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Book Review: Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco Moore (2020)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

A weird and creepy story, no less enjoyable for its eccentricities.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Content warning for child abuse, domestic violence, addiction, mental illness, and misogyny.)

I hide myself as much as I hide my sister herunterladen. I hide the person I am when I’m with her. When I was a kid it was easier. How I acted in the day wasn’t much different from how I acted at night. Outside of school at least, the kids of Lester roved about, playing in the woods behind someone’s house or alongside the train tracks, fighting with sticks, running races, trying to catch fish in Monday Creek, acting out plays with dead bugs as the actors. But as I got older, there were more and more things that weren’t acceptable or cool, especially for a girl.

I added them all to the secret half of me.

That’s the one thing we do all have in common. Pretty much every kid I know is looking forward to the day when they can escape this place aangifteprogramma 2012. Savannah dreams about moving to a city. She’s always going on about her second cousin in Cincinnati. Other kids talk about heading up to Columbus or down to Delphi.

Me, though, I already escape every single night.

We are lambs who refuse to learn, I think. We will wander until the end of our days, not afraid of wolves. But together. Always together.

Fifteen-year-old Jolene “Jo” Richards has a sister – an identical twin only she knows about ringtones herunterladen. Lee is a wild thing, a feral child, who lives in the national forest that surrounds their hometown of Lester, Ohio. At night, Jo sneaks out her bedroom window to run with Lee. By day, she pretends to be an ordinary, unexceptional girl.

Well, as “normal” as a kid like her can be; it’s hard to stay under the radar when your mom is missing and presumed dead, a likely teenage murder victim. Jolene, for whom Jo was named, had Jo at fifteen. When Jo’s grandmother Margaret found out about the pregnancy, she kicked her daughter out of the house powerpoint download free full version windows 8. For a while, Jolene lived in a double-wide trailer on the outskirts of town with “the Cantrell boys” (said in ominous tones, natch), Logan and Brandon. Logan, the older of the two, was widely considered bad news: he sold drugs, abused women, and is possibly Jo’s father. (It’s hard to know for sure; Jolene was “friendly,” as they like to say.)

The last time anyone saw Jolene alive, she was enormously pregnant and pounding onion rings at the bowling alley – in the company of none other than Logan and Brandon. A week later, Brandon showed up on Margaret’s doorstep and thrust a newborn baby into her arms. Now Jo lives with her Aunt Aggie … and haunts the night with a specter that only she can see vob b kostenlos.

When a teenage boy is attacked in the woods, Jo the only witness (it happened during her first kiss, the horror), the crime sets off a cataclysmic chain of events. For nearly a decade, Jo has tried to keep Lee hidden, a secret. Lee is wild and paranoid and free; discovery equals captivity, imprisonment, domestication. Maybe even scientific study. Certainly death – if not of Lee’s body, then her spirit.

But is Jo willing to trade her own freedom for Lee’s herunterladen? After all, the girl who attacked that boy wears Jo’s face. Everyone thinks it was Jo who ripped out a boy’s throat during a midnight makeout session. As if her rep wasn’t already sketchy enough.

Some Kind of Animal is, well, kind of bonkers, and I mean that in the best way possible. I try not to shy away from 3-star books, because every once in awhile I’m delightfully surprised by a story that everyone else seems to hate – or hold ambivalent feelings for, at best lustige memes zum downloaden. (See, e.g., The Blondes by Emily Schultz.) Some Kind of Animal is 110% one of those books: it’s bizarre and meandering and the plot never seems to lead where you think it will.

It defies easy categorization. Is it a mystery? A supernatural thriller? A horror story? A psychological study? A cultural critique? All of the above?

Some Kind of Animal is its own beast, and it’s what I love most about it.

If I had to sum it up as a mashup, I’d pitch Some Kind of Animal as Thelma & Louise meets Our Endless Numbered Days (or insert your own YA survivalist story here), maybe with a touch of The Grace Year kostenlose spiele zum herunterladen. It’s so many things, but at its core beats a fierce feminist heart. This is a story about sisterhood, in both the literal and larger sense. About the way society judges women – and conditions women to judge one another.

