©the enchanted easel 2013
©the enchanted easel 2013
I’ve now read books five and six of the Molly Brown series — Molly Brown’s Post-Graduate Days and Molly Brown’s Orchard Home. And I think I’m taking a break for a bit. I don’t like anyone anymore. Or care about what happens to Molly.
Here’s what happens in the first two post-college Molly Brown books:
A bunch of people fall in love with each other. Everyone is super jealous of everyone else. Molly and Professor Green are much less entertaining than they were before. Molly’s aunt, for whatever reason, is evil. So is the mother of a girl they meet on their way to France in book six. The kind of people who were redeemable in the earlier books aren’t anymore. The humor is meaner. The friendships are less convincing.
I’m sure part of the way I feel about these two books is about my having run out of patience, but not all of it. So, I hope to come back to Molly Brown at some point and finish the series, but for now I am done.
People have been bugging me about reading Nell Speed for a long time. LadyMem on Twitter, in particular, reminds me every so often that this is something I have to do. And since it seemed like last week was coming late to the party week for me, I have finally started reading the Molly Brown series. This post deals with the first half of the series — Molly Brown’s Freshman Days through Molly Brown’s Senior Days.
And yeah, they’re fun. Really, really fun.
This is actually the first college girl series I’ve read in years that hasn’t made me feel like a lousy person for not liking college. I don’t know if that’s because they’re less intent on preaching the gospel of their fictional college, or just that I’ve moved past that. I think it might be a little of both.
Basically, these series are all the same. An appealing central character arrives at college as a freshman and makes two or three close friends in her own year, gains a wealthy senior as a friend and a spiteful sophomore as an enemy, and becomes generally beloved for her friendliness, honorable behavior and general attractiveness. Add in three more years, plenty of fudge parties and autumn walks, a handful of theatrical and/or musical performances, and a sense of oncoming nostalgia, and you’ve got yourself a series. The Molly Brown books do all of this and do it well, so probably the thing to concentrate on is what’s different.
There’s not a lot. I think the Molly Brown books are more lighthearted than similar series. They’re rarely emotionally intense, and when disaster looms, it doesn’t loom all that convincingly. For me, that’s part of these books’ charm. It’s nice to read something this unsuspenseful once in a while. But it also meant that the characters didn’t touch me as much as they do in, say, the Grace Harlowe books, which are objectively not as well-written. I liked the characters quite a bit, but didn’t have any stronger feelings about them.
The romance level was a little unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever read a college girl series where the romantic subplot was so obvious and kept so much to the forefront throughout the series. And I’m sort of in favor of that in this particular case, because the college girl heroine never falls in love with the balding English professor and probably she should. But I also like it when thoughts of marriage don’t intrude on a college girl’s career, because thoughts of marriage intrude in almost every other book of this age centered around young women. Often in series like this the girls are sort of implicitly paired of with some of the young men they hang out with, but not in a way that implies anything will come of it later. That’s not really the case here. And there was a lot of jealousy, a lot of girls disliking each other because they’re both interested in the same man, which isn’t actually as fun as a lot of authors seem to think it is. And then, there were times when the relationship between Molly and Professor Green bothered me in the same way that romances developing too early in books about significantly younger girls do.
If I had written this post before I started the fifth book, it would be a lot more positive. I really enjoyed the college books; I raced through them, barely able to put them down to go to sleep. But the series rapidly goes downhill after Molly graduates (is this the one where Nell Speed died halfway through and her sister took over?), and I think these are also just the kind of books I like better while reading them than while thinking about them. I know some people are really, really into Nell Speed though. What am I missing?
|beautiful little Claret....|
|sweet little June....|
|lovely little Citrine....|
|mysterious little Opal...|
Maggie pitched some of her artists for a chapter book series and I didn't have much of anything appropriate for the project, so I whipped one out over the weekend. Add a Comment
Cammie Bliss, the protagonist of my first young adult novel, The Stalker Chronicles, is a teenage girl who routinely, almost pathologically goes too far in pursuit of love. Because of this, her classmates have labeled her a “stalker,” and while it’s not a name she enjoys, Cammie realizes that she’s earned it. But when a new boy named Toby moves to her small town, Cammie—with the help of her best friend Rosie and a sympathetic teacher—hopes she can change herself and win his love.
