Review: Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

love in the time of global warming

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

Released August 27, 2013.

Seventeen-year-old Pen has survived the earthquake and tsunami wave in her native Los Angeles, but all of her family and friends have disappeared.  For weeks, Pen stays in her destroyed home, living off of the canned goods that her paranoid father kept in the basement.  But when the group of men come, she flees, aided by one of them and given a van, food, water, a map, and the promise of her family being alive.  Leaving her home, Pen finds only desolation and monsters.  There are giants on the loose, stomping around and leaving piles of gleaming clean human bones behind.  When Pen meets her first giant, she blinds his last good eye and flees.  She lands in a house where everyone is high on lotus juice and meets Hex who encourages her to dally there with him.  But Pen is on a quest to find her family, hoping that they are alive in Las Vegas.  Hex joins her and soon others aid her in her journey that is filled with love, butterflies, and danger.

A retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, Pen is a modern Odysseus on her own journey home.  Block’s writing is amazing.  There are passages that are piercingly true like her description of a mall: “The mall, with its greasy smells and labyrinth of silver escalators leading nowhere, always made me hungry and tired like I needed something I could never have.”  Her phrases sing and move, illuminating the truth beyond our surface world.  Block writes of crushes and lust and love in a way that speaks to what happens in the heart and under the skin, a blistering wonder.

Pen is a curious heroine.  She is a reluctant hero, at first unable to leave her home, then blinding the giant in defense.  The book is about her transformation from normal teen girl to rocking hero willing to put it all on the line for those she loves.  She grows in confidence and skill in natural way.  But much of this book is wonderfully unnatural.  The ties to The Odyssey make for a book that is monstrous as well as beautiful.  It is a tale that is unable to be categorized thanks to its genre-bending mix of dystopian fantasy, myths, and modern reality.

Block has created another amazing read in this book.  Her fans will rejoice at a new book from her, but this is also one that will create new fans.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Henry Holt and Company at ALA.

Review: Cousin Irv from Mars by Bruce Eric Kaplan

cousin irv from mars

Cousin Irv from Mars by Bruce Eric Kaplan

Family can be difficult to get along with, especially distant cousins who come to stay for a long time.  But what if that cousin is from Mars?  Teddy is not excited about his Cousin Irv coming to visit.  When he arrives, he is so different.  He eats everything in the kitchen, takes Teddy’s pillow, wears Teddy’s clothes, and plays with his toys.  When Irv takes Teddy to school one day, Teddy is scared of what everyone would think.  But everyone loves Irv, partly thanks to the way he can vaporize things.  Teddy starts to really enjoy being with Cousin Irv, and right about that time, Irv decides to return to Mars, after all they have better coffee there.

Told in a wonderful modern tongue-in-cheek and filled with asides that speak to our culture today, this book will appeal to children and adults alike.  The humor is well developed and sophisticated, yet manages to still be child-friendly.   The text is meant to be read aloud, offering just the right comedic timing.  Kaplan’s art is simple and even minimalist.  Using lots of white space, the fine-lined art is awash in bright watercolors.  But it is the language and humor here that are really the stars of the book. 

Modern and very funny, this book will appeal to parents and children alike.  It has a great quirky oddness to it that makes it all the more fun to read.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

RUNAWAY BUNNY starring Liam Neeson mashup http://buff.ly/18B9vgb #kidlit

Seven ways to inspire your kids’ summer reading | Fox News http://buff.ly/160g8ER #reading

10 Books I Didn’t “Get” Until I Was Older http://buff.ly/15QY3Xz #kidlit

LIBRARIES

Amazon versus your public library – Fortune Tech http://buff.ly/18yDOUD #ebooks #libraries

Designing Better Libraries » Who Is Your Library’s Chief Customer Officer? http://buff.ly/160ssVJ #libraries

A library is not just about books: it’s also a place for the vulnerable | Angela Clarke | Comment is free http://buff.ly/132z7JJ #libraries

Turn the Page KC: Home http://buff.ly/132ArMK #libraries #reading

PRIVACY

Watch Cory @Doctorow explain why Comic-Con fans should care about NSA surveillance http://youtu.be/Nlf7YM71k5U #sdcc

PRODUCTIVITY

Why Productive People Take Better Notes | Fast Company – http://buff.ly/164fqnV

READING

From a woman who knows readers, is a reader and what is means to not be able to do what you love. @frankisibberson http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/a-life-without-reading-by-franki-sibberson/ …

I’m Tired of Reading Out Loud to My Son, O.K.? – http://NYTimes.com http://buff.ly/160QRIF #reading

What Kind Of Reader Are You? (INFOGRAPHIC) http://buff.ly/161RG66 #reading

TECHNOLOGY

3D printing will explode in 2014, thanks to the expiration of key patents – Quartz http://buff.ly/1bJtdXq

Goodreads Grows to 20 Million Readers http://buff.ly/18AqLlL

How Google+ and Pinterest Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly http://buff.ly/13ACOLg

How to Get Rid of Google’s Annoying New Gmail Ads http://buff.ly/18AqOhp

Preserving Indigenous Languages Via Twitter | Fast Company | Business + Innovation http://buff.ly/18B2zj4

TEEN LIT

Nat Wolff cast as Isaac in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ | Inside Movies http://buff.ly/137tt9k #yalit