Got two by Cynthia Voight, Sons From Afar and Bad, Badder, Baddest. Cynthia Voight is just rad (as I've discovered a few Californians really do so unironically). Flipping through her section stirred memories. I don't think I fully appreciated her when I was in grades 5-8--in seventh grade I discovered J.K. Rowling and online fandom, and, honestly, there went my brain for years--and even without HP, I think for Voight I was too young to really take in just </i>how</i> good they were, though in memory they really shine.
I still remember how deeply engrained I would get in a Voight book, though, and how I would comb the shelves of any new classroom I entered trying to find one I hadn't read. She is the first and last author I believe I've read who built a story around a single protagonist and then really did kill him off 4/5ths of the way through the book--killed him for good, no take-backs. Did that ever blow my mind when the PoV changed, they buried the protagonist, and the plot continued. Cyn don't mess around!
She also has a knack for finding those great names that were feminine but not-very-feminine--Dicey most famously; I'll never forget Hildy either.
I don't think I'll finish reading these before the school year ends and we have to move (oh, yeah--we're moving to Boston… ) and I envy the few kids who give these books a shot the pleasure they have in store for them.
The last one was a real find, too! It's called Armegeddon Summer and co-written by… drumroll, please… Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville.
What a team-up! This is possibly more exciting than Captain America: Civil War.
Such an interesting team-up that, for the moment, I am cheerfully overlooking how ripe the premise (son and daughter of apocalyptic cult believers fall in love and don't want to die) is for cheap and cheesy anti-clericalism.
Jane Yolen, of course, is every other liberal arts professor's favorite YA author. (I thought it was all too much hype and bandwagonism until I read her short story "Angelica"--and realized damn, this woman is a smart storyteller. A masterpiece.) And Bruce Coville! A crackerjack storyteller who I always thought vastly underrated and doomed to profitable but disreputable obscurity. He even made a little book entitled Aliens Ate My Homework worth re-reading. Now that takes talent.
I'm psyched. Coville is actually funny, which is always pathetic and cringe-inducing when Yolen tries it, and Yolen knows how to make things "deep" whereas Coville's works are always just a bit slight, despite how well done they are. This seems like a union that is full of potential.