Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Club Monday...

I've really been enjoying the book club that I joined at work. I've always wanted to belong to one, and I'd never found one that worked with my schedule. This one meets once per month during the lunch hour, so it's ideal. At first, I shied away from joining because I feared that I wouldn't always finish the books prior to the meetings. I do love to read, and I always have a litany of books in a "to be read" pile, so squeezing in another that I perhaps wouldn't have chosen on my own unless it was for the book club sounded a bit overwhelming.

I finally decided to give it a go last fall when I heard that the club was going to be reading the interesting sounding Loving Frank. Well. You may remember how that went. I hated the book, but I couldn't wait to go to the meeting so that I could see what everyone else thought and discuss it. Since then, I've been a devoted member.

I haven't always liked the books that we've read, but the process is still so very worth it. I did *love* Carol Goodman's The Night Villa, and in fact have read some of her other books as a result and enjoyed those too. On the other hand, I did not particularly enjoy The Princess Bride, or Margaret Atwood's Moral Disorder (which I didn't even blog about, a bad sign right there). But what I truly appreciate is that I'm finding authors that I wouldn't have tried on my own, and for a bookworm on a budget, this is totally awesome. If I can find additional popular authors, I can check the books out from the public library, and my book budget is suddenly $0. That's right, 99% of what I read now is totally free. The hearts of all my bookworm readers soar in delight.

Our book club tends to vary the selections each month so that we read books in all sorts of different genres. This month it's urban fantasy. Ok. I read Catholic fiction and non-fiction, spiritual memoirs, romantic fiction, and Amish fiction. That's pretty much it right there. I like feel good stuff. Urban fantasy is totally out of my realm, but I was excited to give it a try since it's SO completely different from what I favor.

Well. I was *extremely* pleasantly surprised. We read Charles de Lint's The Blue Girl, and let me tell you, this is a GOOD book. It's geared toward a young adult audience, but it's one of those books that is so well written that adults can enjoy it quite easily. The only caveat I have is that if you are a person that does not enjoy fantasy from a non-Christian perspective this is not necessarily for you. It's fiction, so that doesn't bother me at all, but just throwing that out there.

So, the plot. We have a very engaging main character cutely named Imogene. (Conversation between and Mike in bed as we read: "If we had a girl...What do you think of the name Imogene?" An arched eyebrow ensued). She comes from a divorced family and her parents are both a bit flower child flaky. She had gotten involved in a rough crowd in her previous school, and since she moved with her mom and brother, she's trying to not attract the wrong element. She befriends a girl named Maxine that she sees as a bit of a loner so that she does not have to socialize with too many people. Their mutual desire to "not fit in" yet remain under the radar of the "beautiful people in-crowd" makes for an interesting backstory.

As our story unfolds, we find that Imogene's new school has a resident ghost, Adrian, that she and Maxine can see. Adrian develops a large crush on Imogene and introduces her to another supernatural crowd, the fairies. These fairies, however, are not all cuteness and light. They have a distinctive mean streak, and cause Imogene to come under scrutiny from an evil element that lurks in the shadows. These dark evil guys apparently eat your soul and cause you to simply cease existing - no hope of an afterlife for their poor victims. We find out a bit more about Adrian, as well as about a good creature that Imogene always thought was her childhood 'imaginary friend' but that has manifested physically to come to her aid.

This book did actually touch on spiritual themes a bit. Angels appear in the book, and although the author puts an interesting spin on them, they decidedly are trying to assist Adrian to move on to a better place than skulking around the high school all the time. Also, the soul is a central theme. Imogene and Maxine, non-religious characters, both come to realize that people do have souls and can lose them. Also, they find out a few strategies to ward off the mean fairies that bring in Catholic elements - the use of a crucifix, for instance.

One thing I really liked about this book is that the author really brought in a positive message - Imogene and Maxine both mature in this book, and both come to appreciate their parents in a new light after understanding their motives a bit more. Both also come to make decisions that are based on sacrificing their own health and happiness for the good of another that they love.

I don't usually read fantasy, but I *really* liked this book. Check it out at your local public library. Apparently this author writes a whole series of books that take place in this same town that Imogene moves to. I may read another!

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to be better about keeping up with my feed reader (and actually commenting on posts).

    It looks like 'Little (Grrl) Lost' might be good next one for you - another recent one that's also YA


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