Through Jolene and Jo and Lee and Savannah, Moore interrogates slut shaming and woman hating. Collectively, they are living, breathing illustrations of how society prefers its women dead and tragic – and maybe just a little bit sexy – rather than alive and wild and in control of their own sexuality. Each is a fascinating character in her own right, but it is their relationships with one another that truly sparkle and ignite.

Some Kind of Animal is also a compulsive thriller; more than a hundred pages go by before Moore lets use know whether Lee is simply a figment of Jo’s imagination (no spoilers here!) plantnet app kostenlosen. There’s a supernatural, otherwordly vibe to the story that I adore; these pages are populated by the night creatures, and I half expected a witch or vampire to emerge at some point. The pacing is pretty wild, too; it feels like you’re reaching the climax of the story about halfway through – but, alas, there are still 190 pages left! Where will Moore lead us next? (Astray, hopefully, because these liminal spaces are where the magic happens.)

Anyway, I’m glad I snagged an ARC before the reviews started rolling in; I might have passed on it otherwise herunterladen. It’s the kind of story you either love or hate, and I fall firmly into the former camp.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure (2020)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

“This can be really fun if you aren’t a drip about it.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley. Content warning for suicide, addiction, and violence against women, including domestic violence, child abuse, and rape.)

Brayburn lady coming for you
Take your man and curse you, too.
Brayburn lady knows your sins
Reads your mind and kills your friends …

I don’t know how to explain in words the feeling I have now, about how a person’s history affects their standing with themselves camtasia studio 8 kostenlos vollversion downloaden. About how in Taylor my mother and I were peculiar and nonsensical, but here we have the strength of all the Brayburns behind us and it runs like a current under our feet. Makes us stand taller.

Don’t deny evil, Billie. Crush it. That is your duty.

Seventeen-year-old Mayhem Brayburn has always felt like a square peg in a round hole. (I did an ’80s reference!) She and her babe of a mom, Roxy, live in West Texas, home of giant hair, fatty casseroles, and judgey conservative Christians amigos babylon kostenlosen. Mayhem is lonely and “weird” and her only real friend is Roxy.

But it wasn’t always this way: like her mother (and grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother before her), May was born in Santa Maria, California, the land of sun, surf, and endless beach parties. Mayhem is drawn to the water (Taylor is sadly landlocked), is a little bit punk – and her biracial heritage (she’s Brazilian on her father’s side) probably doesn’t endear her to the suburban bleached blondes in her neighborhood.

Roxy up and fled Santa Maria after the (allegedly) accidental death of May’s father, Lucas Machado, when Mayhem was just a toddler. She hopped in the car and drove until they ran out of money, and wound up in a shelter – which is where Mayhem’s now-stepfather found them excel 2010 gratis downloaden. It wasn’t long into the relationship that Taylor’s golden boy Lyle – a pastor, no less – started abusing his wife. He also got her hooked on painkillers and alcohol, and was no doubt thrilled to maintain Roxy’s isolation from her family. (Patterns, people.) When the abuse escalates to Mayhem, Roxy throws May and a bunch of random stuff in the car and books it.

With a little bit of cajoling and a lot of good/bad luck (read: no monies), Mayhem is able to convince Roxy to return to the family home, Brayburn Farm, now run by Roxy’s twin sister, Elle, and Elle’s adopted kids Neve, Jason, and Kidd. Here, Mayhem hopes to find some answers: about what happened to her father, why Roxy cut ties so suddenly and completely, and who she comes from. What she finds is so much more: a home, her people, a purpose kfz werkstatt software kostenlos downloaden. A voice and the power to wield it.

When she gets to Santa Maria, Mayhem is shocked to find that the Brayburns are celebrities of a sort (a really weird sort).

