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LNW2There’s a passage in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that Large Son gave me reason to remember recently. It’s not a huge important scene, but his reference to it was perfect, and I remembered it immediately. It is in the White Witch’s castle after Aslan has breathed on all the stone statues and brought them back to life*. Here, he is speaking to the assembled group.

“Those who are good with their noses must come up in the front with us lions to smell out where the battle is. Look lively and sort yourselves.”

And with a great deal of bustle and cheering they did. The most pleased of the lot was the other lion, who kept running about everywhere pretending to be very busy but really in order to say to everyone he met, “Did you hear what he said? Us Lions. That means him and me. Us Lions. That’s what I like about Aslan. No side, no stand-off-ishness. Us Lions. That meant him and me.” At least he went on saying this til Alsan loaded him up with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits, and a hedgehog. That steadied him a bit.

This came up recently because Large Son was berating Small Daughter for being condescending to their young cousins. “Please,” Large Son said. “You were trying to tell me how boring it was that they wanted to play with you – you were all Us Lions about it!”

Us Lions. In publishing there’s a lot of that.

Until a few months ago, I was very much on the far side of the publishing fence. I was writing, I was querying, I was commiserating with other would-be authors. That was about it. On Twitter, at conferences, on blogs, there were all kinds of published or soon-to-be published authors joking with each other, professing their love for their amazing agents, talking up their book launches. For those of us querying and getting piles of rejections, those easy Twitter exchanges with agents and editors seemed a bit like a foreign language.

But then in October, a few days after my birthday, I got THE AMAZING CALL from the even more amazing Marietta Zacker, of the Nancy Galt Literary Agency, and I was suddenly in the club. Us lions.

Then in December (after that little jaunt to Nepal) I got THE OTHER AMAZING CALL, that someone was interested in my book. And the amazing calls just kept coming.

Earlier this month I went to New York and had a chance to talk to editors about THE FAMILY FURNIVAL. As I walked through the hallways of these venerable publishing houses I saw signed copies of books I adored, I saw famous illustrators’ doodles on the walls, I saw galleys and ARCs and manuscripts piled everywhere. Us lions were really roaring now.

Next week I should have some very exciting news to share with the world. And there’s a part of me that is that lion who, for a moment at least, felt he was Aslan’s peer. But at the same time, it feels like around ten minutes ago that I was glumly pressing send on a bunch of queries, complaining endlessly to my writer friends, and really wondering if there was any point in waking up early or staying up late to try and pursue this crazy writing thing. So I guess all this is to say, if, once I share that exciting news, I start to get too self-important, feel free to weigh me down with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits and a hedgehog. Let’s see if that steadies me.

*I’d really like to think I don’t have to tell anyone here to read this book. Honestly, if you haven’t read it by now there’s probably no hope for you. But on the off-chance you recently landed here from another planet and just haven’t had a chance to read it, by all means go ahead. I’ll wait. *taps fingers* Done? Excellent. Carry on.

For those of you not working in the publishing or writing worlds, BEA is just another alphabet soup of an acronym, (although a far pithier one than SCBWI, as I wrote about here). But for those in those worlds, BEA falls somewhere between Dante’s seventh ring, a candy shop, and a vital business meeting with several thousand of your closest colleagues and competitors.

It can look like this:

(source)

Or it can look like this:

   

And for me, it looks a lot like this:

Yes, I went and got ALL THE BOOKS.

BEA is a trade show, a place for Big Six publishers and independent publishers and self-pubbed authors and academic presses and everyone in the business of creating books to meet with librarians and booksellers and book promoters and book bloggers and everyone in the business of selling books. And it’s batshit crazy for sure.  For a newcomer it can be like walking into someone else’s 50th family reunion when you know nobody: lots of air-kissing and “remember-when”-ing and inside talk about the industry and the next big thing. For authors, as a veteran writer told me, it’s a place where you’re either being promoted by your publisher or resenting that you’re not being promoted by your publisher. It’s where you might sulk over the massive line for a big name book signing, or cringe at the look on the face of an author sitting at a deserted table for another signing. For bloggers and newbies, it’s also a time to grab ARCs, or Advanced Reader Copies, of books publishers are giving away before their publication date, to build up interest. (The pursuit of these ARCs can lead some of us *cough cough* to bring a large wheelie suitcase to fill with books, while our few clothes reside, wrinkled, in a tiny satellite duffel).