My interest in creating a character like Cammie was initially very personal. I’d written a long prose poem about five years ago, entitled “My Friends and Enemies” which was published in the journal Fence. This poem was my attempt to create a catalogue or imagistic list of all of the people from my childhood, quite literally my friends and my enemies (not that I had all that many of the latter!). I suppose I was interested in mini-histories, in how a list can somehow create stories. But I was also struck by how many of those stories, for me, were about embarrassment, or moments in which I felt misunderstood or couldn’t quite speak my mind. I thought of all the boys I’d had crushes on, and how many of those boys I scared away because I was a little bit too aggressive or a little bit too out there. I wanted to tell some of those stories, and a young adult novel seemed like the perfect venue. But of course, Cammie is not entirely me, and I’ll leave it to readers to decide which things in the book I may or may not have actually done. But the flashback format is there. Cammie remembers the boys she stalked so that she can figure out how to stop.
I’ve also always been intensely fascinated by the horrors of high school and the ways in which outsiders—nerds, punks, skaters, Goths, LGBT kids, theater and band geeks, you name it—cope with the daily humiliations of being different. When I briefly taught high school in New York City, a colleague and myself asked our freshmen to perform monologues or scenes from Julius Caesar. These performances were wonderful! I remember one young woman in particular, who was as awkward as awkward can be—she had frizzy hair, a whole lot of orthodontia, and a very excited, high-pitched voice that sometimes cleared the room, but she was very comfortable in her own skin. She was a bit of exhibitionist, actually, and her performance was particularly good. We all gasped as she pulled a fake sword out of its sheath! She was totally invested in her character! She made me think about the difference between my students who could own their awkwardness and the ones were devastated by it. Cammie Bliss is very much in the middle of that struggle. Can she change? Does she even want to?
I think we live in a culture that encourages us to be voyeuristic, and girls in particular can be easily embarrassed or even choose to embarrass themselves as a way to establish community and closeness with other girls. I wrote my dissertation about Seventeen magazine and one of my chapters was about a column in the magazine, “Traumarama!.” In “Traumarama!”, girls submit short, embarrassing stories about daily humiliations. I became a student of this column, and obsessed with its repetitive, stylized, and heavily edited stories. The Stalker Chronicles, in some small way, was an attempt to make some of those stories more real, more huAdd a Comment
this website came to my attention at a perfect time. It is full of great suggestions for books and movies that show strong female role models. I also stumbled on Wollstonecraft thanks to the Hedgehog and this children's ebook project looks particularly exciting for girls.
Tumblr is testing the waters of paid advertising (according to CEO David Karp. The site had been strictly opposed to advertising in the past, but it’s turning its dashboard Radar feature — which was previously a curated space to highlight... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
If you haven’t heard about HBO’s new show, “Girls,” directed by and starring Lena Dunham, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few weeks. It’s been years since we’ve seen so much virtual ink spilled over a television... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
3 Stars My Name is Rebecca Romm, Named after My Mother’s Mom Rachel Levy Lesser No. Pages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8 …………… …………………. Back Cover: Rebecca Elizabeth Romm was named after her late grandmother Rebecca. She is annoyed when everyone compares her to her mother’s mom, because all she wants is a name of [...]Add a Comment
powerful post on being a woman and speaking your mind. If you haven't already, head right over and read it. I'll wait for you. *quietly scrolling through tweets*
It has been a while since I reviewed any Young Adult books so for this update I will review Three wonderful YA books that your teens would love. Please enjoy and grab them for the holiday season.
1) Starters- This book was written by Lisa Price and published by Delacorte Press in 2012. Imgine a world where a deadly war called the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between 20 and sixty years old. A young girl named Callie decides to rent her body to Enders-seniors who want to be young again. Callie's world is divided and full of danger, while teens are only second hand citizens. This book follows Callie and her survival in this detopian world full of renegades who will kill for food. As she rents her body she discovers that her renter intends to do more then just have fun. This is a great book to read. It will make you ask the question What if this can happen to us? I highly recommend this book not only for teens, but adults as well. It will take you to place that may excist one day. Who know it may already be a parral world like this already. It is a very enjoyable read and lots of fun.
2) Elsewhere- This book was written by Gabrielle Zevin and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2005. An imprint of Macmillan. "After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live". This book look at the afterlife in a whole new way. The writer creates an amazing world that will imerse the reader in it's content. It is full of wonderful discrptions and has a great voice. As you read the book Liz will become a part of you and you will cheer her to the end. A great page turner. Please grab this book and read it yourself or share it with your teen. A great gift for everyone.
