I managed to write just under 1500 words of my book today so I'm feeling particularly jazzed up. The scene is mainly talking with a lot of exposition but I'm hoping that to others it reads as snappy and interesting. It probably won't but right now I just want to get the first draft finished by next year, my 2011 resolution.
Let's talk about protagonists. What do you look for in a hero/heroine when you write/read? I'm a strong supporter of a kickarse protagonist although true strength isn't just in how well you can kick and punch (although if I do say so myself, my heroine is a bit of a show off with a sword!) A weak heroine can kill a story stone dead for me, especially when it's left to other, usually male, characters to do all the legwork. I think through the process of attempting to write this story I've spent most of my worrying time (for I worry a lot) fretting over my heroine. I want her to be strong, confident and smart but not verge into the dreaded Mary Sue territory (true story; when I was writing her appearance I wanted to give her the initial characteristics of the archetypal Disney princess except have them end up not being attractive which I thought was a good idea until I realised the description sounded a lot like myself, so she now has a completely different appearance!) Being able to relate to a character isn't always necessary, although it does help with some stories, but being able to empathise with them is if you want to portray them as a hero.
Which book characters do you consider great heroes and heroines? If I had to pick just one character to be my absolute favourite it would be Sally Lockhart from Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart quartet, which I actually prefer to His Dark Materials. Sally's a strong, independent woman working to look after herself in a time when it was uncommon for women to do so, she scowls then laughs in the face of adversity, uses her brains, can handle herself with a weapon and doesn't let anything stand in her way. She shudders at the idea of having a man own her and always makes sure equality is key. I'm such a sucker for Victorian detective stories and Sally Lockhart is the standard I hold every other YA heroine up to, and that's one bloody high standard for me. Just don't talk to me about the TV adaptation - I'm still annoyed at Billie Piper being miscast in that role.
Friends, writers, bloggers, how have you been writing today?
I managed to write just under 1500 words of my book today so I'm feeling particularly jazzed up. The scene is mainly talking with a lot of exposition but I'm hoping that to others it reads as snappy and interesting. It probably won't but right now I just want to get the first draft finished by next year, my 2011 resolution.
Sequel reviews! "Beautiful Darkness" by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl and "The Dead Tossed Waves" by Carrie Ryan.
Publisher: Penguin Razorbill. Synopsis (taken from GoodReads): Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now “The Dead Tossed Waves” Author: Carrie Ryan. Publisher: Delacorte Books. Pages (in ARC): 402. Synopsis (taken from GoodReads): Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious
Authors: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.
that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper
into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.
Publisher: Penguin Razorbill.Pages: 503.
Synopsis (taken from GoodReads): Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now
“The Dead Tossed Waves”
Author: Carrie Ryan.
Publisher: Delacorte Books.
Pages (in ARC): 402.
Synopsis (taken from GoodReads): Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious
Cover impressions: Here at the Sparkle Project we’ve got sequel-itis! The festive period has blessed me with more reading time and my old job blessed me with books to read! I found an old advanced reader copy of the sequel to ‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’, the one book in the original Sparkle Project I actually gave a positive review, in my old staff room and luckily even Xmas booksellers get to take them home. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Beautiful Creatures’ when I first read it, finding it to be a well crafted, interesting story with a unique mythos and an atmosphere steeped in the Southern Gothic traditions, one of my favourite things in literature. I’m always weary about committing to a series but since I enjoyed the first book so much I knew I had to give this one a go. As for ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’ it was something I was wary about picking up at first – I liked it but still had problems with it – but the possibility of answers for the plot holes that bugged me was too good to resist.Starting with ‘Beautiful Darkness’ I am sorry to say it was a disappointment. The first book had moments of pacing difficulties but here they seemed to spiral out of control. There was no real beginning, middle or end to the story; it all just dragged out and felt like it was pushed together out of scraps of story and scenes. This book is over 500 pages long and you feel each of those 500+ pages, especially since the plot seems to have wandered off somewhere. Everything wandered from one scene to another with no real order or point. A strict editor could easily have taken a hundred or so pages from this story. It wouldn’t have been perfect but it would have flowed much easier.
