June 17th, 2006

Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell, knowing

Things Left Unsaid by Stephanie Hemphill

Told in first-person poetry, Things Left Unsaid chronicles a school year in the life of Sarah, who is suddenly feeling itchy in her own skin. She finds herself being critical with her own friends and family members, and although they are there for her, she needs something else. Just what that something is, she doesn't know, not yet.

The book jacket makes the story sound as though it is the typical "bad friend" tale - a good girl falls under the influence of her new friend - but it is more than that. It is Sarah's search for herself, not just for a new friend or for attention. After befriending the bold and seemingly unafraid Robin, Sarah retains her old friends. She tries to figure out what is important to her, not to others, and she never does things simply to fit in. She learns from her own missteps as well as those of others and emerges a little older, a little wiser, a little sadder, a little happier.

Kudos are due to the writer and the character she created. Sarah's voice sounds authentic, and that made the story all the more enjoyable. Though I prefer prose when forced to choose, I love poetry and I enjoy poetry novels, and even I forgot that I was reading poetry - that's how real her voice is, how engrossed I became in the story. This story impressed me. You should read it, especially if you like Sonya Sones or Alison McGhee.

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Ghosts of Albion: Astray by Christopher Golden and Amber Benson

Ghosts of Albion: Astray allows readers to spend more time with Tamara and William Swift, siblings in Victorian England who have pledged to protect their home and country from the things that go bump in the night. Astray pits the Swifts, along with Farris, their loyal butler, and the ghost of Queen Bodicea against Wild Edric's army and faerie princesses as they attempt to rescue seven babies and return them to their homes, where changelings lay in their cribs.

This story was originally released as an online serial at the BBC website in both text format and as an audio production narrated by Jasmine Hyde, who portrayed Tamara in the earlier GoA animated projects. Though I enjoyed reading it and listening to it online, I love having this bound version of Initiation. Thank you, Subterranean Press, for making it possible.

Best line:
"Because we must, William," Tamara said. "This is our time. Somewhere there is another little girl running across a field. It's for her that we fight, so she will never know what we know."

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