I’ve been in the Big City for a couple of weeks and one of the first things I did was visit the library. I exceeded my as-many-as-you-can-get-in-ONE-bag limit and checked out twenty-two books: wire, clay, and embroidery craft books, wild cat books, and a handful of YA novels.
Okay, I didn’t actually read twenty-two books, not cover-to-cover, but I did look at them all and read bits from them all. I read five cover-to-cover.
I really enjoyed the two Cecil Castellucci novels, Boy Proof and The Queen of Cool.I read Cecil’s graphic novel, The Plain Janes,several years ago and have looked forward to more of her work ever since.
I like the themes and characters of all three of these books. The themes are things like finding yourself, being yourself, and expressing yourself—some of my personal favorites. The characters are strong, sometimes quirky (believable, not outrageous), wonderfully creative (yay!) girls. The issues and struggles they face are everyday, real things that I think most girls experience and have to deal with. There’s no extreme problem or uber-drama that steals or carries the show.
I especially like how Libby in The Queen of Cool acknowledges her dissatisfaction with life and comes to realize that she’s bored. She’s following the script of “cool girl,” and finds it dull and empty. I think that’s a great and important message to convey to teens; I think a lot of kids feel it but don’t know what to do about it.
Something else I especially like is Cecil’s storytelling style. In both novels, the sentences and paragraphs are short and lean. We hop from sentence to sentence and scene to scene at a snappy pace. There are no long descriptive passages or lengthy internal reflections. It felt like reading an expanded movie storyboard, not that I have a lot of experience (or any) doing that.
But don’t think the books were short on description, reflection, or story. They weren’t. Those things were just thoughtfully crafted and concise. The style and pace make for quick reads.
Very enjoyable books. I look forward to reading more of Cecil Castellucci’s stuff.