Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Unwritten Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld

I'm so close to finishing this series.  And I'm so close to giving up.

Looking back at my ratings on Goodreads, I enjoyed this series through volume 6, which is when (I think) the major villain storyarc was resolved(ish). And then it went into this whole "I killed Leviathan, which was a giant whale full of stories ... or something ... I mean, it's like Hobbes ... and, aw, chuck it, man." place and I have no idea what's happening.  When Carey was poking gentle fun at Harry Potter and rabid literature fans and so forth, this series was fun.


So here we are in volume 8.  Lizzie, Tommy's loooooove, has died.  For some reason in volume 7 (this was a relatively long time ago so my apologies for the vagaries), Tommy went to Australia where he started working with some officers from the Brisbane PD.  One of the officers discovers that Lizzie is "alive" in Hell, so Tommy, of course, charges off to save her.  Tom, sorry.  Whatever.  The officer tells an "Aboriginal story" (groan) and gets Tommy into storyland, where he renunites with Baron von Munchhausen.  BvM, natürlich, knows how to get to Hell, so he and Tommy and Tommy's magical prophesying unicorn (I seriously remember nothing about this) fly off.  The unicorn is actually an interesting character, and we all know what happens to interesting characters in comics.  Yes.  Then Elizabeth Bennet, Emma, and one of the Dashwoods make a delicious stew in between selling tumbles in the hay in a refugee camp for fictional characters.


While Tom wanders around Hades with two kiddos (at this point I was just like la la la la la), the DI and Savoy, our resident brooding vampire, investigate a series of brutal killings that correspond exactly to the feverish scribblings of a young boy.  Surprisingly, neither of them really figures out what is going on, despite having been hanging around Tommy for what feels like ages.  Words affect the world, people.  That's the whole point of this series and you're stumbling around like, "Hm, messy murder, that.  Wonder how the kid did it?"  Thankfully, Rausch (who is this extremely elderly woman living in a convent in Switzerland and I kind of forget what she has to do with anything but la-dee-dah) manages to contact the boy and suck out his power and use it for herself.  *cue evil laughter*

As it turns out, the king of the Underworld is not Lord Hades, or even Satan, or whomever, but an extremely odd anthropomorphic rabbit with a serious anger management issue.  Thankfully, Tommy and Lizzie are united (yay!) but the world of stories is breaking down because of Leviathan's death (boo!).  BUT THANKFULLY, there are like ... more Leviathans, or something?  So yay?  But Tommy and Lizzie have to roleplay Orpheus and Eurydice, and we all know how that went (boo!).  So Tommy "tricks" the storyline and ends up ... with our favorite witches, Ozma and Totenkinder.

I have a feeling this entire storyline was a way to initiate the Fables crossover, and it wasn't very effective.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I'm Reading Wednesday

This really should be more of a "What I Finished on Vacation" post, but those shall come in time.

Again, my deepest apologies to The Burning Sky and The Scorpion Rules, but those are in physical format and I was traveling on a serious budget, i.e. I'm not paying to check a bag just so I can have more books.  I went off on vacation with just a backpack.  So it was just me and the iPad.

I did start This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee, which already involves grave robbing and clockwork, so I have decent hopes.  Please don't dash them with a love triangle.  Please please please please.


However, that got pushed to the side by The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett.  I'm not sure what it is about this book that fascinates me.  Is it the dual-Earth setting?  The sleeper agents?  How I felt utterly helpless when I was dumped into this world but Everett is slowly revealing history and strategy, bit by bit?  It's being compared to Never Let Me Go (um, kind of?  But not really.  There are some really big differences between the two) and Orphan Black (which I haven't seen but have on hold at the library).  I also like how Lira, the protagonist, is pretty darn amoral because that's what you have to be to survive.  She's not likable--hooray!


If I can get things together, you will see reviews coming up for:

Championship B'Tok by Edward Lerner
The Dogs by Allan Stratton
Dumplin by Julie Murphy (PRE-ORDER THIS ONE NOW BTW!)
The Unwritten: Orpheus in the Underworld by Mike Carey

and other stuff that I finished but already forgot I finished.  Welcome to my life.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lawd I was born a ramblin' woo-man

So evidently now we're not supposed to use the word "woman."  Who is this we? I am fine being a woman, girl, lady, female... whatever. 

