Mely jumped off the bridge, so I will too. Since I despair of ever having time to write up everything individually, I have given brief reviews to the whole month below.

If anything's missing an author, it is because I am too lazy to look them up. If there's no comment, I already reviewed it here.

Three books got the comment wow, terrible! Guess it was a bad month for fiction. )
Mely jumped off the bridge, so I will too. Since I despair of ever having time to write up everything individually, I have given brief reviews to the whole month below.

If anything's missing an author, it is because I am too lazy to look them up. If there's no comment, I already reviewed it here.

Three books got the comment wow, terrible! Guess it was a bad month for fiction. )
The House of Arden (New York Review Children's Collection), by E. Nesbit. Now that I've read this, its sequel, Harding's Luck, is probably the only E. Nesbit book I haven't read. Two kids, Edred and his older and rather wiser sister Elfrida, inherit a decrepit castle and its guardian Mouldiwarp, a talking white mole who commands all white things, like daisies and doves, and can send the kids back in time to try to find the hidden treasure with which they can rebuild the castle and fix the tumbledown homes of the people living on its lands. (Nesbit was a Fabian socialist, and liked to sneak in messages about social justice and helping out poor people into her books.) The book is charming, frequently funny (if Edred and Elfrida squabble, they can't travel in time for the next three days, and their enforced attempts to get along are quite amusing), and the Mouldiwarp's method of time travel produces some gorgeous images, such as when daisies begin marching in formation to create a clock face upon the grass.

Witch, by Barbara Michaels. A woman buys a house in the woods near a teeny tiny and very rural Southern town, and soon finds that not only do the locals believe it's haunted by the ghost of a Spanish witch, but they soon think she's a witch too. Bring out the torches and pitchforks! A fun suspense novel with twists that I found fairly predictable, but are enjoyable nevertheless. Southern readers may be annoyed at her portrayal of the town as borderline-medieval, but since I lived in a rural town with a similar mindset that happened to be in India, I took it more as a commentary on insular rural towns in general than at the south in particular.

Straydog, by Kathe Koja. Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink's shelves-- she has a nice review of it in her memories that made me pick it up. A slim YA novel about a teenage girl who works at an animal shelter and becomes obsessed with a feral collie, whom she names Grrrl, becomes determined to save from euthanasia, and identifies with more than is healthy. With that premise, you just know it won't work out well. It's very well-written, and it made me cry in Starbucks. So far I've liked all three of Koja's YA novels (Buddha Boy and Blue Mirror) even though they're all pretty similar: intense, bordering on stream of consciousness first person narratives about teenage artists who have an encounter with someone who teaches them about trust or love or art and changes their life for the better, but in the very YA-happy ending mode where the protagonists never win the contest or save the dog or get the guy or whatever it was that they wanted initially-- and yet in the midst of their miserable life with their alcoholic mother or whatever, there is that little ray of inner hope that says they will survive.

The Growing Season, by Noel Streatfield. Four English kids go to stay with their eccentric Irish Great-Aunt Dymphna when their parents are unexpectedly called away on an emergency. Aunt Dymphna recites poetry in response to all questions and expects the kids to totally fend for themselves. The oldest girl, Penny, who is twelve, gets stuck doing all the cooking and cleaning while the oldest boy, who is thirteen, wanders around with the youngest two buying food and trying to catch shrimp. Toward the very end Aunt Dymphna suggests that Penny didn't have to take on all the work herself, but too little, too late. Aunt Dymphna annoyed the hell out of me, and so did every other adult in the book. The kids had never had to take care of themselves before, and all any adult did was give them vague suggestions, then criticize them for doing things wrong and complaining about not being taken care of. They're kids! They're used to being taken care of! Usually I like the genre of kids learning new skills in a new environment, but this one rubbed me the wrong way by being too realistic about how hard it would be, but by then seeming to take the adults' side and claiming it was actually a great learning experience.
The House of Arden, by E. Nesbit. Now that I've read this, its sequel, Harding's Luck, is probably the only E. Nesbit book I haven't read. Two kids, Edred and his older and rather wiser sister Elfrida, inherit a decrepit castle and its guardian Mouldiwarp, a talking white mole who commands all white things, like daisies and doves, and can send the kids back in time to try to find the hidden treasure with which they can rebuild the castle and fix the tumbledown homes of the people living on its lands. (Nesbit was a Fabian socialist, and liked to sneak in messages about social justice and helping out poor people into her books.) The book is charming, frequently funny (if Edred and Elfrida squabble, they can't travel in time for the next three days, and their enforced attempts to get along are quite amusing), and the Mouldiwarp's method of time travel produces some gorgeous images, such as when daisies begin marching in formation to create a clock face upon the grass.

Witch, by Barbara Michaels. A woman buys a house in the woods near a teeny tiny and very rural Southern town, and soon finds that not only do the locals believe it's haunted by the ghost of a Spanish witch, but they soon think she's a witch too. Bring out the torches and pitchforks! A fun suspense novel with twists that I found fairly predictable, but are enjoyable nevertheless. Southern readers may be annoyed at her portrayal of the town as borderline-medieval, but since I lived in a rural town with a similar mindset that happened to be in India, I took it more as a commentary on insular rural towns in general than at the south in particular.

Straydog, by Kathe Koja. Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink's shelves-- she has a nice review of it in her memories that made me pick it up. A slim YA novel about a teenage girl who works at an animal shelter and becomes obsessed with a feral collie, whom she names Grrrl, becomes determined to save from euthanasia, and identifies with more than is healthy. With that premise, you just know it won't work out well. It's very well-written, and it made me cry in Starbucks. So far I've liked all three of Koja's YA novels (Buddha Boy and Blue Mirror) even though they're all pretty similar: intense, bordering on stream of consciousness first person narratives about teenage artists who have an encounter with someone who teaches them about trust or love or art and changes their life for the better, but in the very YA-happy ending mode where the protagonists never win the contest or save the dog or get the guy or whatever it was that they wanted initially-- and yet in the midst of their miserable life with their alcoholic mother or whatever, there is that little ray of inner hope that says they will survive.

The Growing Season, by Noel Streatfield. Four English kids go to stay with their eccentric Irish Great-Aunt Dymphna when their parents are unexpectedly called away on an emergency. Aunt Dymphna recites poetry in response to all questions and expects the kids to totally fend for themselves. The oldest girl, Penny, who is twelve, gets stuck doing all the cooking and cleaning while the oldest boy, who is thirteen, wanders around with the youngest two buying food and trying to catch shrimp. Toward the very end Aunt Dymphna suggests that Penny didn't have to take on all the work herself, but too little, too late. Aunt Dymphna annoyed the hell out of me, and so did every other adult in the book. The kids had never had to take care of themselves before, and all any adult did was give them vague suggestions, then criticize them for doing things wrong and complaining about not being taken care of. They're kids! They're used to being taken care of! Usually I like the genre of kids learning new skills in a new environment, but this one rubbed me the wrong way by being too realistic about how hard it would be, but by then seeming to take the adults' side and claiming it was actually a great learning experience.
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