This time of year

Last night my beloved jayhawks went down.  Normally when this happens I rewatch a season of Buffy so that I can avoid any mention of it – like a commercial for the final four or something.  But this year – well, I am pretty sure they overachieved, and it wasn’t a horrible loss.  I had no expectations.  So I am not so inclined to binge on Buffy.  But then again a good Buffy watching is never a bad thing.

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Something, Maybe

Sometimes you want something familiar.  With one brutal exception (an amazing book but brutal) Elizabeth Scott delivers on the familiar.

In Something, Maybe familiar is what you get.  And I don’t necessarily think that is bad in case anyone thinks I do.

First there is the great opening line: Everyone’s seen my mother naked.

It turns out not completely naked but you know, naked enough.  And of course having the Internet version of Hugh Hefner, with his own reality show doesn’t help so Hannah handles it by hiding.  I’ve worked long and hard to be invisible at Slaterville High, an anonymous student in the almost 2,000 that attend, and I want it to stay that way.

But that isnt always easy (especially when ratings start slipping), and she doesn’t want to be so invisible that Josh doesn’t see her.  And Finn sees her but he is kind of annoying (to Hannah at least who is predictably blind to what is really going on there, man! he blushes a lot – shouldn’t that give it away?).

You know the Sarah Dessen fans will love this genre of Elizabeth Scott – of course God help anyone who thinks that is what they are getting with Living Dead Girl.  Finn is a Wes, Owen, Dex, even Marcus Flutie literay crush guy.  So much better than dead sparkley stalker types (Hey, I think I want a tshirt that says Own Armstrong – so much better than dead sparley stalker types).  Josh is well, obvious and predictable.  The parents are flawed, but Mom comes through.

Comfort food.

so I kinda hate

the Giving Tree which is why Landry’s speech to Tyra was so freakin’ awesome.

Sorry couldn’t find a clip so it is full episode.

The Luxe

I just added a browse inside widget of this book.  I read it in Febuary while I was in Yelapa.  I didn’t like it enough to continue with the series but I did go to Borders and read the endings of the two that came out just to sort of know the endings.

Perpetual Check

Anyone familiar with Rich Wallace will find familiar themes in this book – competition, big fish in a little pond, parental conflict.  Wallace manages to make chess a contact sport, particularly because of the “little league parent” father.

Zeke and Randy hail from Sturbridge, a small Pennsylvania town Wallace sets his stories in.  They are chess players, good enough to make the regional tournament.  But that is where the similarities end.  Zeke’s father has raised him as if he is something special, an elite athlete.  Zeke knows better but it takes much of the book to admit that to himself. The description of his father’s athletic career is telling.

They never hear the end of how Mr. Mansfield was a year-round athlete back in high school, playing on the kick off and punt teams in football, getting some decent time on the JV basketball squad before being cut as a senior, and earning a letter in baseball despite spending most of the season recording stats from the bench (p.38)
Mr. Mansfield needs to relive his athletics and victories through his kids because HE NEVER HAD ANY.   Also interesting how it is always Mr. Mansfield – as if he has no first name.

Randy has given up sports, even he admits he is a little soft, but it in his eyes it isn’t quite the sin his father and brother think it is.

Zeke and Randy do not get along, they don’t like each other, and as the dual narration illustrates they do not understand each other.  Their true feelings and motivations go undiscovered as they try to survive their father’s pressure.

There is no major event that the plot swings on, it is more a character study.  Zeke isn’t a particularly likable character, he takes advantage of his brother and treats him poorly.  But he is hiding more than Randy, making him a more complex character.  In some ways the father is nothing more than a stereotypical “stage parent” but it isn’t too distracting as his role is to allow the boys to develop.

Not my favorite, but it was ok.

Friday Night Lights

How long has Riggins been in school? What is he – like a 6th year senior? and how come he gets to keep missing practice? FNL gets a lot right but those questions keep bugging me…

Wintergirls

I knew from Speak and Catalyst that Laurie Halse Anderson is the queen of the extended metaphor.  They weave through her books from beginning to end.  English teachers love it, I’m starting to find it annoying.  Maybe because I can’t stop the English teacher in the back of my mind.

In Wintergirls the title itself is part of the metaphor – the deadness of winter, the starving body, the lead in to the blooming of spring.  But there is also the vines that twine around her body anchoring Lia, the spider that spins its web.  Another anchoring to earth, her bed, her life.  But also a trap, catching Lia in her habits, her silences.

And then there is the green glass born in a volcano – green = spring = future = hope.

Lia is an anorexic, supposedly recovering but she isn’t.  And her friend, the bulemic, the one she shared everything with until Lia’s 2nd stay in rehab has died.  Alone.  After calling Lia 33 times.  Cassie is Lia’s ghost.  But Lia herself is a ghost.  And seriously what is up with Elijiah – I never quite figured that out, and I have BIG problems with his ending.  At first I thought it was inconsistent, but upon reflection – no it wasn’t.  He treats both Cassie and Lia the same.  Disposable.  Which is they’re problem – they are disposable, like accessories.  But they aren’t, they just haven’t figured that out.

I liked Twisted better, but I recognize this was better written.  The language, the way the text was written – words flowing into each other, the strong imagry, reminded me of Francesca Lia Block.