But this is not about that. Just thought I'd toss that out there in case it was causing anguish. 

I am rambling again, with my phone and iPad for company, so long blog posts are hard for me to tap out. I'm not sick or anything, but I'm super busy stressed nervous maybe a little excited. 

And I finished Dumplin. ❤️


Friday, April 24, 2015

C2E2!

No posts this weekend (unless I feel like tapping it out on my iPad, which is irritating, because SLOW) because I'll be at C2E2 in Chicago!

Check my Twitter feed for updates: @PamelaJean0


Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming

Looking at all of the early reviews for this one, I again feel as though Ive missed something crucial.  Or perhaps it's just that I'm approaching this from a more critical standpoint.  When I start a comic, unless it's Batgirl or Daredevil or American Vampire or Chew (okay, weird cross-section, but whatever), I'm starting at zero.  I expect to not love it (huzzah for split infinitives!).  If the comic grows on me, it grows.  If not, we hover around zero.


I hadn't heard anything at all about Birthright before requesting it on Netgalley, but the overall numbers on Goodreads looked pretty decent.  And I suppose that this comic is ... pretty decent, but in a world increasingly filled with fabulous comics, that just doesn't cut it for me.  I didn't find it to be particularly original, as many other reviewers did.

The plot is pretty basic: it's Mikey's birthday, and while Mom puts the finishing touches on the birthday party, Dad (Aaron) and Mikey go play a game of catch in a park near the woods.  Mikey runs off to retrieve a ball that went into the Deep, Dark Woods, and never comes out again.  This destroys the family, especially when the police quasi-accuse Aaron of killing Mikey.  Mom seems a bit too eager to believe this, while Brennan, Mikey's older brother, still hopes against hope that he'll come home.  But by now, it's not likely that the police will find anything.  Except for the day they do.

When the family arrives, they find, not a little boy, but a giant of a man who resembles Conan the Barbarian.  DNA, fingerprints ... all confirm that this is Mikey.  He tells a story of walking into a parallel fantasy world where he is the Chosen One to fulfill a prophecy.  He must overthrown the evil ruler of this world, and for a time, his protectors are the Gideons, sort of winged fairy-angels.  Only they do a rather poor job of protecting him.

So if he's this Chosen One, why did Mikey return?  He claims that five powerful sorcerers, servants of the Evil One he vanquished, have escaped to Earth and plan to destroy it.  Of course, he's the only one who can stop them.


Oh really, Mikey?  Then who's that red blob guy on your shoulder, reminding you of your corruption?

The rest of the volume deals with Mikey's escape from police custody and how he ingratiates himself into the good graces of Brennan, taking him on as a sort of sidekick.

I'm rather confused as to why this is regarded as original.  To me, it read like Star Wars meets Narnia.  There's the magical world aspect, and then the whole Chosen One becomes corrupted in order to save his family *cough Anakin Skywalker cough cough*.  He's taken in by the Jedi/Gideons to train to save the world from the Emperor/God King Lore but then becomes tempted by the Dark Side in order to return to his family.  


I'm not tempted to pick up another volume of this, but I am about to start another of Williamson's comics--Ghosted.  We'll see how that goes!

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope (incomplete copy/review)

Netgalley, Netgalley.  I thought you'd learned the lesson when there was a collective freakout when your ARC of Jodi Meadows' The Orphan Queen only turned out to be the first chapter.  I think enough readers wrote angry reviews that it was quickly relabeled "sneak peek" or something to that effect, right in the title area.  Yay for transparency!

So when I requested Rick Remender's Low, I saw that it said Vol. 1 and that was it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it has since been altered to say "Part 2" and "partial copy" once you click though to a longer synopsis.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What I'm Reading Wednesday

So in addition to The Burning Sky and now The Scorpion Rules (I'll have to do some sort of penance for allow such awesome books to languish), today I am reading:

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy.  My book friends were super-excited about this one and now I see why!  Murphy's protagonist is so unflinchingly awesome that I almost can't deal with it.  Also: Dolly Parton.

The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases.  I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon this one--perhaps it was noticing that Jeff VanderMeer was an editor--but it's a bizarre collection of faux-diseases as imagined by some of the best names in speculative fiction.  It's wonderfully weird.  This isn't the kind of book I expect to OMGLOVE, but to be amused by and from which to extract the occasional chuckle.


