Book Thoughts

The Hate U Give Book Cover The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Young Adult Fiction
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
464

 

I want to start off by saying, don't read my review, go READ THIS BOOK. It's important and timely, and also very well written. Have you heard of it? If not, it's the story of Starr, a black teen, whose childhood friend is murdered by the police one day after they're heading home from a party. She is the only witness, and the story follows the complications that follow.

Man this book hit me in the feels in all kinds of good ways. I adore Starr's parents. Their family life feels real, messy and complicated, but love is always an undercurrent. You don't see that a lot in YA books, where parents are usually out of the picture instead of part of the picture, or terrible instead of awesome. Starr's parents are embarrassing sometimes, but pretty damn awesome.

And Starr oh, you get to see the challenges of navigating two worlds (her poor neighborhood vs. her rich white friends at school), and figuring who she is. She's funny, smart and brave, even when she's scared.

It's a #BlackLivesMatter story that is not patronizing and doesn't opt for magical outcomes. It left me so full of heart and hope, and I am so glad I read it. I'll leave it at that, and wait for you to go read it for yourselves.

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Journal

Writing:

Sometimes feedback takes a while to sink in. It can be a puzzle or in a language foreign to your own way of thinking. This was one of those times when things finally clicked together in my head. Some things which felt like separate problems were really the same thing in the end. So I’ve been editing again, which feels endless, but I really believe the story is better for it.

And more beta reading! I do this whenever I have a little free time, mostly to pay it forward. I always feel a bit guilty for asking other people for feedback, but we all need it. Friends, if you need a beta reader please don’t be shy about pinging me. I will say yes if I have the time, though I have to admit I don’t have as much time as I’d like lately. (But you never know, so please ask!)

Daydreaming:

Sometimes you find a grove accidentally, like  wandering into the subway and someone is busking the same tune that was playing on the radio. This month tuned itself around fairy tales: princess’, queens, kings, other worlds and fairy creatures. It’s still singing in my ears.

It feels important that there are fairy stories in many cultures though their creatures might be called by different names. There’s a shape to these tales that makes them feel mythic in a different way than other stories do. Maybe they tap into something deep and true, or hover like the shadows at the edge of a campfire.  There are rules to the magic, even if you can’t ever understand them: like throwing salt over your shoulder, or begging pardon when you walk past a certain tree. There’s always an dangerous side to the beautiful. A cost for every gift. Wishes with double edges.

What sacrifices would you make for what you want? What is the one thing you couldn’t bear to lose?

And that’s made me think about the stories that we sometimes can’t tell aloud. We tell them in puzzles and codes, and once upon a times, describe the dreamscapes that haunt us as half-remembered things. Stories are never the thing on paper that they are in your head. Maybe storytelling works like a fairy curse: you can’t ever talk about what happened in faerie, only around it.

Or just maybe the heart of some stories don’t want to be known just quite yet, and you have to coax them into the light like a unicorn. Maybe you must be worthy first.

In case you missed it, here are three (true) fairy tales:
The Two Sisters
The Heart In A Box
The Faerie King

Books Read:

  • Tea Princess Chronicles by Casey Blair (Ongoing Serial)
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
  • The Girl Who Swallowed the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

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Flash Fiction

This story is true, as all fairy tales are true.

Once upon a time, there was a storm-cloud of a girl who never thought she could love or be loved. She thought she had been in love once, but that love had been worse than a rocky sea. It left them both wrecks, and in the end he left her for another: her sun-bright sister.

Once upon a time, there was a cold Faerie king who was fair and true, but did not have the gift of a honeyed tongue. He earned respect, but no love from those he served. He was lonely, but never thought he was worth loving.

He thought he had been in love once, but now he wasn’t sure. He’d found his former lover, once lost to him by time, and he promised her Faerie, but she hated him when she discovered the price: her mortal life. And that sun-bright girl had already found another.  Perhaps it had been love once upon another time, but it was not now. It was war.

Once upon a time, that storm-cloud of a girl stepped into her sister’s story, and ruined everything.

Their war left their home shaken by a his grief, and scorched her anger. She stood between them and demanded peace. She cooled her sister’s temper, and she demanded better of a king. A truce.

But she was an arrow to the king’s heart, precisely timed, so sharp that he did not feel the cut until it was too late. When that storm-cloud girl looked at him, and he her, they saw like and like for the first time. They were like two continents that had once been together, still carved into the shape of each other, despite the wear of the sea. They were both so sharp that the truth of each other hurt, but each awkward attempt at understanding, hammered them into shapes that fit.

Nothing was easy. Despite her bright sister’s pain, they came crashing into the wonder of one another, more than a little afraid of what this might do to them all, and how many happy endings it might break.

Once a Faerie king tried to save a girl’s heart, but found that a heart is something you can only save yourself. And when she found it again, it beat for him.

Once a storm-cloud girl learned what love was and what it could be. A Faerie king gave her a heart ripped from his own chest. And that love, hard won and true, was a treasure shared with joy.

But the girl was no fool. She had lived in Faerie and it had taken so much already. “What is the price I must pay for loving you?” she asked one day.

By then, the king knew a little more about humanity, and understood terrible price he once asked of her bright sister. He also knew the jeweled wishes of his true love’s heart, that she kept secret for fear that they might be lost, but shared freely with him. (And he also knew quite a lot more about love.)

“My heart is yours, but we cannot be more than dreams and stolen time. I cannot kiss your lips, or hold you when you cry. You must live your life and not wait for me. I will come, but not yet.” The thought of losing her was hard to bear, yet he would leave her if she asked. “Is it worth it?”

“Yes,” she said, because they both knew that to live without each other would not be life.

Some curses are of our own making.

And so he waited.

And so she lived.

 

(In case you missed them: read part 1 here, and part 2 here)

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