3) The Knife of Never Letting Go. Book 1 in Chaos Walking- This book is written by Patrick Ness and published by Candlewick Press 2008. "Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World." I really enjoyed this book and the world the auther created. In this world males can here what other males are thinking. Our two main Characters Todd and Viola set out on a journey running away from death. This book is full of action and intersting characters. You get to know the young teens very well. As you read the book it will be a page turner. it also has a much deeper meaning to it. I highly recommend you grab a copy for yourself and your teens. Just be warned the is very gruesome and not recommended for children under 12.
Thank you everyone for reading my blog and have a wonderful Holiday season. Look for a new update soon.
here is the finished illustration for the story 'a pickle for patty'. to be featured in the october/november issue of 'stories for children' magazine.
is it wrong to say how fond i am of my own little painting here?;) it's that little pippa (the one with the pigtails) that i absolutely just LOVE! so damn adorable!:)
i will post the link to the finished magazine as soon as it is made available to me so you can read the story that goes along with the illustration.
thanks again to rosemarie over at SFC for the fantastic opportunity to illustrate for her magazine once again.
BTW, a print of this is for sale in my etsy shop under the title 'a picnicing we will go...'
"Tell me the rules," said September firmly. Her mother had taught her chess when she was quite small, and she felt that if she could remember which way knights ought to go, she could certainly remember Fairy rules.
"First, no iron of any kind is allowed. Customs is quite strict on this point. Any bullets, knives, maces, or jacks you might have on your person will be confiscated and smelted. Second, the practice of alchemy is forbidden to all except young ladies born on Tuesdays --"
"I was born on a Tuesday!"
"It is certainly possible that I knew that," the Green Wind said with a wink. "Third, aviary locomotion is permitted only by means of Leopard or licensed Ragwort Stalk. If you find yourself not in possession of one of these, kindly confine yourself to the ground. Fourth, all traffic travels widdershins. Fifth, rubbish takeaway occurs on second Fridays. Sixth, all chagelings are required to wear identifying footwear. Seventh, and most important, you may in no fashion cross the borders of the Worsted Wood, or you will either perish most painfully or be forced to sit through a very tedious tea service with several spinster hamadryads. These laws are sacrosanct, except for visiting dignitaries and spriggans. Do you understand?
Of course, we would like to tell her which. But no one may know the shape of the tale in which they move. And, perhaps, we don not truly know what sort of beast it is, either. Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplines, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.But thankfully, we as readers, can get in, and well we should! This is a fabulous debut novel. A Dramatis Personae preceding the story helps us to identify the many inhabitants of Fairyland, including, but not limited to, September's sometimes traveling companions, A-Through-L, a Wyverary (part Wyvern, part library), Gleam, a Lamp, and Saturday, a blue Marid.
The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign is a collaborative effort of hundreds of bloggers coming together to write about The Girl Effect from October 4th to October 11th, 2001. Thanks for visiting today and being a part of it!
GIRL EFFECT DATA: WHY SHOULD WE PAY ATTENTION TO GIRLS?
Little research has been done to understand how investments in girls impact economic growth and the health and well-being of communities. This lack of data reveals how pervasively girls have been overlooked. For millions of girls across the developing world, there are no systems to record their birth, their citizenship, or even their identity. However, the existing research suggests their impact can reach much further than expected.
* The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 — already the largest in history — is expected to peak in the next decade. (Ruth Levine et al., Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda [Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, 2008].)
* Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. (Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries [Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].)
* Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls. (Human Rights Watch, “Promises Broken: An Assessment of Children’s Rights on the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/promises/education. html [December 1999].)
* One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year. (United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005, www.unfpa.org/swp/2005.)
WHY I CARE
In 2008, I made the first of several life-changing visits to southwestern Uganda. While there I saw firsthand how key girls and women were to the well-being of their village community. Those communities I visited who invested in the education of girls and women were far better off economically than those who did not. Unfortunately, I also saw firsthand how devastating life can be for girls and women who were either overlooked or deemed too valuable and necessary for work at home to be able to attend school.
