Okay, so last week I talked about the pink thing. The pinkification of iconography to make it accessible to girls. However, sometimes, pink is just the way it is. Pink doesn’t have to be terrible. As long as it embraces its power. Just shouts ‘I’m pink, damn it. So what?’ And pink comes into play a lot with Disney material. And yes, there are serious issues with the way Disney presents its female characters – especially in the way they are drawn. But, I’m a Disney girl. I don’t love everything Disney (I do not get the Frozen craze – there will be no Frozen dresses here), but I love a lot of it. So, I’ll keep watching stuff and knowing, as an adult, that there are flaws. And talking to the kids in my life about reality versus fiction.
My niece love, love, loves Disney. She’s realized that her name is the same as one of the princesses. Occasionally, she refers to herself by her princess name. We sometimes refer to her as Princess Pricklepants when she’s being particularly feisty. She is quick to correct you with her real princess name. So, sometimes, I’m going to make her Disney dresses. And when I find a fabric that includes my favourite Disney villain, I’m going to buy it and make sure that character is front and centre on a dress.
It’s no secret that I tend to like my books on the bleaker side of things. I like when my characters have to suffer a bit. But sometimes, I come across a book that is so friggin delightful that I find myself smiling through the entire thing. That’s exactly what happened with Guy In Real Life (G.I.R.L). I picked this book up as part of the Forever YA book club. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant going in. A book about a metal guy and a D&D (Dungeons & Dragons for those not in the know) girl and their unexpected romance. Hmmm… not entirely my cup of tea. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up without the prompt from the club. I really didn’t know what to expect. I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Very pleasantly surprised
On its surface, this is a love story. Opposites attracting and such. After a drunken binge, Lesh has a literal run in with Svetlana – knocking her off her bike and destroying an entire summer’s worth of work. They should hate each other, and that is their first instinct. They do not like each other. But as they’re forced further from the initial incident, they realize there’s a real attraction between them. But that’s the super simplified version of what this novel is about. What it’s actually about is social and personal acceptance. Being different from your friends, or your family, or the person you always thought you were. Being true to yourself – even if that means allowing that self to adapt and change.
This book presents a microcosm of society. In a lot of young adult fiction, we get a direct comparison between popular and unpopular kids. These books work in their own ways and serve their own purposes but the comparison of those social groups is easy. They’re so different. They are against each other by nature. If popular and unpopular got along there would be no distinction. But in G.I.R.L we get the unpopular against the unpopular. The weird metal kids against the weird gamer kids. And then the breakdown within those worlds. Video gamers vs Tabletop gamers. Metal girls vs Gamer girls. Trolls vs elves. There’s this almost pathological need to categorize people, especially in high school, and how these labels fall out impacts every relationship. All you need to do is read the other reviews of this novel to see how deep the obsession with labelling runs. Insistence that Lesh isn’t a metal kid. He’s a goth. He’s too stereotypical. He’s not stereotypical enough. Metal kids can’t be gamers. Svetlana is a hippie. She’s not a hippie. Hippies can’t be gamers. On and on. There’s a hierarchy to how we see people, even within the groups in which they exist. I’d love to give teens hope and say that this goes away after graduation. It doesn’t. It’s still there, but eventually, it no longer matters. Continue reading
Remember a couple weeks ago when I was talking about my dislike for pinkifying superhero logos? Yeah, well, I may have bought a fabric that did exactly that. But it’s cute while still being rad. And some girls like pink. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And the background is blue with a black and white checked lightning bolt. It’s not so terrible.
This is another new pattern, and this one looks like it might fit a little small, but that could be because some of the other patterns are so insanely large that I don’t know what I’m looking at! This dress is a little different from the others I’ve posted because it has no home. It’s just a dress that’s starting my stockpile until I see if I want to sell these at local farmer’s markets. Or if anyone is even interested in buying them. If not, then I guess my niece is going to get an avalanche of dresses at some point. Continue reading
I’m not in love with the topic this week, but here we are – authors I’d really like to meet. (Is it just me, or does it feel like this topic by the ladies of The Broke and Bookish is a bit of a repeat of favourite authors week?) I know it might seem weird, but I don’t really have a desire to meet famous folk. I go to a couple comic conventions a year and I’m not one of those people doing the autographs and photos. I have nothing against it. It’s just not my thing. What I like to do are the panels. The big group sessions where people come in and talk about their projects and their lives. I don’t get to meet them on an individual level, but I get to hear a lot about them. It feels like I get more out of those than a quick run through in a line. And there are other people in the panels who have questions I wouldn’t have considered. I feel like one on one, I sometimes lose my train of thought – especially when it’s with someone I admire. So, I don’t know. Part of me wants to just go listen to these people talk. Another part of me wants to sit down with them over coffee and talk to them about stuff, not necessarily writing. I would hate to have books I love ruined if our meeting was disappointing.
Also, I’m only picking living authors. This isn’t séance time.
I’ve reviewed several Summers books recently, so it should come as no surprise that I would want to meet her. I love her take on YA fiction and on how girls treat each other. Her approach to realism is right on. Also, we’re both Canadian. Yay us!
Her writing is so lyrical. I just want to know more about her style and how she remains true to that in the face of publishing demands. Continue reading
I love a lot of things about Courtney Summers’ books, but one of the things I love the most is her titles. They’re usually phrases, or portions of, that trigger immediate recognition. Titles that sort of set up the journey you’re about to experience. This is Not a Test was serious and challenging with no turning back. Crack Up to Be lets you know that this isn’t going to be the story you think, or possibly want it to be. Some Girls Are also sets the tone for the novel. You know, just know, that you’re going to encounter characters in this novel that you are not going to like. There’s no way this phrase is going to be Some Girls are Awesome. Or Some Girls are Super friendly. This is going to be a book about those girls who just are. They are everything on the spectrum – to the extreme. Some girls are the best and the worst. It’s the only way they know how to exist. Other girls are just trying to figure what they are so that they can exist.
Summers captures these girls perfectly. Especially the girls that embody all the best qualities in order to hide how awful they truly are. Anna is the ring leader. The girl who everyone wants to be. That every guy wants to bang. That everyone hates – even her friends. Anna is terrible. Absolutely terrible. She possesses this pseudo confidence hoisted on her by people that think she deserves it. But internally, eventually, she’s going to realize that what she is is fake. She makes herself feel better by making everyone else around her feel terrible. Props herself up on the shoulders of the people she destroys. She does this by using her number two. This has always been Regina. And Regina has really enjoyed her role. In a way. She’s always just done it. She’s tortured the girls who needed to lose weight until they developed eating disorders. Boys who reject Anna until they’re social pariahs. She’s driven former friends so far down that they’ve attempted suicide. And she’s done it all because Anna told her to, and you don’t question Anna. Even when you know she’s wrong. But now, now Regina has fucked up. And she’s got to pay for it. And this is where the novel turns dark. Into something more than just a mean girls novel. Continue reading