I added a "Book List" page to the top of this blog, and I'll add to it as often as possible. Here's my first entry for 2012!
Girl Parts, by John M. Cusick (2010, Candlewick Press)
- Started January 11, 2011, on the morning commute; finished same day on my lunch break (!)
- An inventive, darkly humorous (and at times heartbreaking) YA sci-fi novel
- Plot in a Nutshell: David, a popular rich kid who demonstratives dissociative disorder, is given Rose, a beautiful, realistic "Companion" android, to teach him how to develop proper relationships. Their unconventional pairing starts off well, but when David cruelly rejects Rose for her lack of "girl parts," she runs away and meets Charlie, a depressed loner who helps Rose to realize her own identity (as well as his own in the process).
- Cusick deftly fuses social criticism of our increasing replacement of meaningful relationships with internet connections and avatars, with a narrative that is flush with complex characters and a well-structured plot. The scene-painting and attention to the individuality of even tertiary characters are what particularly impressed me from the start.
- For such a theme-centric story, Girl Parts never feels heavy-handed, though the ending wrapped almost too quickly for me. However, Cusick tweeted that a sequel may be in the works! There's also a companion/sequel short story at YARN, titled "Abandon Changes."
What new books have you discovered so far this year? Any recommendations for me?