Summer reading from the west coast, as recommended by kc dyer…
So, here’s the deal. When I envisioned life as a writer, lo all those many years ago, it was through my filter at the time – that of reader. Being a writer, thought I, would be merely a state of daydreaming much of the day away, interrupted occasionally by languidly putting pen to paper and allowing all the tremendous ideas to flow, uninterrupted, onto the page. Servants would see to my every need – refilling the bon-bon tray, perhaps, or replenishing the Diet Coke at my elbow. Each day, of course, would be rounded out by reading. Much, much reading. For to be an excellent writer, I believed, necessitated opening one’s mind to all forms of the written word.
Well, at least I got the last bit right.
Read I do. It’s in my DNA. Every night before I go to sleep, and whenever I can snatch a moment or two in the day. But long, languid, uninterrupted stretches of reading for pleasure just aren’t a part of my real-life reality.
Still, summertime brings its perks, and the longer daylight hours do give me a chance, once in a while, to slip away with a book from the tall and teetering tower on my bedside table. And since I write for teens, many of my go-to books are the latest in YA cool. I’ve got three favourites lined up to share with you today, all written by West Coast-based Canadian authors.
When Isobel’s mother marries a man she met three months earlier on the Internet, she thinks things can’t really get much worse. But that was before she’s forced to move away from home to a gothic mansion on a creepy island that may or may not be inhabited by ghosts. Unfortunately, it turns out that the ghosts may be the least of her problems. Unraveling Isobel (Simon Pulse) is a fast-moving thrill-ride of a novel, by the incomparable Eileen Cook. Cook’s patented tongue-in-cheek humour permeates the story and gives Isobel the wry, authentic voice of a teenager not quite free to make her own decisions. Cook is the author of more than a handful of YA novels, and this outing is one of the books I am most excited to read this summer. You can find out more about Unraveling Isobel at EileenCook.com.
Dana’s a massive fan of manga and anime, and a school trip to Japan seems like the perfect way to feed her fascination. But travelling with her former best friend makes for uneasy company, and Dana’s manga adventure proves to be more complicated – and strange – than she ever expected. Author Jaqueline Pearce grew up watching Speed Racer cartoons, and wrote Manga Touch (Orca) after visiting Japan to feed her own love of all things manga. This novel is one of Orca’s Soundings series, and is a quick and easy read for good and reluctant readers alike. Pearce has a brand new chapter book out for younger readers, too, called Flood Warning. Find out more about MANGA TOUCH and other books by this author at jacquelinepearce.ca.
And for the teen who loves a good non-fiction read – especially in this era of vampire books – author Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s latest offering is called Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood (Annick Press). This book is a gem – packed with bloody trivia, historical tidbits and presented in a contemporary graphic novel-like format that will appeal to even the most squeamish of teens. Lloyd-Kai has written a whole passel of award-winning books on interesting subjects for kids and teens. Blue jeans, underwear, fire – no subject is too hot for Lloyd-Kyi to handle. Discover more about the books, AND the inside of the author’s brain [spoiler: not terribly bloody] at tanyalloydkyi.com.
There’s my summer reading all sewn up. Now if I could just get someone to fill my bon-bon tray….