Sunday, June 27, 2010

Got Eh?

Oh Canada! Home to the mighty beaver where we all dwell in igloos and travel by dogsled and the really hawt guys sport Chad Kroeger hair.

Not quite. (For the record, I’ve only ever dated one guy sporting a Kroeger cut and that was looooong before Nickelback. And, yes, I’m still vaguely embarrassed.)

We’re the nation of Margaret Atwood and The Tragically Hip. Of Degrassi, the Coybow Junkies, and Douglas Coupland. That Courtney Summers chick who hates werewolves? Totally Canadian.

We should be super confident. We should swagger and strut. But, sometimes, that can be a little hard. Especially when it feels like New York is the center of our universe and we can’t get there without a passport.

So let’s get our eh on.

I, GotYA’s resident “eh” sayer, am going to celebrate Canada Day in the best way I know how: I’m going to talk about books written by Canadian authors, then I’m going to give you stuff. Today I’ll recommend one great YA title (written by a Canadian) you might have missed. On Thursday, our book club will end with a contest for a Canadian musical prize pack.

With me so far?

On to part one!


A few weeks ago, someone started a thread on Absolute Write asking members what they’d like to see in urban fantasy. As someone with a book all about werewolves, these threads fill me with dread. Nevertheless, I clicked the link and was pleasantly surprised. There was some good, earnest discussion going on. And one name kept popping up.

Charles de Lint.

Three times in twenty-six posts (that’s 11%, if my shoddy math skills are right) people indicated that they wanted more urban fantasy* the way this guy was writing it and yet, even when I walk into my local Canadian bookstore, there only ever seems to be two or three titles by him on the shelves.

And that’s kind of tragic.

So I’m going to point you all to one of his YA titles and I’m not going to describe it because trying to describe Newford (the fictional city in which a great many of de Lint’s books take place) is a bit like trying to describe something you catch sight of out of the corner of your eye in those few minutes between wake and sleep.

Instead, I’m just going to leave you with the write up on the back of the book. See you all again on Thursday!

The Blue Girl

From the back of the book:

Seventeen-year-old Imogene’s tough, rebellious nature has caused her more harm than good—so when her family moves to Newford, she decides to reinvent herself. She won’t lose her punk/thrift-shop look, but she’ll try to avoid the gangs, work a little harder at school, and maybe even stay out of trouble for a change.

But trouble shows up anyway. Imogene quickly catches the eye of Redding’s bullies, as well as the school’s resident teenage ghost. Then she gets on the wrong side of a gang of malicious fairies. When her old imaginary childhood friend, Pelly, actually manifests, Imogene realizes that the impossible is all too real. And it’s dangerous.

(The Blue Girl was published by Firebird in 2006)

* I've heard that Charles de Lint doesn't really consider his books urban fantasy. Sorry!


indie-grrl said...

Your post rocks! I'm Canadian and I've had a hard time finding YA books by Canadian authors. The Blue Girl sounds awesome--I'll have to look up more of Charles de Lint's books!

Kaitlin said...

Great post! I really need to read something by Charles de Lint.

Canada: land of the 18 (or 19 in spots) drinking age, located conveniently nearby. How could it not be awesome? ;)

Annie McElfresh said...

HAHAHAHAHHA I like the Chad Hair!! LOL

Jill Wheeler said...

I had a student do a book talk on THE BLUE GIRL a few years ago, and he had the hardest time articulating the plot! And I know he read it!

Kathleen said...

indie-grrl: Thanks :) Gotta admit that I was disappointed when I went into a Canadian bookstore this weekend and they only had YA books by two Canadian authors.

Kaitlin: Yes, you totally do.

Annie: Not as good as Dean hair, though.

Jill: Honestly, that's why I totally wussed out on trying to write a review and just went with the back cover copy. It makes total sense when reading but, like other de Lint books, is darn near impossible to explain. This one, especially, since it has three POV characters.

Roh Morgon said...

"As someone with a book all about werewolves, these threads fill me with dread."

As someone with a novel and it's sequel that I've been devoting my life to for the last year - one that is about blood-drinking creatures (can't say that 'v' word!), these discussions send chills up my spine.

The majority of the comments on the AW blog thread were very anti-vampire (anti-paranormal anything, actually) which is quite demoralizing for those of us who both read and write in that genre.

But when characters come into your head demanding that their story be told, you have no choice but to write it, no matter what species they are. As long as your story has heart, there are people who will read and appreciate it.

J.S. Wood said...

Hey! I've read that one! And really liked it. Pelly, oh sweet Pelly :) And I don't care much for fairies. I like de Lint and had no idea he's Canadian. Thanks, Kath!!

Kathleen said...

Roh: There were definitely a few comments that got under my skin, but I've learned to grade these convos on a curve. The good thing about vamps is that they have some serious staying power. The market's pretty full now but demand for good vamp tales won't, in my opinion, ever disappear. It'll go through periods where they're harder to sell but will always bounce back. And I'm saying that as a girl that was Team Lestat before vamps were widely accepted as cool.

Jenn: If you liked that one, you should check out Someplace to be Flying. It's one of the most beautiful books I've read and my favorite of his.

Mel said...

I've never heard of de Lint until this post, but the book sounds like one I have to read. My favorite Canadian YA author has to Kelley Armstrong. I open one of her books and somehow can't put it down until it's over.

Mel said...

I've never heard of de Lint until this post, but the book sounds like one I have to read. My favorite Canadian YA author has to Kelley Armstrong. I open one of her books and somehow can't put it down until it's over.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I have nearly all of his books published up until about 5 years ago, when his books all started to sound the same to me. One of my favorites is Svaha.

I have picked up a few of his recent titles and read the back and thought, "This sounds just like Little Country or . . ."

But I'll look into Blue Girl and see if he's got his mojo (or would that be manitou?) back.

Amy Nichols said...

I just hung out with two of my Canadian friends this weekend. They told me about Canada Day and helped me perfect my pronunciation of "about". :) Also, I just recently bought The Blue Girl. Yay!

I really enjoy reading Got YA. So much so, I gave it a blog award. You can pick it up here:

Thanks! :)

Kathleen said...

Mel: I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've only read one Kelly Armstrong book. I did like it, though, and I keep meaning to try her YA titles.

Angelica: I haven't read his last few adult titles. I keep meaning to pick up the Grace one, though. I completely missed Svaha. Looks like it came out right after Wolf Moon.

Amy: I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for the award and don't forget to include and "eh" every few sentences for good measure.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I did read the Grace one from the library, and I loved elements of the world he created but found myself skipping around in the book a lot.

Debra Driza said...

Awesome post, eh? :D

I remember you mentioning that book before, Kath---I so need to check it out. It sounds amazing.

And long live Canadians and those sharp-toothed hairy W creatures.


Krista Ashe said...

HAHA, and now I totally have the song "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie in my head. I will also have to check out Charles de Lint. The cover is totally kickass!