Friday, July 29, 2016

Review of The Memory of Things, by Gae Polisner


Before I get started on my review, here is the jacket copy, from Goodreads:

The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.


THE MEMORY OF THINGS, by Gae Polisner is one of the best young adult novels I have ever read. It's poignant, and powerful, and oh so painful. It's told in this brilliant kind of uneven, stumbling rhythm to the prose that would probably ruin the pacing of most stories, but works wonders for this tale, leaving you feeling like you're reading wounded, crawling haphazardly away from the wreckage of your own despair.

We all remember 9/11, but there are many points view through which that horror can be recalled, and Kyle and his silent, nameless friend's are simultaneously two of the most harrowing and deeply moving lenses through which to recall those memories. This isn't so much a story about that disaster, or about tragedy in general, as it is a story about hope, and how the power of human kindness, and the resilience of mankind's spirit allows us to survive almost anything, and then, with time, eventually heal.

It's not the most exciting or epic tale, told almost exclusively from Kyle and his friend's points of view, almost the only two characters in the novel with speaking parts, and it almost all takes place in side of Kyle's little apartment in Brooklyn, and yet the emotions and the truths and the interactions of the characters are as grand and as sweeping, and more importantly-as authentic, as any narrative.

Anyway, assuming, with the obvious caveat of the potential trigger warning for anyone who lived through it, I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. It touched me deeply, and I believe it will move you too.

You can find out more about Gae Polisner, on:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Izanami's Choice, by Adam Heine




Well, it's been almost a year since I blogged, but this great book by my friend Adam Heine is now available for pre-order, and I wanted to tell some people about it, in case anyone still reads this thing. Here's the jacket copy from Goodreads:

Samurai Vs. Robots.

Progress. Murder. Choice.

In 1901, the Meiji Restoration has abolished the old ways and ushered in a cybernetic revolution. Androids integrate into society at all levels, following their programming for the betterment of every citizen, as servants, bodyguards, and bureaucrats. Jinzou are the future. Japan is at the threshold of a new tomorrow!

As a ronin steeped in the old ways, Itaru wants nothing more to do with the artificial creations posing as human. But when a jinzou is suspected of murder, he's pulled into a mystery that could tear the nation apart.

Malfunction or free will? When is a machine more than just a machine?

I always enjoy Adam's writing, but this story in particular captured my attention with its lush retro-future Japan setting, and its ability to ask compelling questions about androids, artificial intelligence, and morality without gumming up the story works of pacing, action, and intrigue.

It's full of combat, and adventure, and escapes, and murderous robots, and just enough mystery to keep you guessing what everyone (and every droid and AI) is up to right up until the end.

I had the good fortune to read an early version of this Novella, and it doesn't come out officially until September 1st, but you can pre-order it now, and there may be some advance e-galleys available for those willing to write an honest review.

You should definitely get your hands on it one way or the other if it sounds like your kind of thing.

Find it on: Amazon | Broken Eye Books | Goodreads

Monday, August 24, 2015

Is This Thing On?

If anyone still comes here, I'm over at Project Mayhem for the last time in a while today, so please stop by if you have a moment.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blazing Courage over at Project Mayhem

I'm actually blogging today! Can you believe it? I know, I know. Don't get me started.

Please just drop on by Project Middle Grade Mayhem, and take a gander at my post about Kelly Milner Halls' debut MG novel, Blazing Courage.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 Truths from Chicago Land

1) Christa Desir is the best hugger I have ever met. Seriously. I had formerly considered myself the master of the long, poignant embrace, but she killed me. With style and grace.

2) Ted Goeglein is a certified bad ass. Richard Price would call him a Do Anything Soldier. A Dolja.

3) Andrew Smith is the most sensitive man I know. I love this man.

4) Carrie Mesrobian is my TV Show soulmate. She writes exactly the kind of books I love to read.

5) Amy Del Rosso does not know quite how awesome she is. She also bows out way too early.

6) I love Chicago. Chicago rain tastes like sweet summer wine.

7) Christa called me a really talented writer when she introduced me to her friend. I did not know whether to pump my fist or cry.

8) Twitter is like the lunch room in middle school: the worst of humanity, and the world's most evil and terrifying place (now trumping the former champion, Goodreads).

9) Sabaa Tahir is really fucking sharp.

10) Book people are the best people in the world.

Sadly: I forgot to get a photo with Ted.
Sadly: I also forgot to get a new photo with Andrew.
Happily: here is me and Christa and Carrie:


Bonus: John Green, the sly bastard, somehow managed to photobomb my selfie: