First they were sniffed.
Then they were stacked.
Then they were weighed.
And finally they were declared to be good and wonderful.
Three cheers for ARCs!
Mark your calendars – on October 7th, 2014, STRAY will be released into the world!
I’m incredibly excited and so grateful for my agent and editor and the entire team at Greenwillow Books for the work and support they’re giving my book.
Let the countdown begin!
I read this book in one sitting.
Now, I’m a fairly fast reader. In elementary school, I actually got in trouble quite a bit for speed reading – I would be so excited to get to the end of the book that sometimes I would accidentally skip sentences and miss huge, important details. So I had to learn to read more carefully, but I still have a pretty speedy reading pace, especially with books I’m really enjoying.
But even if you’re not a speed reader, this book is a quick read and really, really hard to put down.
Junior is a compelling narrator, peppering his stories with sketches and drawings, finding humor is some truly tragic circumstances. I loved every character in this book, from our wonderfully awkward protagonist to his supportive, yet struggling family as well as both of his two (very different) best friends.
And it’s a story that’s both familiar and unique, which are my favorite kinds of stories. We’ve all felt awkward and out of place and lonely, yet Junior’s story and sense of self is also a reflection of the way Native Americans have been treated in our country. The stories Junior tells about himself and his community are sad, but there’s also anger there. And that anger is important. The stories are important.
Recommended for: everyone. No really. Everyone.
Today’s Tea: Lychee Iced Tea with Boba
It’s Valentine’s Day! What better day to celebrate my ten favorite fictional couples (in no particular order) and the unrealistic romantic expectations they helped develop.
1. C.K. Dexter Haven and Tracy Lord, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
Tracy Lord: Oh Dexter you’re not doing it just to soften the blow?
C. K. Dexter Haven: No.
Tracy Lord: Nor to save my face?
C. K. Dexter Haven: Oh, it’s a nice little face.
Tracy Lord: Oh Dexter, I’ll be yar now, I promise to be yar.
C. K. Dexter Haven: Be whatever you like, you’re my redhead.
I love the messy, complicated romances in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. The first time I saw it, I really wanted Tracy to end up with Mike Conner because, duh, Jimmy Stewart. But after watching it a few times, I began to realize that she really couldn’t end up with anyone but the magnificently named C.K. Dexter Haven. Because like Tracy says, she doesn’t want to be worshipped, she wants to be loved. Le sigh!
2. Cimorene and Mendanbar, THE ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES (SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS)
“Just to be sure I have this right,” Cimorene went on with a blinding smile, “did you just ask me to marry you?”
“Yes,” Mendanbar said. “At least, that’s what I meant.”
“Good. I will.”
Mendanbar tried to find something to say, but he was too happy to think. He leaned forward two inches and kissed Cimorene, and discovered that he didn’t need to say anything at all.
I think it’s pretty clear that I’m obsessed with THE ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES. And one of the things I really like about it is that the love interest doesn’t even show up until the second book. That’s right, DEALING WITH DRAGONS is all about the awesomeness that is Cimorene, so when Mendanbar meets her in SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS, it makes total sense that he would fall as in love with her as we, the readers, already have.
3. Anastasia and Dimitri, ANASTASIA
Anastasia: Do you really think I’m royalty?
Dimitri: You know I do!
Anastasia: Then stop bossing me around!
Oh Dimitri, Dimitri, Dimitri. You and your perfect hair and your perfect John Cusack voice and your perfect banter with Anya and your perfect green vest. Is there a more perfect animated love interest? Answer: no.
4. Ron and Hermione, HARRY POTTER
“There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.” – The Deathly Hallows
Sorry JK, you can’t take this one back. You can claim from now until the end of time that Hermione should have ended up with Harry, but that doesn’t negate the seven-book slow burn between Hermione and a certain lanky ginger. Ron and Hermione forever!
5. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, BATMAN RETURNS
Batman: Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
Catwoman: But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.
Michael Keaton will always be my favorite Batman. There was a dry humor to the way he played Bruce Wayne and it was a perfect balance to Michelle Pfeiffer’s rapidly unraveling Selina Kyle. There’s something so delicious (and relatable) about Catwoman’s insanity in BATMAN RETURNS that you can’t help wanting her and Batman to live happily ever after, yet you understand exactly why they can’t.
6. Julia and Paul Child, JULIE AND JULIA*
Paul Child: You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life. I love you, my darling girl.
I’ve made no secret of my love for Stanley Tucci. To me, he is the tops. That gif above? That’s me whenever he shows up in this movie. Since most romantic films are about people FALLING in love, we don’t have nearly enough stories about couples who have been together as long as they were and are STILL madly in love.
7. Morticia and Gomez Addams, THE ADDAMS FAMILY/THE ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES
Gomez: Look at her. I would die for her. I would kill for her. Either way, what bliss.
Morticia and Gomez are excellent romantic role models. Hear me out. Sure they’re a little obsessed with death and darkness, but aren’t shared hobbies are important? And yeah, they might have some problems controlling themselves in front of others (especially in instances of spontaneous French), but hey, the passion is still alive, right? And like Julia and Paul Child, they’ve been together for a while and are still nuts about each other. Mon cher.
8. Veronica and Logan, VERONICA MARS
Logan: What I’m trying to say is that I’m in love with you.
Veronica: The things guys’ll say to get past second base.
I mentioned on twitter a little while back that with the upcoming Veronica Mars movie I was in the #TEAMPIZ camp. And while I do think that Veronica and Piz are a much “healthier” couple, especially now that Veronica is out of Neptune, I won’t deny that I am a huge fan of the truly epic love story between Veronica and Logan. And what the hell, they’re fictional characters! Healthy relationships be damned! Bring on the sexy, sexy drama! I guess, what I’m saying is that I’m #TEAMVERONICACANHAVEWHOEVERSHEWANTS
In other news, is it March 14th, yet?
9. Kat and Patrick, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
Patrick: Well maybe you’re not afraid of me but I’m sure you’ve thought about me naked, huh?
Kat: Am I that transparent? I want you, I need you, oh baby, oh baby.
Julia Stiles and I get our hair cut at the same salon. Also, I went to Sarah Lawrence, the school where her character wants to go. Basically, Julia Stiles and I are the same person. Yet, I am still waiting for someone to serenade me with “You’re Just Too Good To Be True”. Until then I’ll just be on this soccer field. Waiting.
10. The Baker and The Baker’s Wife, INTO THE WOODS
Baker: It takes one / To begin, but then once / You’ve begun / It takes two of you.
Being a musical nerd, I knew I had to include a musical couple on my list. There were lots of options. Elphaba and Fiyero (from WICKED) or Babe and Sid (from THE PAJAMA GAME) to name a few – but in the end I knew it had to be The Baker and The Baker’s Wife. Not only is INTO THE WOODS my all-time favorite musical (no real surprise there) but I love their relationship, as tragic and complicated and romantic and wonderful as it is. I cannot wait to see what Emily Blunt and James Corden do with these parts when the film adaptation comes out at the end of the year.
*Yeah, yeah, I know they’re not fictional, but since I’m referring to the versions of them as portrayed in JULIE AND JULIA, let’s just let it slide for now, ok?
I am also aware that the list is very white and very heterosexual. As I am both of those things (and both are more visible/prevalent in popular culture) this list is bound to reflect that. But it is kind of a bummer, don’t you think? I need to proactively expand my horizons.