Finally, Jackaby by William Ritter.  Okay, who let me put off reading this for so long?  And why did I think the narrator was a boy?  Anyway, it doesn't matter, because this has been pitched as Doctor Who meets Sherlock and Ritter is totally rocking it.




And Then There Were ... The Six

The concept of human consciousness being transferred to a robotic body isn't exactly a new trope in science fiction.  In the YA novel The Six by Mark Alpert, the neurological patterns of six teens are copied and then uploaded to robotic bodies called Pioneers.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Leaving Megalopolis

I follow Gail Simone on Twitter and I think she's really funny.  I also loved her run on Batgirl (let's just not argue about giving Babs the use of her legs back, okay?  This review is not long enough for that) and her reboot of Red Sonja.  I am on a possibly insane quest to read as much of her work as I can.  As with any author, I'm not going to love all of it.  I might adore it, or like it, or eh-it, or kind of loathe it.  But that's the work, not the author.


Leaving Megalopolis is fun, but I didn't love it as much as Batgirl.  That being said, I enjoyed it very much, and by the end, I was really torqued up for SEQUELS.  But there are none yet!  Dying!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Ramblings

Yesterday, I brought four books back to the library.  I left the library with seven new books.  This is some sort of infernal, Sisyphean mathematical formula that applies to libraries.

Can this formula work on my bank account too?  Like, the more I spend, the more money is magically deposited in my account?

Black Widow Vol. 1: The Finely Woven zzzzz SORRY Thread

Did I miss something?  I must have missed something.  Right?  Right???

The majority of readers are skipping about, going "Oh my Avengers!  This is AMAAAAZING!  I LOOOOOVE it!  Yay Black Widow comic!"


Well, okay, I agree with the last part.  The one good thing I can say about this book is that I didn't once say to myself, "Dang, someone got a little too enthusiastic when drawing Black Widow's figure."  She looks, of course, superhumanly fit, but it's not like her breasts have enough buoyancy to double as life preservers.  Natasha has this kind of angle-y muscle-y thing going on, which is a style you often see in comics featuring male superheroes.  I liked that.

Unfortunately, that was all I liked.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

TombQuest: Book of the Dead

As a newbie to children's library work, I was flung into the madness that was The 39 Clues.  I read the first series and actually really enjoyed it, but I always cringe when a kid asks for one because a) they're written by different authors and b) there are approximately eleventy-billion series going on at the same time.  Since then, I've tended to avoid multi-platform series, although Spirit Animals seems tempting.

However, all these authors that I follow on Twitter were tweeting pics at a Scholastic event for Children's Book Week and I saw the author of this book, Michael Northrup, hamming it up in a silly faux-pharaonic hat.  That is awesome.  I decided I needed to read TombQuest: Book of the Dead.  Also, it doesn't hurt that I really like ancient Egypt.



Friday, April 17, 2015

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

A master copy editor for The New Yorker manages to fill over two hundred pages with nothing of substance. This is a dizzy, unfocused tome that bounces between stories about packing mozzarella to gendered pronouns and how the author really wanted to be a cabbie. 

Although I am rather a grammar stickler, and abused apostrophes make me cry out in agony, I'm also an aborted linguistics minor (major in French). My linguistics professor subscribed to descriptive (not prescriptive) linguistics, i.e. the way you speak is the way you speak, and that's just fine. If you prefer to use the neuter pronoun "one," you may do so. "The way one speaks is the way one speaks." If not, then don't. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to speak a certain way. Well, I certainly hope not. 

However, the real kicker is that the prose is dreadfully boring and uninspired. It's clear that Norris thinks that certain things are funny, but she might be the only one. Best avoided. If you want an actually fun book about grammar, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves gets my vote.

I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some Danger Involved

So far, my friend and coworker Shannon is 2/2 on her book recommendations for me.  We were chatting about finding a good historical mystery, and she told me to check out Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas.  As if I don't have enough books on my TBR list already (holding steady at 980 last count), I grabbed it off of the shelf and checked it out.