I really liked ‘Beautiful Creatures’ for a number of reasons as I mentioned above, but none of these things were present in this sequel – the mythos remains interesting and well crafted but it’s so clumsily put into the story with giant chunks of show-don’t-tell that it adds yet more speed-bumps to a story that desperately needs an energy boost. Ethan’s narration remains likeable enough but there are more points in this story where he doesn’t feel authentically male than in the previous story. Love stories may not be my favourite element in paranormal YA these days but it’s still important to make me care about the romantic leads and I just didn’t care about Lena in this story. Forget the fact that she’s barely in half of it; when she is there her actions didn’t do much to make me sympathise with her. In the previous book I understood her emotions and while I empathise to an extent here, her moments of ignorance, cruelty and just plain old stupidity drove me nuts. Stupidity should not drive the plot. This also left me wondering why the hell Ethan was so obsessively in love with Lena, especially since there were so many more interesting things about Ethan I wanted to know about, such as the return of his dad into his life after the events of the previous story. There were some small moments between Ethan and his dad where I really wanted to read more instead of that dreaded yet inevitable trope of the YA genre – the love triangle. Or rather a love square if I must be precise.Let’s talk about love triangles since it’s a relevant topic to both of these books. I cannot for the life of me understand why they are so popular in young adult fiction. A great romance is a hard thing to write well, romance detractors be damned, and a love triangle even harder. I’ve never seen it done well yet in YA, or at least not up to my stupidly high standards of literary romance. The basic idea of making love a competition feels disingenuous to me. When ‘Twilight’ first became popular the publishers started to push the ‘Team Edward’ and ‘Team Jacob’ fan competition as part of the publicity campaign (which I’ve always found odd since there isn’t a more obvious conclusion to a love triangle than the one in Twilight. Be honest, Jacob never had a chance.) I see the team element being pushed a lot with other books, for example ‘The Hunger Games’ (because the idea of a strong, independent female character ending up without an unnecessary romantic lead is unthinkable I guess) and ‘Wings’ (oh dear god, that book was terrible.) The emphasis on romance over plot and character aside, the love triangle competition element bugs me because in a love triangle someone is always going to be disappointed. I often find it harder to make a connection with characters when I’m supposed to be actively rooting for one over another. A lot of the time it’s also lazy writing, like I found with ‘Beautiful Darkness.’
Awkwardly segueing back to the review, with the added possible love interests in the story, I just didn’t care if Ethan or Lena ended up with someone different, although I admit to liking Ethan’s possible future English girlfriend Olivia more than I liked Lena. The moping and wondering just added more padding to a story that really doesn’t need it. But what disappointed me most about ‘Beautiful Darkness’ was something missing from the first book – the atmosphere. Garcia and Stohl did a great job in capturing the claustrophobic feeling of being stuck in a small town where everybody knew everything and gossip could ruin your life. It was like a lighter Southern Gothic but every bit just as effective and it was completely missing in this book. There was no tension, no atmosphere, no foreboding sense of something suspicious in the foreground and the book seriously suffers for it. That’s why this book was such a disappointment. I expected so much more and it just fell flat and didn’t deliver.On the other hand, ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’ seriously surprised me. While I still had similar problems that I had with the first book, Ryan’s wonderful prose kept me gripped throughout. She has a serious gift for creating fear out of the small moments and that which we find to be so normal, like the ocean (water zombies FTW!) The feeling of claustrophobia, even in the wide open spaces that Gabry lives in, is constant, and Ryan does a fantastic job of crafting a secret filled, constraining society in a situation where one would think such a thing isn’t even possible. We also get answers to questions posed in the first book which is always a good thing. The mythos of the zombies, known here as the Mudo, is fleshed out further, no pun intended, and we get a wider view of how the world has been affected by the epidemic. There are some very interesting twists in this tale that I won’t spoil for you.
But the love triangle problem looms in the distance and I just can’t ignore it. I was seriously bugged by Mary’s love-sick moping in ‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ because it seemed like a ridiculous priority to have when one’s life is at stake and it just dragged the plot down and sadly the exact thing happens here. While I like the protagonist in this book more than I did with Mary, it still feels highly unnecessary and uninteresting. Like her mother, Gabry suffers from some real moments of head-desk inducing stupidity. The adult Mary also gets a couple moments to display her unchanging personality from the first book. I’m disappointed that Ryan decided to repeat this plot element from the first book since it was evidently the weakest part of the story and weighed down the rest of it so much. I’d love to see her try this story without the love element in it. She manages to pose some very intriguing philosophical questions – what does it truly mean to be alive? When you are undead are you still you? – in an interesting way that keeps the plot moving, as well as some genuinely eerie moments, mixing together themes of religion, power and responsibility, and they’re all so much more interesting than the teenage romance, although I give credit to Gabry for being so much less selfish than her mother, even if she does spend a lot of time comparing herself to her. I’d love to see a story set in this world around the time of the Return. It would probably be as depressing as hell but Ryan could definitely pull it off.I end this bout of sequel-itis with one disappointment and one surprise. ‘Beautiful Darkness’ was such a letdown and I’m so disappointed that it didn’t live up to its predecessor. While the prose is still serviceable, the majority of the characters likeable and the mythos unique and interesting, the lack of plot, terrible pacing and lack of anything actually happening vastly outweigh the positives. If I’m completely honest, a lot of the time it felt like Garcia and Stohl were making it up as they went along, and with news that the series will go onto book 4 with more possibly on the horizon, I can’t see that as a good thing. The novel ends on a sort of (lazy contrived) cliff-hanger for book 3 which feels like the story is being dragged out like it’s part of the Saw franchise, and beyond it being uninteresting and thrown together solely for sequel bait, the story can only suffer as a result. I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the ‘Beautiful Creatures’ series, I just don’t care enough. On the other hand I will definitely be picking up the final book in Ryan’s trilogy, ‘The Dark and Hollow Places.’ Soap opera moments and unnecessary love triangle aside, I love Ryan’s prose and the world she has created. ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’ builds upon its predecessor and even beats it on several levels and I was highly satisfied with it. Ryan’s a great storyteller and I hope she sticks with the stuff she’s great at and makes the final book in her trilogy everything it deserves to be.
