenetic Reader reviews Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Fury of the Phoenix is different than Silver Phoenix not only because Fury seems to contain less food, but also because it is not as action-oriented. There are far fewer monsters and battles in this sequel than in book one, and even though I did wish for more action, I liked the direction this book went in. Though the switches between the story of Ai Ling and Chen Yong and the story of Zhong Ye and Silver Phoenix sometimes seemed abrupt, I loved that both were included. The inclusion of Zhong Ye's rise to power was always a delight to read about, because in the last book he did not seem like he had much of a personality, just that he was all evil. However, in this book, it was proven that there is more to him than just evil, and that his reason for being so bad is valid.

Liz B reviews Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

So, while this book is about Ai Ling, it is clear that there is going to be a bigger story… especially when she meets someone who is about 19 and is part foreigner.

Ai Ling is an interesting main character. She’s a bit out of step with her society; a girl her age should be married, but she isn’t. She is also a reader and has read books her parents didn’t want her to read. This turns out to be a good thing, because reading about different demons helps her out when she actually encounters them! I misunderstood the jacket description, so at first thought that Ai Ling was going to be a fighter. The fighting is done mainly by Chen Yong and Li Rong. Ai Ling has other talents she brings to the quest. Perhaps one of my favorite parts about the way that Ai Ling’s journey is handled is that when Ai Ling runs away to find her father, she doesn’t dress herself up as a boy. She doesn’t have to hide who she is or pretend to have her adventures.

The Rejectionist interviews Marina Budhos, a writer of multiple genres (Ask Me No Questions, Tell Us We're Home, co-authored Sugar Changed the World along with a few others)

Do you think of your work as political? Do you approach writing YA differently from writing for adults?

I'm not sure I think of it as political, but I think that the larger world, the political forces that shape us, and shape young people, are vital to me. It's simply how I see things. I don't start out with an 'issue' but simply I go where my gut, my interests send me. Some of the instincts I once used as a journalist, I think, are now making their way into young adult.

I do have to approach the writing a little differently. In my early drafts of Tell Us We're Home I still had the vestiges of some adult writing that did not quite work--too much authorial, from above material, for instance. I had to find a very concrete way to get at these things, about class, about immigrants, how the kids would feel it--not their parents. So that took some digging, some refocusing. In general, I do feel that writing for ya requires one to be a bit more direct, more driven by voice. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of ya that is too 'raw'. I am interested in the craft, just as much as I would be in adult.

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