This is one of those books that I dragged out reading because I didn't want it to end.  When it ended, I'd have to go to the library to get the next one in the series.  Not that that's at all difficult, since I work there, but still.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I've got a few reviews to catch up on.  I think all my typing yesterday for #tothegirls aggravated my tendonitis again (argh).  But it was totally worth it.

Still working on The Burning Sky.  I'm not actively neglecting this, but I keep it in my work bag and, to put it mildly, work has been astronomically wild lately.  So.

Other books I'm reading:

Tombquest: Rise of the Dead by Michael Northrop.  It's the same format as The 39 Clues and Scholastic's other win-a-prize books, but I was mostly drawn to this one because of the author's willingness to don a pharaonic headdress at a Scholastic book event (Children's Book Week event, I think?).  I said, "Dang, I'd hang out with that author."  So of course I grabbed Tombquest.

Exhibit A for Awesome
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow.  I'm only a few chapters into this and I'm already hooked.  *prays* Please no love triangle.


Gotham Academy Vol. 1 by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschel.  I literally just read a few pages of this before bed last night, but we'll see how it goes.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#ToTheGirls

I was going to apologize for not having time to put all of my ideas for Courtney Summers' #ToTheGirls campaign in action.  And then I realized that that is antithetical to what I actually believe.

I will not apologize.  I've been busy with work, which I rock, and blogging, which I love, and reading, which makes me a better person.  I am a girl who was a nerd in school, who thought that she'd never find a place, and here I am, on my own, rocking librarianship and trying to rock at life (still working on that last one).  AND THAT'S OKAY!

My high school English teacher would have probably shot me (no, really, she went to Africa and shot wild game and mounted it on her walls) for all of my sentences here starting with "I."  But I'd go back to her now and say,"My opinion is important.  So I start with me."

I've always been one for books and learning and knowledge and sitting around thinking about ... stuff ... than putting on a gym outfit and running around the track.  Or swimming in one of the communal bathing suits (yes, this was a thing).  I used to think that this made me unattractive.  That it's why I got "fat" in high school.  That it's why I'd never get married and no one would love me ever.

I've also needed control.  I'm not ashamed at all to talk about mental illness.  I have depression, BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).  The last two, I think, were triggered by the lack of control I felt when I went to college.  In high school, I had a schedule.  I had a goal: get into a college so I could study French.  And then when you get to college it's like being tossed into a great glob of Jell-O.  Every step you take is uncertain.  You might get a professor who's more interested in the experiment running in the lab next door than in actually instruction students.  You might get a substitute professor who, as a white woman, thought that she was Native American and swanned around the room in turquoise jewelry and accused everyone in the class of "killing Native Americans."  I couldn't control it: I had to do it to graduate.

Plus, I had just come off of my senior year of high school, which was, actually, pretty great.  I had been a tetch overweight since I hit puberty, probably due to my habit of eating sour candy and having a bagel with nacho cheese for lunch every day.  Hey, it was better tasting than the salad bar, which looked like it had washed up on the lake shore last week.  But I worked out and paid attention to my hunger and got strong.  At Senior Banquet, one of the girls I admired but was too shy to actually try to be friends with told me I had a bangin' bod--why did I hide under big clothing?  That made me pause: not the compliment so much, but the question.  Why was I hiding?

That night, I received the Senior Dumb Award for Madame Curie, and I couldn't have been happier.  I gave one of the commencement speeches and I spoke from my heart.  I gave no platitudes or empty promises.  I was flying high.  My high school crush gave me a hug and we cried because we did it.  We survived public education.  (NB: High school crushes might turn out to be SWOLE dudebros.  Dodged a bullet).

And there I was, seventeen years old and in college and I felt like I needed to control something.  So I started monitoring my weight.  I was convinced that I would gain weight by being a commuter student and then I would be even more unattractive and then people would be disgusted by me and I'd never have a boyfriend and the world WOULD END.  I truly believed this.

So I started restricting my food intake.  I still felt squishy and lumpy next to other girls I saw.  So I started throwing up what I ate.  I'd have a latte at the coffee shop and then throw it up and then go to modern dance and dance for an hour and a half.  I knew this wasn't normal or healthy but I didn't care because I so loathed my body.  I didn't notice that it was doing awesome things in dance class, things that got me invited to join a company.  All I saw were flaws.  And they weren't really flaws: they were things that society told me were "bad" and could be "fixed" so I could have a bikini ready body in six weeks!