It’s totally overwhelming.

And here’s the thing: as an unpublished author I really didn’t need to be there. Unlike the aforementioned NESCBWSOISDFUIDFDPGIPDFOISDF Conference, this is not about writing. It’s about selling books. And as of yet, that’s not the business I’m in. So while I did get to say hello to a few editors and agents (largely thanks to my authorial mafia of aunt Elizabeth Levy and cousin Robie Harris), I’d be lying if I said I was there to further my career.

Really, I was mostly there to get ALL the books.

So in a lot of ways, BEA didn’t matter to me. I was tremendously interested to hear both Young Adult and Middle Grade editors talk about the books they most wanted to promote for the fall. (Still some dystopians, in the YA world, for those who say that trend is over…). And it was great to grab new work by authors I enjoy like Mike Mullin and Saci Lloyd. But on a business level, it really didn’t matter to my life.

However, there was a Children’s Book Author Breakfast. And there I heard the adorable Cris Colfer, the hysterical John Green, and the truly magnificent Lois Lowry speak, among others. And wow.

John Green, who writes some of my favorite contemporary YA books, spoke about how writers and publishers should not get distracted by the interactive, the multi-functional, the shiny world of e-books. “Story trumps all,” he told us, then quipped, deadpan, when the crowd cheered: “Well, saying that in this crowd is kind of like being in a room full of elephants, as an elephant, talking about how great elephants are.”

And Lois Lowry spoke of her newest book SON, and how it closes the quartet she started close to twenty years ago. It was a series that began when her son, an Air Force pilot fighting in that Iraq war, asked, “why do people do such terrible things to each other, and how can we stop it?” She spoke of trying to answer that in her award-winning book THE GIVER. And about how the questions left unanswered led her to write BECOMING BLUE, then THE MESSENGER, and finally SON. And though all the books, how the ultimate question kept repeating itself: Why do people do such terrible things to each other? Sometime during her writing of this quartet, and thinking on this question, her son was killed in service.

And as she spoke of this, and of how, in her book SON, she was able to create a happy ending, it was suddenly clear to me that BEA does matter to me. Because stories matter. And sharing the stories with the greater world matters. And inspiring others to write, and to work hard to make sure kids are finding and reading books…well, that matters too.

So I did get ALL the books. And a shot of pure adrenaline in the arm to boot. Now it’s time to get back to writing…just as soon as I finish reading one more page.

This could almost work as Monday Book Love, because I really enjoyed Mike Mullin‘s book ASHFALL. It is a very cool premise: a normal fifteen-year-old boy Alex is home alone when the supervolcano brewing under Yellowstone National Park explodes. The world is covered in ash and Alex begins his journey away from his ruined home to find his family.

It’s pretty awesome. There’s the scary. There’s the really nasty. There’s the kindness. There’s the sexy stuff.

Ah, there’s the rub. There’s some sexy stuff. Not really sexy, mind you. Not like, Harlequin Romance style. More a very sweet, kind, realistic and honest relationship between Alex and Darla, the girl he meets and ultimately travels with.

So here’s the thing. In his blog post, author Mike Mullin talks about how he gets lots of disapproval and general grief for the brief, caring, off-screen “sexual content” of his book, while no one* seems to be particularly concerned by the violence. And by violence I mean VIOLENCE. Not DIE HARD style, exactly, but there are heads blown off by guns, eyes knocked out…yeah. Violence.

Reading Mullin’s post was deeply refreshing. And completely in line with what I believe. So I’ll share his words, and the link so you can read the whole thing.

Well done, M. Mullin. If you need help on that censorship campaign, just let me know. I’m behind you all the way.

I WRITE DIRTY BOOKS AND I’M PROUD OF IT

Here’s one of the questions I’ve been asked frequently about my debut novel, ASHFALL: “Is it clean?” The first time the question came up, I was taken aback—what did he mean? I examined the stack of books on the table beside me—had I spilled my coffee and not noticed? After checking over a couple of the books, I reassured the questioner—yep, they’re clean. 