[T]his place was build by Brayburns, and here Brayburns matter. I know because the whole road is named after us and because flowers and ribbons and baskets of fruit sat at the entrance, a gift from the people in town, Roxy said. They leave offerings. She said it like it’s normal to be treated like some kind of low-rent goddess.

It’s clear from the get-go that Elle and the kids are keeping secrets – BIG SECRETS – from her, but it’s hard to concentrate when you’re worried about your stepdad tracking you down and dragging you back to a literal hellhole, kicking and screaming lustige video kostenlos herunterladen. When there’s a serial killer called the Sand Snatcher hunting the Santa Maria beaches – YOUR beaches – for girls who look like you, who could maybe even be you. When your mom is an addict trying to detox after a life spent running from her demons. When she’s maybe trying to escape by having sexy fun times with a dude nicknamed Boner (or, alternately, Officer Biceps). When your soon-to-be-adopted cousin is super hot and sexy and has a mouth made for kissing (I feel like I should be more grossed out by this last than I was, but idk, I shipped it) herunterladen.

Mayhem is billed as “A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft” – which is accurate but also doesn’t quite cover it. The Lost Boys is 110% accurate, for reasons I’ll dive into later. I can see The Craft for sure, but a better comparison is Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species (possibly my favorite feminist revenge/female serial killer story of all time…not that there are nearly enough to choose from!). It’s a little softer and fuzzier than Female, to be sure, and a lot more magical, but Neve and to a lesser extent May definitely send off some low-key Alex Croft vibes herunterladen.

Elsewhere I saw references to Rory Power’s debut novel Wilder Girls – which is kind of funny-serendipitous, as I read Mayhem immediately after Burn Our Bodies Down, and felt some similarities in the foundations of each story. (Misfit teenage girl lives in Nowhere, USA with only her mom for company. She longs to know more about her extended family, which – as it just so happens – is matriarchal, occupies a supernatural/magical/sentient estate, and is longing for its wayward daughters to return home.) But Mayhem proved infinitely more enjoyable.

Laure’s writing is, in a word, exquisite. As in, the lady knows how to turn a phrase; there are so many quotable bits to be found here. But it’s not all flowery prose; the meat of the tale is delicious and satisfying as well soundcloud downloaden pc. This is a story brimming with ferocity, anger, compassion, and heart. Mayhem is about justice: what it looks like, where we might find it, and who’s responsible for meting it out. It’s about losing your way, and finding it again. About family: that bound by blood, as well as the family we choose for ourselves. About what we owe to each other, and to our truest selves.

Mayhem is set in the ’80s (LOVE!: 1978 baby here), and borrows heavily from The Lost Boys. As in: it’s a massive understatement to say it’s “inspired by” The Lost Boys alte java version downloaden. As in: Laure lifts some elements directly from the source material, including the Frog brothers and a half-naked, pied piper-esque musician clearly based on Tim Cappello. (To be fair, I remember the Frog brothers from the film; Tim Cappello, not so much. It has been more than a decade, though; I half considered a rewatch before calling it a day on this review – but, alas, The Lost Boys is sadly absent from Netflix.)

I should probably be more offended by this than I am; after all, it feels a little closer to plagiarism than homage. And what’s weirder is that the presence of the Frog brothers and the hypersexual musician really don’t further the story, or add to it in any way; Mayhem would be just as rad without those elements windows media player 12 free chip. But the story is just so damn good otherwise!

I’m also not terribly happy by May’s desire to work with the police, rather than outside of them, especially considering these times we live in. The legal system doesn’t take violence against women seriously as it is, and I can’t imagine it was any better in the ’80s. Their track record is even worse with women and girls of color; ditto: sex workers, those with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, etc. The occasional Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer aside, most rapists and abusers get away scot-free. Why should we think that Officer Boner will be any better, especially with all that victim blaming nonsense he pulled on Roxy?

On this note, I was downright incensed that Lyle was allowed to live … but I guess his ultimate punishment was even better. idk, maybe we can segue that scene into another entry in The Crows Have Eyes franchise? Kidding! But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already fancast Catherine O’Hara as Billie Brayburn.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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