My parents intervened and explained that I was hurting myself very badly.  I wouldn't be able to study and teach in France if I didn't work on my destructive behavior.*  Strangely, once I got to France and ate bread and butter and cheese and duck fat and drank wine all the time, I felt better than ever.  I felt free.  These things were normal and celebrated.

Slowly, I've been working through how my mind "works" (that would be works in a wonky and messed-up way, but it still works!).  I can now identify my irrational thoughts and be stronger than them.  Or at least try.  I don't always win.  In fact, I lose a lot.  But when I win, oh, how sweet it is.

I don't want anyone to feel the way I did, and still do, sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) about my body.  Your self-worth is not your weight.  Your value as a human being is not your BMI (which is, as Gail Simone would say, "fakey" and meant for insurance premiums anyway.  We all hate insurance premiums almost as much as taxes, so feel free to hate on BMI too!).  Whatever happens to you, you deserve the best.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  All body shapes are wonderful and normal and beautiful.  I love all of my friends of all sizes and shapes because they support me, they make me laugh, and they are good people.  

So, all of this backstory means what, in sum (if you made it through the wall of text)?

It means:

Own your brain.  Your mind is strong and wonderful and unique.

Your body is yours.  It does not belong to society or those people in the locker room or the scale.  It is YOURS.

You make decisions about your sexuality.  They are YOURS to make.

If you feel you have flaws, acknowledge your feelings.  Then step back and find all of the awesome things about yourself.

Don't be afraid to be kind.

Don't be afraid to speak up and shout and make your voice heard.  The two are not mutually exclusive.

Being smart is not a curse or a punchline.  It is AWESOME.

If you need help, it is not weakness to seek help.  It shows your strength.

Never, ever, ever, ever forget that people love you.  Maybe you've never met them.  Maybe they are shy.  But they love you and care about you.

#ToTheGirls: Be.  Fight.  Thrive.

*If you have issues with body image or an eating disorder, please seek medical help.  This is not shameful or weak.  If it helps at all, Laurie Halse Anderson's wonderful Wintergirls probably helped save my life.

Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Surge

Harley Quinn is BACK, peaches, and holy macarolli!  Puddin', you're gonna love this.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

I am hugely biased going into this book, but not in the way you might think.

As a child, I was strangely obsessed by D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire.  I read it compulsively.  I checked it out so many times from the library that my parents, tired of driving back and forth, bought it for me as a present.  I'm not sure what exactly about this particular collection of myths fascinated me so much.  The D'Aulaires told the stories in a rather simple way, giving them dignity even when the gods were doing silly things like turning into turtledoves or fighting over golden apples (not even edible!  Come on, ladies!).  We're not meant to like these Greek gods, but the D'Aulaires told these myths as the Greeks might have, with a mixture of reverence and humor.  Plus, all of the illustrations were hand-drawn lithographs that were simply gorgeous.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Year of the Griffin

While not as riotously, gleefully parodic as the first in the series, Dark Lord of Derkholm (which I don't think I really properly reviewed, but bottom line: go read it), the sequel, Year of the Griffin simply oozes charm and wit and fun all over the page and onto the reader.  It's delightful.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hi, I'm currently in the process of losing it, so ...

no WIRW this week.  I'm only reading one book anyway.  It's still The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas.  I'm loving it.  I think it needs to be a movie.  And I never say that.


Lock & Mori: Holmes that will make you facepalm (a very brief review)

I honestly don't understand all of the fangirling love this is getting over on GR.  Then again, we're months from the release date, and I've got a pretty small sample size of reviews.

And admittedly, I didn't read the entire book.  I read the beginning and skimmed the ending, which made me cringe.  So much cringing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Empire of Zzzzz ... *nods off* HEY! I mean SIN!

I've been completely and utterly spoiled by Erik Larson when it comes to narrative nonfiction.  Well, and then there's Steve Sheinkin, who does the same thing for kids and teen nonfiction.  For some odd reason, the only nonfiction I really enjoy reading is about crime, but it has to be historical crime.  Or some sort of disaster.  But yes: morbid, I know.  I swear I'm not a degenerate.  It just looks that way when you see my nonfiction shelf.