 The librarian standing next to me was shaking her head. “He’s asking about the content,” she whispered. “Oh,” I replied, “it’s about an apocalypse, realistically depicted. It’s violent.”

 “That’s fine,” said the guy—a pastor—picking up a copy.

 The librarian was still shaking her head. “There are, um, sexual situations in the book,” she said. The guy’s eyes widened, he set down the book, and marched away.

 You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought, any kind of violence is okay but the mere mention of sex is not? ASHFALL has a scene in which Alex, the hero, knocks a man’s eye out of his skull. That’s better than two teens exploring their mutual attraction in a responsible, loving way? What exactly does that say about our culture? (None of the sex in ASHFALL is explicit, by the way—it all happens “off-screen,” during the chapter breaks. But if it were explicit, so what? It’s not an illustrated book.)

thought the pastor might be an aberration, but sadly, he wasn’t.  At one school I visited, the librarian prepared the students by reading the eye-popping scene out loud but scolded me for including fade-to-black “sex” scenes in the book.

I maintained my sense of indignation for months. Perversely, every time I was asked if ASHFALL was clean, I’d say no, it’s violent. I held out hope that eventually I’d find someone who would turn away from my work because of the violence, not because of a responsible teenage romance—gasp—realistically depicted. But if those people are out there—those who value love more highly than war—they’re awfully quiet.

The rest of his post can be found here. I encourage you to read it. And to read ASHFALL…even if you’re only looking for the dirty parts.

*Of  course I did not take a poll of every librarian and bookseller in the world and ask if they were okay with the eye-ball poking scene but freaked out by the loving, hoping to have safe-sex scenes. Consider this my waiver against statements of hyperbole.

Today’s choice is easy.

My amazingballs aunt Elizabeth Levy, who is a children’s book author, has a problem. (Well, it’s not really a problem, unless you’re not the kind of person that likes every single surface of your home covered in books, especially your children’s rooms). Luckily, I am not that person.

So my aunt’s…let’s call it a tic, not a problem, is to give us an incredibly generous and insane number of books. Many of them are signed. In fact, like some people might feel the need to bring you a snow globe or a magnet for your collection every time they see you, my aunt feels the need to bring us seven or eight more signed books. Like I said, this isn’t really a problem for someone like me, who thinks piles of books are exactly the style of home decor I’m looking for. It’s kind of the best.

Anyway, a few years ago Liz came to visit with a signed copy of this:

This book, for those who don’t know it, is MARTIN’S BIG WORDS by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

And it is wonderful. My children and I have read it on MLK Day every year since we got it, which was back when they were very small people who couldn’t read to themselves, and who were shocked and mystified that people got angry at him. Now they are big, these children of mine, and they devour books on their own all the time. But today we will read this together.

In it, we hear many of King’s famous quotes, but pulled out to create a narrative of his life in a way that children can follow and understand. It reminds us all of the wisdom of his words.

Happy Martin Luther King Day, everyone.

http://youtu.be/IF_qgqTFPCw

 

 

 

 

One of the wonderful parts of falling in love with books is finding the “me too!” moments when you’re reading. Authors strive to create realistic emotions and reactions, so that readers can identify with the characters. It’s one of the best parts of enjoying a well-written book. I just didn’t expect to find such connection to a stuffed toy buffalo.

Today’s book love is Emily Jenkins’ final installment in the TOYS GO OUT series, TOYS COME HOME. It is illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, who can make absolutely anything odd and poignant and funny all at once.

TOYS COME HOME is a prequel, if you will, the tale of how the now-beloved bossy StingRay, ebullient Plastic, and brave Lumphy (the buffalo), all came to the Little Girl’s house. If this all sounds too precious for words and is starting to make your teeth ache from sweetness, consider one of my favorite lines in the first book (TOYS GO OUT): ‘Why don’t you shut your buffalo mouth? Your buffalo mouth is too whiny!” It is following by a brief buffalo-stingray scuffle and there are some teeth marks at the end.

