Friday, August 19, 2016

BOOKS: YA Sync 2016: I'll Give You a Fat Sun on the Jellicoe Road in the Last Jungle

I've been listening to all these contemporary young adult fiction this summer. Listening isn't my best method for taking in information and some of these books are starting to blend together on me. I'm writing some short synopsis to keep them straight.

Fat Angie by e.E Charlton-Trujillo 

Fat Angie has a perfect sister who enlisted in the army to fight in Afghanistan and is missing. Her adopted brother and her mother are pissed at Fat Angie (always called Fat Angie throughout the book) because she tried to kill herself at a school assembly and has brought shame on their family. New girl KC arrives from California and becomes friends with Fat Angie. Takes Angie quite a while to realize that KC is gay and interested. Angie decides to try out for the basketball team, following in her sister's footsteps.
Mother is possibly the worst, cruellest mother in YA fiction. Angie is dealing with lots of guilt, shame, and abuse. Doesn't even notice that Angie has lost weight/got in shape for basketball; won't go to her first basketball game. Pretty good examples of how not to deal with mental illness throughout this book, including her pyschologist. Angie needs to talk to the shrink from Every Last Word (see below).

 I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

Twins, Noah and Jude. Noah tells the story when they are 13; Jude when they are 16. Noah at 13 is sensitive, artsy, dreaming of getting into Art School; and in love with the boy down the road. Jude is living wilder at 13, partying, dating an older boy. Their parents (scientist sporty father, art teacher mother)
At sixteen, Noah and Jude are not speaking, their mother has died in a car accident, Jude is in art school and wanting to learn how to scult in rock to help rid her of her mother's ghost.
The back and forth moves the story along, as we try to figure out what happened to lead to the estrangement of Jude and Noah. Some nice tie ups by the end; crazy level betrayals on the part of a couple of thirteen year olds.

On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta

Australia. Boarding School. Taylor Markham was left at the school. Friends with an off site adviser who becomes missing. Boarding school has leaders, meets with Cadets and negotiates over territories. There are students kidnapped by the cadets and negotiations. Very little schooling going on. There is another story being told by Hannah, (confusing in the beginning who all the people are and when the past story is being told) that appears to be fiction but is probably based on true.

"This book jumps from what happened 18 years ago between a group of five friends and what is happening now between the Townies, the Jellicoe school kids and The Cadets. The leaders of the three groups bond as they help Taylor, the leader of the Jellicoe school find out about her past and her connection to the the five friends." review summary from LT

Takes time to allow the story to develop and characters to become identified, but at halfway, things start to become clear and plots start to come together. Would be worth a reread, on paper instead of audio.

 Every Last Word - Tamara Ireland Stone

Swimmer with OCD who starts to grow apart from her high school friends. Spends a lot of time hiding her OCD, like how she must stop her car with the odometer on a 3. Most of her obsessions have to do with 3. A new girl shows her one day to a secret hideout in the school where students share their poetry. The leader of Poets' Corner, AJ, doesn't like Sam because it turns out she was cruel to him when they were younger. Lots of bullying, and  mental illness and its effects. Romance between Sam and AJ, and reasonable parents and psychiatrist. Forgiveness and acceptance.

Every Last Word
These walls heard
me when no
one else could.

They gave my
words a home,
kept them safe.

Cheered, cried, listened
Changed my life
for the better.

It wasn’t enough.
But they heard
every last word.

Grasshopper Jungle - Andrew Smith

Such a weird book. Austin Szerba has a girlfriend, Shan, and is in love, or at least curious about his best friend, Robby, who is gay. Also, everything makes Austin Szerba horny. Austin is very interested in history and is recording life as it happens just as it becomes history. Lots of weird and gross and unbelievable in a fun and campy way.

"Austin and Robby are witnesses to the beginning of the end of the world as they know it. Their bullies accidentally release a science experiment from their Iowa town's shady past, and soon 6-foot tall bugs begin taking over." 

This is the second book by Smith that was offered in YA Sync and both were quirky with unique writing styles. (100 Sideways Miles)


  1. I didn't like Fat Angie or On the Jellicoe Road.

    Grasshopper Jungle was weird but still enjoyable.

    I think I like I'll Give You the Sun best of this these ones.

  2. Oops, I lost some comments,

    buried in print: I find it much harder to talk about books to which I listen; I seem to need the printed page to take things in properly. Maybe it's just a matter of practice. Heh

    bip-- that's why I had to write something down. Some books work better in print, especially if it is more complex. Jellicoe Road would have been better in print I think, except I got the Aussie accents.

  3. Sprite says: I really liked Jellicoe Road when I read it on paper a few years ago. I'm excited to listen to it.

    BTW, if Vivian Apple was one of the books you downloaded, I recommend it. It may not resonate quite so much for someone whose head of state cuddles pandas, marches at Pride, and personally welcomes refugees, but it worked really well for me at this moment in U.S. political history.

    sprite - We didn't get Vivian in Canada! Must be payback for our awesome PM. He was on PEI this week - dishing up ice cream, went to a horse race, got a selfie with half of the population. Vivian Apple looked really good too. I was disappointed.

  4. Aw, Jellicoe Road! It probably is better in print, and I'd even go so far as to say that might be the case for all of Marchetta's books? Her plots tend to be a little dense, and her books are nearly always slow to start, so print's probably the best medium for it. I love her though!


Thanks for commenting, so nice of you to visit.

(I'll try without the letters for a while - so please dont be a spammer! Let's try no anonymous users)