I was very taken with this novel when I was in high school, and so recently obtained it to see if it was really as good as I recalled. It wasn't.

It opens with one of the most fat-phobic scenes I've ever read, which is saying a lot. The college-age heroine is on a train next to a smelly fat woman, whom, the narrative frequently reminds us, is fat. Yes, fat! Fat fat fat. She's also a sadistic, violent, paranoid, greedy cheat who enjoys watching animals die. And fat. Very fat.

A few pages in, it becomes clear that we're in a dystopian future in which 95% of the population is stoned 75% of the time (actual statistic, not a joke), religion doesn't exist, casual sex and violence abound, and everything sucks in a manner very reminiscent of hysterical magazine articles about how teenagers are going to hell in an online handbasket.

What's most interesting about the book, and what I liked so much in high school, is hugely spoilery despite being revealed fairly early on, as the reveal itself is pretty cool. What I had not recalled was a jaw-dropping scene right at the end which makes it an awesomely depressing book!

Read more... )

Some used copies are available from Amazon: Unicorns in the Rain (An Argo Book)
I was very taken with this novel when I was in high school, and so recently obtained it to see if it was really as good as I recalled. It wasn't.

It opens with one of the most fat-phobic scenes I've ever read, which is saying a lot. The college-age heroine is on a train next to a smelly fat woman, whom, the narrative frequently reminds us, is fat. Yes, fat! Fat fat fat. She's also a sadistic, violent, paranoid, greedy cheat who enjoys watching animals die. And fat. Very fat.

A few pages in, it becomes clear that we're in a dystopian future in which 95% of the population is stoned 75% of the time (actual statistic, not a joke), religion doesn't exist, casual sex and violence abound, and everything sucks in a manner very reminiscent of hysterical magazine articles about how teenagers are going to hell in an online handbasket.

What's most interesting about the book, and what I liked so much in high school, is hugely spoilery despite being revealed fairly early on, as the reveal itself is pretty cool. What I had not recalled was a jaw-dropping scene right at the end which makes it an awesomely depressing book!

Read more... )

Some used copies are available from Amazon: Unicorns in the Rain (An Argo Book)
A non-fantasy YA re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast" in modern times which attempts to stick as closely as possible to the original fairytale (with one very significant exception) while making it seem plausible in context. Intriguing idea, so-so execution.

Teenage Izzy has never experienced sexual feelings, unlike what seems like her entire school, and feels like a freak. It only gets worse when the hot guy one of her friends is in love with starts hitting on her. But then her father (under understandable circumstances) picks a rose from a bush growing on the grounds of a flower shop, accidentally damaging it.

The owner suddenly appears. He has been hideously burned and has no nose. Also no lips. He demands that in repayment for the ruined rose bush, he get... Izzy's services as a highly paid part-time flower arranger. Since Izzy needs a job anyway, she agrees. For the rest of the book, she is torn between the hideously burned Leo (who also has hideously burned clawlike hands) and Roger, the hot guy from school.

The main way that this diverges from most retellings of this fairytale is that the Beast is not animalistic in a disturbingly sexy way, but a forty-something man with no nose. This makes Roger a genuine rival, because not only is noselessness not sexy, but in a realistic setting the age difference is much more of a barrier. Cohen makes it less skanky than it could be by having Leo request a kiss rather than marriage, but still.

Read more... )
A non-fantasy YA re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast" in modern times which attempts to stick as closely as possible to the original fairytale (with one very significant exception) while making it seem plausible in context. Intriguing idea, so-so execution.

Teenage Izzy has never experienced sexual feelings, unlike what seems like her entire school, and feels like a freak. It only gets worse when the hot guy one of her friends is in love with starts hitting on her. But then her father (under understandable circumstances) picks a rose from a bush growing on the grounds of a flower shop, accidentally damaging it.

The owner suddenly appears. He has been hideously burned and has no nose. Also no lips. He demands that in repayment for the ruined rose bush, he get... Izzy's services as a highly paid part-time flower arranger. Since Izzy needs a job anyway, she agrees. For the rest of the book, she is torn between the hideously burned Leo (who also has hideously burned clawlike hands) and Roger, the hot guy from school.

The main way that this diverges from most retellings of this fairytale is that the Beast is not animalistic in a disturbingly sexy way, but a forty-something man with no nose. This makes Roger a genuine rival, because not only is noselessness not sexy, but in a realistic setting the age difference is much more of a barrier. Cohen makes it less skanky than it could be by having Leo request a kiss rather than marriage, but still.

Read more... )
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