In fact, what I love about these books is that, while there are moments of tremendous sweetness, these characters are just as bossy, selfish, scared, thoughtless, and un-sweet as the rest of us. They are perhaps more lovable, (since most of us are not made of soft blue plush), but no less flawed. And Jenkins writes with a clear message that nothing is simple. An unpleasant stuffed animal gets destroyed in the washing machine, allowing StingRay to be promoted to on-the-bed favorite. Does she rejoice? Should she feel guilty? This question, and others like it, are not resolved easily, and children will enjoy the slight moral ambiguity of the characters.

I loved all these books. I read them out loud to Small Daughter and Large Son, and sometimes had to stop reading because I was laughing too hard. But it is the end of this last book that truly won my heart. Because Lumphy, the noble buffalo, is suffering from nothing less than pure existential angst. And truly, I can sympathize. He is stuck on the question Why are we here? Lumphy is up all night, night after night, unable to sleep. He wonders “why are any of them here…it is scary that StingRay doesn’t know, and scary that there may not be an answer at all.”

One night his friends can’t find him (the animals move around after the humans are asleep). He is downstairs, watching television with lights on, because, he says, “I have dread. It has to do with too much dark. And not knowing why we’re here. And not sleeping.”

Well. Anyone who has ever battled depression knows the Dread. And reading this book aloud, knowing that this fight is one that both I and my family members have fought, made it all the more poignant. And while I don’t want to ruin the plot for anyone, I will say that the way Lumphy finds his way out of his Dread made me well up with tears, just a little bit.

So here’s to Lumphy, and to his loyal friends StingRay and Plastic, and to all those who help their loved ones fight the Dread.

 

 

I hate it when they do this, I really do. Those sadists over at YA Highway always like to make us choose favorites, and I hate that. (I have a real problem with any hierarchical ranking…I realize this about myself. I don’t even like to rank my favorite breakfast cereals, let alone songs, books, movies, etc.).

But, here we go.

Actually, the book I’m going with I haven’t even finished yet. And it’s quite disturbing and hard to read sometimes. It definitely falls into that “dark YA” trend that occasionally gets people up in arms. But the writing is extraordinary,and despite the darkness there are some lovely joyful moments. And the fact that I can’t get it out of my head definitely means it is worth of being:

The Best book of October:

STICK, by Andrew Smith

I confess, this is not the kind of book I would normally read. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it is darker and grittier than what I am writing these days, and therefore what I am reading these days. But my dear writer friend Helene is indeed writing dark and gritty work (and quite well, too, I might add), so when she sent this to me with the note – “can’t wait to hear your thoughts” I knew I would read it.

As I said, STICK covers some difficult topics, and breaks your heart a little bit while you’re reading it. But it is also a great example of how young adult literature can challenge us, engage us, hurt us a little, and ultimately – hopefully – redeem us.

Happy Road Trip Wednesday! What have you read lately?

(source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vipulmathur/471634239/)

Well, it is Monday, which means it’s time for Book Love (and coffee…but that’s another story). Anyone who has either had the good luck to talk books with me, or ask me what time it is, really, knows how much I love Melina Machetta’s Jellicoe Road. I blogged about it here and talk about it constantly. And yet, it was a book I had to start several times before it really grabbed me. But once it did, it kind of never let go.

When I read that Marchetta had written a fantasy novel Finnikin of the Rock, set in an imaginary land, I had no real interest. Other than loving Lord of the Rings when I was twelve, I’m not a huge high fantasy fan. I like my fantasy urban and snarky, thank you very much.

But. But it’s Melina Marchetta. And I kept reading wonderful reviews of it. So I read it.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

First of all, I should clarify. The world of Finnikin is a created one, with new countries, borders, and kings. But there are no elves, no magic rings, no vampires…the conflicts are strictly and painfully human. There is some magic, but truly, the core conflicts are ours.

As with Jellicoe Road, I found I had to push through the beginning in order to get settled within the story. There is a complexity in her storytelling that sometimes leaves me feeling I have walked into the middle of a play at the second act, without a real grounding of what and who is important. But once I muscled in, I loved it.

