Friday, February 27, 2009

Those Cybils guys know what they're talking about...

I'm working this weekend, so today was my day off and I've spent it catching up on ER (Dr. Carter!!!) and reading The London Eye Mystery and Wake.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd was the 2008 Cybils winner for middle grade fiction. Ted's cousin Salim comes to visit in London and disappears after getting on the London Eye. He goes up... but he never comes back down. While the adults are frantically calling the police and freaking out, Ted and his older sister Kat set out to find Salim. I really liked Ted as a narrator. He's on the autism spectrum, which he relates to his brain running on a different operating system than most people's. It's this very difference that helps Ted figure out what's happened to Salim.

One thing that sometimes bugs me about mysteries for kids is that there's no reason why they can't just tell an adult and get things taken care of. Instead, the kids try to solve it on their own, making it needlessly complicated. I don't have the patience for that. So one of the things I loved about this book is that Ted and Kat really try to get the adults to listen to their theories. The adults are so freaked out, though, that they don't spare the time to listen to Ted's theories and questions. He's so frank about things that he's often shushed so as not to cause Aunt Gloria more grief. It was totally believable to me that Ted and Kat would and could set out on their own to solve things.

Also, there were tons of London-y details and English slang. I don't necessarily consider myself an Anglophile, but that was really neat.

So, I finished The London Eye Mystery this morning and this afternoon I picked up Wake by Lisa McMann. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to like it (I generally find dream sequences pretty annoying), but it's gotten so much buzz that I thought I should try it.

Oh my gosh, you guys. I could not put it down. I don't typically finish books in one sitting, but I honestly never wanted to put it down. I can totally see why it was on the Cybils shortlist in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi category.

Since she was eight years old, Janie's been pulled into other people's dreams. She learned pretty early on that sleepovers were not for her. She dreads having study hall right after lunch. Without warning, she might be plunged into someone's dream where she has to watch what unfolds. She's paralyzed until the dreamer wakes and the dream stops. Nightmares. Sex dreams. She thinks she's seen it all. But when she witnesses an extra-horrific nightmare, she decides she's had enough. Something has to change... but how?

I love, love, loved the romance in the book and it felt really realistic (well, except for the dream-catching thing, obvs). The story unfolds in fits and starts and the format felt very dreamlike (which I didn't think I would like, but it's actually really appropriate).

Y'all know how I feel about sequels and series (as a rule, I don't like them, although recent evidence [Envy, Starclimber] would suggest otherwise). So it says a lot that before Wake was even over, I was already looking forward to Fade.

So, that's how I've spent my day off. It's been quite pleasant. :)

I've got several posts planned for next week (if I can stop reading awesome Cybils finalists long enough to write them), including a Day in the Life and a post about an author visit I attended this week. So stay tuned. And enjoy your weekend. :)