Monday, April 6, 2015

That moment when you can tell the writer went, "Oh, crap"

Actually, the writer probably used stronger language, but as I strive to keep things clean here, unless I'm quoting from a book, we'll just imagine what he or she might have said.


And I get it.  Kind of.  Well, on a smaller scale.  When you blog for fun, like I do (this blog isn't for work or part of my plan for world domination or anything like that), you hit writing walls.  It's like, "Dang.  Nothing is ... moving me right now."  But there's an urge to write something.  So you end up writing the dreaded wahhh-I-can't-blog blogpost.  I can only imagine that when you are an author writing a book that you intend to sell to make money so that you can live (yes, writers do need food, water, shelter, and clothing.  They do not exist on the well-wishes of their fans), stuff gets a little hairier.  Maybe you've written yourself into a corner.  Maybe you just are plumb out of steam.  What do you do?

Warning: Massive spoilers ahead.

Friday, April 3, 2015

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: A Mini-Review

I love Star Wars.  I probably watched one or more of the original trilogy once a week as a kid.  It was in heavy rotation with Indiana Jones and Back to the Future.  This would explain why an alarming amount of what I say is actually just movie quotes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished two books yesterday, so my WIRW is going to be pretty short today (although I could always start four more in the course of writing this post, so).  

I keep abandoning the lovely Stolen Magic by the equally lovely Gail Carson Levine and it's gnawing at me.
 I wish I remembered more about A Tale of Two Castles other than it was utterly charming.  No matter--this could work as a standalone for those who haven't read the first book.  I particularly like Levine (Carson Levine?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?)'s take on gender: dragons do not reveal their gender and are thus referred to as IT and titled Masteress.  

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas has been on my TBR for quite some time now, and I finally remembered to put it on hold.  I'm not very far in, but I'm definitely adding "Iolanthe" to "cool names I'd like to have" along with "Sophronia."


And that's all!  Holy moly.  Gotta get crackin' on my ARCs and my own personal backlist of items!  

Girls Like Us

Giles' book about two girls with an intellectual disability has been praised and received several awards.  Reviewers have noted its sensitive approach to the material.  To me?  It felt like a gimmick.  Which hurt.

Biddy and Quincy are both "Speddies" (in their school's Special Ed program).  It's their year to graduate, and since Quincy has been in foster care and Biddy's grandmother would rather have nothing to do with her, a social worker arranges for the two girls to be roommates.  Since Quincy's disability is less severe than Biddy's, she gets a job at the local supermarket, working in the deli.  Biddy will clean for the woman who is renting them their apartment.


Okay, hold up.  The real issue I had with this book?  It purports to be sympathetic to these girls and their unique challenges but ends up being the same old same old Problem Book about persons with intellectual disabilities.  And it makes some really disturbing parallels (intentionally?  I don't know) between PWD and slaves.  Like, during slavery in America.

Once the two girls graduate high school, they go to work for an older white woman.  She is, of course, their munificent benefactor.  Although presumably being from the same town, she does not speak with their heavy Southern American English accent.  She even plays the magical savior and tries to reunite Biddy with the baby that she gave up for adoption.  Lizbeth teaches the girls how to have "princess" table manners.

Are you serious?  Yeah, the whole fairy godmother thing didn't work out in the end, but it's the fact that Elizabeth thought it was okay for her to pry into these girls' personal lives that bothered me.  Like they're not really people, but pets.

Plus, the use of the Southern American English accent for both girls unfortunately will evoke a negative response in many readers.  Let me explain: writers have long used this accent--"Girl, what you done ain't nothin'"--as a shorthand for someone who is uneducated, poor, or in a low social status.  I'm not saying it's correct or right, but that's what many writers do.  It's become a kind of shorthand for "white trash."  Again, I don't think that people who have an SAE accent are any of those things, but it's unfortunately been pretty common in literature and film to use that accent as a way to demean someone.  By having both Biddy and Quincy speak this way, but not Elizabeth, Giles is intimating that these girls, because of their accent, are already, in a way, intellectually "behind" others.

It's hard for me to fully articulate why this made me so uneasy, but I ended up with hollow, despairing knot in my stomach when I finished.  My apologies for such a meandering, boring review, but I can't summon any anger about this book.  I can't really feel anything other than disappointment.