As with all books that I truly love, it starts and ends with the characters. Finnikin, the young man whose homeland is lost and who wants nothing more than to be the strong second-in-command to his mentor as they try to build a new homeland in exile; Evanjalin, the mysterious and unwelcome girl who proves tougher, more talented, and stronger than Finnikin could have known; Trevanion, the rescued father who is both fierce and fiercely loyal; Froi, thief, would-be rapist, follower, and lost boy, whose life without a home shows what displacement looks like…I fell in love with them all.

What I love most about this book is that the story it tells is utterly contemporary, despite being set in Lumatere, Yutland, and other made-up countries. It is a story of a people who felt secure until horrible things befell their homeland. Who were spread into diaspora, and who suffered all of the physical and emotional scars of being without a home. They are forced to address the inequities that existed in their old home, even while they mourn it. Pick up any newspaper or history book and these same themes of loss are there.

I won’t keep going about the other favorite parts of this book, because it gets spoiler-y. (But I will say…sa-wooooon! Just saying). But something struck me as familiar when I read this. In my own writing, I often want to tell two stories; the story I am writing, and the story beneath the story.

In SWIM, I am writing about mermaids. But that wasn’t really the story I wanted to tell. I wanted to tell the story of growing up, of questioning one’s place, of wondering what is selfish and what is fair, of not trusting oneself, and of the hard truth that true love doesn’t always last forever. In the same way, Marchetta might have written a story in a made-up land with curses and goddesses, but she is telling a story that exists in the conflicts in Africa, in the Middle East, and all over Europe. People lose their homes. They lose their identity. Sometimes – but thankfully, not always  – they lose their humanity.

Finnikin of the Rock actually isn’t that different from Jellicoe Road. They both do what wonderful books must always do: transport you, baffle you, ask you questions, then bring you back home again.

HAPPY MONDAY!

It’s been a while, but I’m back on the road with with YA Highway gang. Today’s question: What supporting character deserves his or her own starring role?

*crickets*

*blink blink*
I know, right? There are literally hundreds of stories I want to hear, stories that are hinted at but never told. For most highwayers, the answer lies in the pages of Harry Potter. And goodness knows there could be endless stories written about Draco, about Snape, or of course, my fave, Neville

And yes, there is always my burning desire for more Fred and George. Before.  *ahem. wipes tear.*

But…what OTHER books?

Well, although it would break my heart, Rue, from The Hunger Games. I want to know more about her district, her song, her family. And yes, I know it would just about kill me. But I was curious.

 

And…I want to know SO many of the characters in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. After all, I even want to move in next door to them.  I want to know more about Joe (Bat. Bat) and Gram. But mostly, I want to know more about Big. He’s her uncle, he hangs out in trees, he gets high a lot, he’s kind of amazing.  I want to hear about him.

 

 

 

And finally, because I just finished reading the GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series by Suzanne Collins (and if you haven’t read them OMG go go go and read them!) and there are so many there I want to know more about: Hammet, the warrior who fled his kingdom to live in danger because he swore he “would do no more harm”; Ripred, the rat whose cunning and – yes – wisdom masks such sadness; Luxa, the young queen whose arrogance, bravery, and sadness are unending…the list goes on and on.

So clearly, a note to Suzanne Collins: Start writing those spin-off books! I’m waiting!

 

 

What about you? What supporting actors do you think deserve a starring role?

 

It’s Banned Book Week again, my favorite time of the year to remember how outrageous it is that morons judge and disqualify literature they often haven’t even read.  Needless to say, this makes me nuts.

It’s easy to go nuts over this. But what do we do? What actions can we take that make a difference in the face of this?

Well, the first is simple: Read. Support authors, especially living, breathing, trying-to-make-a-living authors who are fighting book challenges. (Because while it’s ludicrous and depressing that schools keep banning THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN at least that author isn’t trying to earn out his advance).

According to the American Library Association (ALA) the most frequently banned books in 2010 were:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer*
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

The best way to support reading ALL books is to support the authors who write them. This sends a clear message to publishers and the rest of the industry that yes, there is a market for brave books. For the ten people in the world who haven’t heard yet, the economy is kind of lousy right now, and publishing is certainly taking its share of the pain. Buy books. It’s that simple.

Also, if you haven’t read Sherman Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN do so. Now.

