Deep in the midst of winter, which in California feels more metaphorical than actual, we are offering up some romance (it is the month of Valentine's Day after all) and some uprising. The whole world seems interested in freedom, and the barriers to freedom -- whether that's threats of tyranny, loss of civil rights, structural inequalities, or historical injustices.
The predatory state capitalism of the kingdom of Sempera; the challenges to freely expressed love in Mormon Utah; and the cultural hate-mongering in the Bonelands -- all of these have direct parallels throughout the world just now.
The romantic storylines running through these fictional worlds bring the characters alive and highlight the human costs of these distortions of power. Fantasy and romance in YA novels are excellent ways to clarify and experience these real-world dangers and begin to imagine ways to counteract them. Here are just three examples from our YA section, reviewed by our passionate and able Bookoholic reviewers!
On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border, by Francisco Cantú.
View from a bookseller:
“Cantú personalizes the U.S.-Mexican border and all of its complexity in a way I’ve never seen. His writing is beautiful, with haunting and detailed descriptions of the desert, the immigrants, the cartels, and his own fears about violence and identity confusion. The criminalization of searching for a better life and the dehumanization of the process is looked at from several angles, and his journalistic approach does not make judgments, but clearly tells the facts. A great new writer to follow.”
—Pat Marsello, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
Thanksgiving is around the corner which means the holiday season is in full swing. It's the season of giving, which started early in Northern California this year. The Fire Relief Children's Book Drive initiated by Gibson Thomas of Edible Marin & Wine Country Magazine and embraced by DIESEL ended up with more than 10,000 books for children being donated and distributed in the Fire areas! Thanks to Gibson and to the hundreds of individuals, families, organizations and publishers that donated books at this critical time. The recovery from the Fire will take years b