Summer of YA – Part 3

The list goes on… a couple of quick reactions before I fly off for the weekend.

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Tallulah is off to live a life of art! Performance art, that is. On the wild and windy moors, she and her friends get up to all manner of antics and boy-watching. It’s a fabulous summer, in spite of Tallulah’s knees.
There isn’t much to say about Withering Heights. It’s a fun read, not as funny as the Georgia Nicolson series, but no one could top Georgia and her disco dancing viking mates. This was a spot of sunshine between two dark books.

Hush by Donna Jo Napoli

Just when I thought I had finished one book about an abused princess, I dive into another book about an abused princess. Hush plays on a scene in an Icelandic tale, the Saga of the People of Laxardal, creating a back story for the slave Melkorka, an Irish princess who is taken captive, along with her young sister, by a band of marauders and sold into slavery. The novel reads like a fragment in a larger story, but provides just enough depth and character development to intrigue readers. When Mel and her sister are taken hostage, Mel finds a bit salvation when the master of the slave ship discovers three stork feathers and a gold teething ring in a pouch she carried. The items serve as an amulet against much of the brutality that she would otherwise face. Believing Mel is an “aist”–a stork that shapeshifts into the form of a woman–the slaver comes to regard her with fear and awe. When Mel takes on the “hush,” keeping her silence to maintain her otherworldly appearance and try to save her sister and herself, she finds herself becoming Aist. However, the hush cannot protect her from those who would abuse her, and it is a cruel world that she finds herself in. The brutal realities of being a slave, especially a female slave, are presented in a way that maintains the essence of a slave’s dangerous life, while keeping the details light enough for younger readers.