Thursday, February 13, 2014

What we're reading: Revisiting favorites

Anarda and I are going book-talking at Burroughs High School this week in five English classes. We were supposed to go last week, but I got sick and lost my voice, so we postponed. Being at home sick for five days with not much energy for anything but reading gave me the chance, however, to refresh my memory by revisiting some favorites I plan to talk about.

Two paranormals, both of which I loved the first time, held up well on second read:

Fang Girl, by Helen Keeble

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride

These two books, in fact, reminded me of one another when I first read them. Fang Girl is middle school-appropriate, while Necromancer is definitely for the high school crowd (and up!), but they both have a lot of tongue-in-cheek, slightly snarky humor that makes them so much fun to read. These are not your typical vampire-werewolf-miscellaneous-otherworldly-creature teen novels. There are definitely love interests, but nobody sits around sighing and pining for each other, they're too busy trying not to die! There's also a lot of personal discovery, though not what you'd find in a Sarah Dessen novel.

In Fang Girl, Xanthe Jane Greene, prolific post-er on and expert on all things vampire, figures out her fate pretty quickly when she awakens inside a coffin. Although she thinks she knows what to expect, she didn't exactly count on becoming a vamp, nor is she pleased that she's going to be an eternally pasty-faced 15 years old forever. When her sire gets interrupted in the middle of digging her out of her grave, Jane decides her best bet is to return home to her grieving and now very surprised family, but she doesn't count on being the immediate subject of a tug-of-war between a hot vamp in leather pants, an equally handsome but homicidal vampire slayer, and a couple of seriously cheesed-off Elders. An action-packed and very funny story! (She left enough open that a sequel could be forthcoming, but no sign of one yet...)

The protagonist of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is Samhain Corvus LeCroix (please call me Sam), and in one heedless moment (while playing potato hockey in the parking lot behind Plumpy's, he takes out a tail-light on a Mercedes) he goes from aimless teenage fry-cook to necromancer. That's right, he can raise the dead. There's a long story about why he never knew this before, but no time for that, because a rival necromancer (owner of the aforementioned vintage classic Mercedes, unfortunately) wants his power and his life, and is willing to do anything (and his anything is pretty nefarious) to get it. But despite presenting a bumbling and clueless appearance, Sam has a few tricks up his sleeve, a lot of motivated friends, and some supernatural allies, too, so don't count him out yet.

The sequel, every bit as delightful, is Necromancing the Stone. (Yes, Lish McBride is fond of the wordplay.)

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