Oh, oh, right! Yes, yes. Um, always behind on the terms. Still trying not to refer to you lot as ‘bloody colonials.’ – Giles on Buffy Season 4 “Pangs”
Yes, we usually bring Buffy references to the podcast, and now I officially bring them to the blog. Rejoice!
At the beginning of May, Kevin from Canada posted about taking part in Australia & New Zealand Literature Month , and I’m managing to get this post in just under the May wire. While this blog is mostly about Canadian authors, I think we can make an exception for Canada’s hotter brothers, Australia and New Zealand. We’re all just bloody colonials to the English anyway, right?
Both of the books I chose are Kids/YA books, and these reviews will hopefully light a fire under my cold, Canadian buttocks to get back to my Kids’ Lit blog (Rick started the fire by “following” the damn blog, which I haven’t updated in years.) I’m hoping to do Rick’s Hobbit challenge on that blog and get over my Great Depression about Kids’ Lit since Greenwoods’ and all my lovely books, toys, families and co-workers went away. That’s right folks, shop indie and get those local stores running, or you’ll be listening to the whinging and moping of many book bloggers for eternity.
Two girls survive a terrible flood in the Tasmanian bush and are rescued by a pair of Tasmanian tigers who raise them in the wild. Their story of survival is remarkable, as they adapt to the life of the tiger, learning to hunt and to communicate without the use of human language. When they are discovered and returned to civilization, neither can adapt to being fully human after their extraordinary experience. Totally believable, their story will both shock and captivate readers as it explores the animal instincts that lie beneath our civilized veneer and celebrates the ways of the tiger.
I just finished this book, and I am generally a person who despises dialectical novels, especially dialects that sound illiterate, but this book won me over. Hannah is now an old woman, telling the tale of the time she spent with the tigers and her language has never really recovered from that time. The story shows us our very real capacity to develop our animalistic side, while also showing how desperately we cling to our civilization. The relationship between the two girls is done very realistically, and the adventure in the story keeps you moving through it at a quick pace. If you love Julie of the Wolves, or ‘kids in the wild stories’ in general, this should be your next read. I think middle readers would gobble it up (though the ones super sensitive to gore might want to avoid it – these are tigers after all).
‘Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery.’
From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost…head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he’s 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?
I was hesitant to put the book jacket description here as it makes it sound like 1000 other YA books about younger girls falling for older guys, when this book is actually a unique, hilarious, witty and intelligent look at both attempting to be a smart teenager (Amelia) and at being a 20-something not knowing how to move forward (Chris). There are moments of warmth, and moments of truly awkward bad decision making skills, and just general real life being lived by people who believe the world has more to offer than first meets the eye, they just don’t know where to find those offers, yet. Buzo also gives the reader plenty of other authors to read in all the book references her characters make, such as Aussie writer Kate Jennings. I read this book a couple of years ago, and I loved it. I really should give it 4.5 stars on goodreads rather than the measly 4 it currently has. Buzo has another book out, which makes me very happy, but also very sad as I know how long it takes for Australian authors to get their books published here in Canada. It’ll be forever before I can get it. Sigh.