Anti-Valentine’s Day teen fiction

Living with a florist has its definite perks. A few months ago saw my long-suffering flatmate spending hours in our living room, surrounded by buckets of roses under an arctic flow of air-conditioning, patiently preparing buttonholes and flower arrangements for my wedding. Flatmate of the year award!

Cover of New MoonOn the other hand, the closer it gets to certain holidays, the more stressed she gets. At the moment no one is allowed to mention the words Valentine’s Day for fear it’ll bring on a panic attack. Consumerism has a lot to answer for.

If you, too, feel a stab of panic every time you see a pink cut-out heart or a bunch of roses, maybe you should take my approach and ignore the day altogether. Let’s give Edward Cullen a disdainful eyeroll and have a night in or out with our friends, because, really, it’s time friendship stopped being considered a poor cousin of (or mutually exclusive with) romance.

Do you agree? If so, or even if you don’t, you might enjoy some of these fantastic books featuring strong friendships and family relationships with plots that don’t centre around whether the hottest vampire in school secretly wants to eat you.

Complicit, Stephanie Kuehn

Jamie’s mother was murdered when he was six; about seven years later his sister Cate was incarcerated for burning down a neighbour’s barn; and now Jamie, fifteen, learns that Cate has been released and is coming back for him, blaming him for all the bad things that led to her arrest.

The Raven Boys cycle, Maggie StiefvaterCover of The Raven Boys

This series has everything. Set in the small town of Henrietta, the books feature the strong but complicated friendship between Blue (daughter of a local pyschic) and a group of boys from the local private school (plus one ghost).
Their quest to find the tomb of ancient Welsh king Glendower in the foothills of Virginia is exciting but increasingly dangerous, as they aren’t the only ones on the trail. (Guns might be involved.) Plus a death was predicted at the start of the series and one of the main characters has a deadly allergy to insect stings. Such fun!

Sorrow’s Knot, Erin Bow

An interesting take on zombies and friendship. Otter is a girl of the Shadowed People, a tribe of women, and she is born to be a binder, a woman whose power it is to tie the knots that bind the dead but she is also destined to remake her world.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. LockhartCover of Code Name Verity

When Alabaster Prep sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, Matthew refuses to talk about the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds, his all-male secret society, so Frankie infiltrates the society to enliven the mediocre pranks for which the club is known.

Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

Spies and lady pilots in World War II, what’s not to love? If you like books that make you chew off your own fingers while reading, these are for you.

Wildlife, Fiona Wood, which Knit1purl1 talked about in a previous blog post.

What are your thoughts on romance in fiction? Love, hate, indifferent? Let me know your favourites (romantic or otherwise) in the comments!

Anti-Valentines – Top 20 songs for the dumped

Glass heartValentine’s Day.  Unless you’re in the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship it can be a fairly rough trot.  Are you fed up with the chocolates and roses crowd and their sickening kissy-faces?  Why wouldn’t you be?

It’s especially hard if you’ve just had your heart drop-kicked for goal by a callous cad or stroppy siren.  There are books that can help you through the rough times and I’ve mentioned those in Valentines posts past but when it comes to heartbreak nothing is more succinct, more visceral, more pointedly true than the lyrics of popular songs.

Yes, you’ll find it hard to listen to the lovey-lovey stuff and don’t even go near “your song” for at least a year but songs are great for a bit of wallowing or even better a bit of “you suck and I don’t even care that you’re going out with my best friend now” catharsis.  The following list has been cribbed from “On & off songs for the dumped” from The Advertiser but I’ve padded it with a few suggestions of my own to make it a nice round twenty.

  1. End of the road – Boyz II Men
  2. Ain’t no sunshine – Bill Withers
  3. Just don’t know what to do with myself – Dusty Springfield/The White Stripes
  4. Tainted love – Soft Cell
  5. Good riddance (Time of your life) – Green Day
  6. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor
  7. Everything about you – Ugly Kid Joe
  8. Hit the road Jack – Ray Charles
  9. Song for the dumped – Ben Folds Five
  10. You oughta know – Alanis Morissette
  11. You keep me hangin’ on – Diana Ross & the Supremes/Kim Wilde
  12. Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
  13. Crazy – Patsy Cline
  14. I hope I never – Split Enz
  15. Please don’t leave me – Pink
  16. Gives you hell – All American Rejects
  17. Since u been gone – Kelly Clarkson
  18. Crying – Roy Orbison
  19. Love is a battlefield – Pat Benatar
  20. Since I don’t have you – Skyliners/Guns n Roses

So what do you think of this list?  Anyone got suggestions of their own for a lovelorn playlist for one?

Love still sucks

Join together, single folk of the world and harden your resolve for the worst day of the year approaches…St. Valentine’s day. Yet again television and radio ads are explaining to us all the causal relationship between love and expensive jewellery (the implication seems to be that if you have one that you simply must have the other) and florists are looking decidedly enthusiastic.

As I mentioned last year here and here, I find the whole thing more than a little depressing and I see no reason why the un-coupled amongst us shouldn’t be catered for at this difficult time. So fear not, for I have come to the rescue with the following library treats to help the microwave-meal-for-one crowd cope –

Love sucks (for guys too)

Millions of women are waiting to meet you - a story of life, love and internet dating In an earlier post I pointed out that St Valentines day isn’t quite so much fun for singletons but it seems that I was remiss.  It’s not just lovelorn ladies that get twitchy around the 14th of February.  Lonely lads suffer too.

So here’s a hitlist of what the library has for bummed out bachelors – Continue reading

Love sucks

It's called a breakup because it's brokenNoticed an increase in advertising for the following lately; chocolates, jewellery, flowers, lingerie?  If you do indeed live in a box, you might not have realised that St Valentine’s day is almost upon us.  It’s all very nice if you’re one half of a happy couple (or even a couple that can make a convincing approximation) but being a “Singleton” on Romance’s day of days can leave a little to be desired. 

Rather than basking in other peoples’ radiant, romancey, glow (eerrrgh) why not grab these goodies from the library and hunker down in solitude? Continue reading