The second suggestion I have is more complex, and it comes largely from a blog post I read by YA author Aprilynne Pike. She was writing about a kerfuffle this year when another YA author, Ellen Hopkins, was uninvited from a literary festival. Ellen Hopkins writes pretty gritty, intense books, and she was unequivocally censored when she was asked not to come to the festival. In response, and as a protest, many other authors pulled out of the festival as well. Ultimately, the festival was cancelled due to a pointed lack of authors. One would say it was an effective protest, no?

Except that, as Aprilynne points out in her blog post, the big loser here is not the literary festival. It’s the teenagers in Humble, Texas. They’re the ones who lost out on a bunch of awesome coming their way. Her blog post went on to suggest another possible course of action – a stealth, guerilla Che Guevara course of action. Bring Ellen Hopkins along! Not in person (that would be awkward to pack). But bring her books and give them away freely. Mention her in every speech. Make sure, when publicly thanking the shitweasels who banned her, to mention her name and her book titles a few times.

In this case, who loses? The pooweasels, who look like fools and who have failed to take Ellen Hopkins out of the picture! Not the authors, who get to share their words with the audience, not the kids, who manage to get cool authors to come to their parochial and close-minded town, not even Ellen Hopkins, whose books would likely be noticed more than ever. (And btw, I am in NO way blaming the authors who protested, or saying they screwed up. They took a stand for something they believe in and more power to them).

So what am I saying? Really, it’s back to my pretty simple first point. Read. Buy books. Buy banned books. If you hate them, think about why, about what upset you so. Then, go out and read some more.

Those of you who have either read or heard about SWIM, my paranormal YA book, know that I have no small obsession with the ocean. It was surprisingly and perhaps frighteningly easy to imagine myself in a world where water was strength and power, and land a lovely and mysterious danger. Makes perfect sense for a Mer.

But RAW BLUE, by Kirsty Eagar somehow manages to capture that intensity and need for the ocean that I hoped to convey. The big difference? RAW BLUE is a stark, sometimes painful, contemporary novel where the character who is so connected to the sea has no magical ability to survive there, though she does have every reason to mistrust the dangers on land.

The book takes place deep in the surf culture of Sydney, and one of Eagar’s talents is to bring to life a place that has no cultural resonance to me, a wayward American. After all, we often expect a basic level of understanding from our readers – if we set a book in Las Vegas or Paris we assume they will bring their ideas and stereotypes. But the surf culture in RAW BLUE is both unique to the place and wonderfully universal; when she describes the crows, the old guys who hang out on their boards jabbering to each other every morning, I could picture them perfectly. And her endless and varied portraits of the ocean were magnificent.

The characters are as vividly drawn as the setting. Carly, the MC, is closed and defensive, which could have been a stumbling block for readers to get to know her. But Eagar manages to do a wonderful job of showing us who Carly is slowly and deftly, from her work in the kitchen where she goes the extra mile despite it being a dead-end job, to her dispassionate noticing of her colleague who is starving herself…we get a picture of Carly loud and clear. Supporting characters like her Dutch neighbor Hannah and Danny, the young surfer who befriends her despite her resistance, are also interesting, nuanced, and likeable. And the love interest is one of the most unexpectedly swoonworthy ones I could imagine.

Even while Eagar does a wonderful job of showing us who Carly is, and what her life is like, she doesn’t reveal one of the largest mysteries. Why. Why did she drop out of University? Why is she so detached? Why does she hang onto surfing like it’s the only drug that will dull her pain? While I don’t want to spoil the plot, I will say this is an issue book, and a good one. One where the issue in question is a complex piece of a complex whole, rather than a shrill battle cry.

But really, I come back to my first point. This book is a wonderful love story between a girl and the sea.  I wish it were available here, I really do. But maybe it can be requested a libraries or bookstores. Certainly it’s worth seeking this one out.

 

ETA: Angie (referenced below), just told me about a site that ships books from Australia to the US for free. The site is www.fishpondworld.com and I will definitely be using it to order Eagar’s next book.

P.S. I owe my knowledge of this book to Angie from my supersekrit online writing bat cave, where we have secret handshakes and everything. (Okay, not handshakes, but the rest is true). Anyway, she was wonderful enough to hear me babble about SWIM and think of this book. Thanks Angie!!