Monday, April 30, 2007
Not that it was much of a contest.
Well, there wasn't much question about who won that poll, was there? Opine with the new one, if you will.
There is something in my head that forces a relationship between Garret Freymann-Weyr's Stay With Me and Aidan Chamber's This is All. Stay With Me wins. It isn't just the teen girl having a relationship with an older man plot thing, it's something about the scope of the novel; that I feel Freymann-Weyr accomplished, in 500 fewer pages, much of what Chamber was aiming for. Stay With Me was poetic and moving. It really is a beautiful novel that deserves greater attention.
Leila (Lee-la, not Lay-la, because she is "not a rock song.") is feeling loose-ended after her older half-sister Rebecca dies. Her father is devistated and just wants to escape to Europe and drown himself in work. Her mother accompanies him, and Leila is left in the custody of Clare, Rebecca's much colder sister. She battles her dyslexia and tries to piece together Rebecca's last days to make sense of the loss. In looking for explaination for her sister's choices, she figures out what it means to live.
Um, Garret is a girl's name. Maybe that is part of why this book works better than This is All - Freymann-Weyr doesn't have anything to prove by writing intimately from the female perspective...and didn't need X number of pages to convince you... and can get on with the story. Just a theory. Another theory would be that Chamber's was more interested in a character study than in story (you might want to bank on that one). Either way, both books have left lasting impressions on my psyche.
Obviously for mature readers, this can easily be paired, among many others, with Cures for Heartbreak, The Geography of Girlhood, All Rivers Flow to the Sea, Sarah Dessen, and of course, This Is All. Yet more teen lit I can easily give to adults. Love that.