Wednesday, March 24, 2010

book clubbing in March

Fantasy this month for book club!

Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

When Imogene, her mother, and her brother move to Newford, she decides to reinvent herself — this time she won't go looking for trouble.
She quickly gets to know two very different people. Maxine is a "good girl," following a strict life plan. Imogene helps Maxine loosen up and break a few rules, and in turn Maxine keeps her on the straight and narrow.
Imogene's other new friend is a little more unusual. His name is Adrian. He is a ghost. Adrian was killed when he jumped off the high school roof in 1998, and hasn't left since. He has a huge crush on her — so much so that he wants her to see the fairies that also haunt the school. The fairies invade Imogene's dreams, blurring the line between the unreal and the real. When her imaginary childhood friend Pelly actually manifests, Imogene knows something is terribly wrong. With Maxine, Adrian, and Pelly's help, Imogene challenges the dark forces of Faery.

I was really pleased when Blue Girl ended up on our reading list for book club. I've been reading de Lint since middle/high school (though I have to admit that it's been a while since I cracked one of his books open) and I've had a copy of Blue Girl sitting on my shelf since Russell bought it off my wishlist a couple of years ago.

Blue Girl got mixed reviews from the book club members, though I am happy to report that at least two of the book club members expressed interest in reading more de Lint. I liked Blue Girl, but I have to say that I thought that the ending was a bit anticlimactic.

During our meeting we discussed
  • fantasy as a genre and urban fantasy as a subgenre (and I did a horrible job of explaining how urban fantasy has changed over time),
  • what makes a YA/teen novel,
  • whether we related more to the teenage characters or to their mothers,
  • how we felt about the mothers (both in terms of their authenticity and whether we agreed with their outlooks),
  • the nature of the faeries in novel, specifically the brownies/house faeries and how they were similar to house elves in the Harry Potter books,
  • why Imogene has such difficulties believing in faeries when Adrian first tells her about them,
  • the nature and role of angels in Blue Girl and how different it is from how angels are normally portrayed,
  • how the various characters developed over the course of the novel,
  • whether there was a happy ending for Adrian, and
  • how we felt about certain decisions that Imogene makes during the course of the story, among other things.

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