Girls everywhere deserve and have the right to be able to attend school, learn to read, and play with other kids their age in a safe and healthy environment. No matter where you live there are challenges for girls. Often men and dads are silent on many issues related to girls and women. It’s time for men and dads to speak up about letting the world’s girls be girls.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
* The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads and villages and towns and countries. Learn more about the Girl Effect: http://www.girleffect.org/learn/the-big-picture
* Write your own Girl Effect blog posts during the week of October 4-11. Include a link to this page ( httpDisplay Comments Add a Comment
|Created by Sheila Lygo|
So, this is what happens when I ask for recommendations: I download everything that looks appealing, read maybe half of it, and leave the rest sitting on my kindle indefinitely. Except that I also sometime come back to things. I’ve had Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey’s Peggy Saville books on my kindle since James recommended them more than a year ago. I finally got around to reading them last weekend, and I really enjoyed them. I mean, I thought there were some structural issues, and also when I look back at the two books it seems like nothing ever actually happened, but it was entertaining nothing.
Mr. Asplin is a vicar and he also prepares young men for college. The first boy who boarded with the Asplins was Arthur Saville, and everyone loved him, so when Mrs. Saville writes and says she’d like to leave her daughter Peggy with the Asplins while she joins her husband in India, they’re happy to have her. Peggy joins a group of young people that includes Mr. Asplin’s pupils Robert Darcy and Oswald Elliston, his son Maxwell (in the second book his name is sometimes Rex), and his daughters Esther (serious and studious) and Mellicent (plump and stupid and yes her name is really spelled that way). After some awkward and sometimes hilarious posturing, Peggy becomes the ringleader of the group and shows herself to be clever, creative, talented, bossy, and occasionally thoughtless. She and Rob become especially good friends, enlisting each other for help and support for everything from Peggy’s homesickness to the magazine contest Rob wants to enter.
I like Peggy and Rob’s relationship a lot. I also like that Peggy is allowed to have faults, and that the book doesn’t try to correct them. Rob’s beautiful sister Rosalind has faults too, but she’s not a bad person and she and Peggy go from not liking each other to liking each other very much without either of them really changing, which is cool. And that’s About Peggy Saville.
The second book skips ahead a few years. Peggy has, in the intervening time, spent two more years with the Asplins, and gone out to India to be with her parents. When More About Peggy opens, they’re returning to England, planning to buy a house and settle down. Peggy is recognizably herself, but also recognizably more grown up (I gained a lot of respect for Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey over the course of these two books) and it’s not hard to believe that Rob’s older brother Hector, who happens to be on the ship with them, would fall in love with her. And Peggy recognizes the fact and isn’t really sure what to do about it.
That’s kind of the most fun thing about this book, because it’s a really enjoyable mix of practical and romantic. Peggy makes no attempt to disguise to herself the fact that when she’s returning to England, she’s really looking forward to reconnecting with Rob. And when they meet, there are no stupid things keeping them apart; they’re really pleased to see each other. Peggy and Rob are both refreshingly straightforward all the time. When things get (moderately) complicated, it’s only because Hector thinks he’s in a different story.
Then there’s Peggy’s brother Arthur, who is in love with Rosalind Darcy. Everyone’s in love with Rosalind, because she’s super pretty, but Arthur is the one who she’s a little in love with back. And obviously this is a really common romance trope, one that’s kind of angsty in a really enjoyable way, and then…Rosalind decidesDisplay Comments Add a Comment
In this novel, a young woman whose darkness has been a long time coming connects with a once happy family that has recently experienced the sudden and devastating death of the father. The widow has invited the pregnant un-wed 18 year-old into her home with the intent of adopting the baby when it is born. Her daughter, in her last year of high school, thinks her mother has lost it. All three are so busy trying to save themselves from their own grief that almost no communication takes place. Aptly named, this story follows to resolution the dictum, “The life you save may be your own.”
Told in alternating perspectives of the two teen girls—Mandy and Jill—both the main and the supporting characters gradually emerge as complex and appealing individuals. Mandy negotiates with herself as she tries to both ditch her unfortunate childhood and to make better decisions for the new life she will bring into the world. Jill uses hostility as best she can to shut out others in her quest to numb the loss of her father. They are as different as two teens can be; their only common ground is the mother’s generosity and sorrow that holds them in an embrace. The magic of this story is how the author slowly brings them together to resolve the underlying and yet most gripping conflict in the plot, which is the question of the quality of life that awaits the new baby.
Zarr’s books, while clearly targeted to the teen girl audience, also fit well into the category of “If it’s good enough for a teen to read, it’s also good enough for an adult to read.” In fact this is a great book for mother and daughter to share.