Tough To Pin Down

The title of A.S. King’s book, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, with its inherent paradox, should suggest to you that this a book that will be difficult to categorize. And that’s true, but rather than turning out a muddled mess, this book is a powerful exploration of what it means to move through a liminal time in adolescence: graduations from high school.

In King’s book, Glory O’Brien is on the cusp of adulthood as she’s graduating from high school–but she’s at a loss as to what to do with her life. One night, she and a friend drink the dried remains of a bat and find themselves with the power to see the future. What Glory sees is reminiscent of dystopian works like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a world where a new civil war breaks out over the rights of women and their proper role in society. Glory decides to write the “history” of this war as she sees it revealed piece by piece in visions of the future she has while associating with people in her town.

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Frighteningly Wholesome Lit

In the month of October I picked up a couple of YA horror novels to help me get in the mood for Halloween. For whatever reason, I ended up reading one of them, Cuckoo Song by Francis Hardinge,  in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep. It took me a while to finish, and it was almost Thanksgiving by the time I did.

So my timing ended up being off for a horror story, but that’s okay, because Cuckoo Song isn’t really a horror story per se, although it’s pretty creepy and definitely has some twisted elements. Cuckoo Song tells the story of Triss, a perpetually ill child who’s sheltered by overly protective parents. Her older brother has just perished in World War I and her younger sister seems to harbor a thinly-veiled hatred for Triss. The book opens with Triss having suffered a terrible accident but being unable to remember any real details of the incident. She finds herself ravenously hungry, but normal food won’t satisfy her hunger–instead, she resorts to eating dolls and scraps of dresses. Weird, right? It only gets stranger.

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