Beautiful Darkness: 2/5.
The Dead Tossed Waves: 3.5/5.
(apologies for the terrible HTML here; I am a technological nightmare.)
I apologise for my lack of productivity on my own blog over recent weeks. I have just finished my Xmas job and I am back home for the festive season which means I'll have more free time to read and write (I swear that YA book in progress has developed eyes to death-stare me with) and share my as always unwanted thoughts with you all. I got a great response on my last post so I have decided to make these open threads a regular thing. I'll try and get one up once a week so there can be lots of discussions about how you're all getting on with writing your own stories and we can console each other and procrastinate together like an Olympic team! It's my new years resolution to actually finish a first draft of something so I'll need all the support I can get!
But I thought this thread could be an open forum to talk about reviews. I write them, obviously, but I also read them a lot, especially on places like the incredibly addictive GoodReads. A well written review, be it positive or otherwise, can make or break a book and mean the difference between one sale and ten. I spent my Xmas job in a bookshop recommending YA books a lot of the time which I loved (how can you hate a job where you get to fangirl over Celia Rees books?) But there can be a lot of problems with reviewing. I recently read a post sent to me by Catherine Haines where YA writer Miranda Kenneally talked about being hesitant about giving negative reviews for fear of offending people, and went on to discuss the clique nature of the industry, something I've been vocal about myself. It made me think a lot about the way I review books. I've been called an over-vitriolic blowhard who rips off people like Cleolinda Jones (who I am a huge fan of and have communicated with several times on Twitter but I am certainly not ripping her off, and neither are the majority of internet critics.) and I've also read comments where people say that snarky reviews are counter-productive and they won't read them. Since I'm a self confessed snarky reviewer I took a moment to think about this and wonder if my reviews were doing what I want them to do.
I love books and I love young adult fiction. I've always stood by this statement, even when I'm being very sarcastic and mocking books. My original intention with my recaps of the original project was to look at the stories from a feminist point of view, critique what I saw as problematic and see how the genre has been influenced by the recent rise in popularity of things like Twilight. It was also my intention to be entertaining (believe me, that doesn't come naturally, I am not a funny person at all and really have to work at it.) I know a lot of people disagree with me but I think if you back up whatever you say with evidence then that's more important than the way you write the review. I called Hush Hush a whole lot of nasty things but I always backed up what I said with quotes and the like. With something like Hush Hush, where I was so angry at the relationship in the story being portrayed as romantic when it was clearly abusive and unhealthy, I can't help but worry at this compulsion to avoid offending people for fear of being shut out of the business just because you critique something.
I wrote a rebuttal to a YA writer who defended Hush Hush and called bad reviews a form of censorship (the writer of that post, who admitted to being friends with Becca Fitzpatrick, has since acquired an agent and deleted her post) because it was important for me to express why I said what I did about that book. The division between writers and fans has blurred since the internet became a major player in YA promotion and people are afraid to step on others toes for fear that it will ruin their own chances of future success. I have been directly told on more than one occasion that I will never become a published YA author because of my reviews. I never wrote my SP reviews just to piss off people, although I'm sure some would say otherwise, and I genuinely wanted to provide a strong, entertaining feminist critique of the genre because right now it still feels like the F word is a dirty one in this genre. I do give out good and great reviews and I actually enjoy them more because it's great to recommend books to others. I don't want to bubble wrap bad reviews for fear of wounding egos or something like that. I'm still amazed that as many people commented on the original Sparkle Project as they did. I'm thankful for every comment I receive, even the ones disagreeing with me. I've still got a lot of work to do on becoming a better reviewer and I hope you'll stick with me throughout the next year. But I will say this - if writing bad reviews somehow stops me from becoming a published writer, if it's more important to molly-coddle your BFFs than to critique genuinely problematic areas of a genre that has such an impact on a large, impressionable audience, then frankly I don't want to be a part of that industry.
Thoughts? Opinions? Want to call me a blowhard bitch to my face? Go for it!
I'd also like to wish you all seasons greetings, a very merry Christmas and happy Hogmanay! I'll leave you with my new favourite Xmas song. Warning; it's naughty!
The end (of the year) is nigh, the snow has melted from the streets of my city (and not a moment too soon, I was getting sick of slipping on the ice and falling in the slush like something out of a Charlie Chaplin routine) and we all look forward to the shiny new year that will be 2011. It's been an interesting year for me. I don't know if it's been more good than bad or vice versa but either way it's been interesting. On the positive side I started the good old Sparkle Project and I also started trying to write my own YA book. Heavy emphasis on the try. "Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." (Neil Gaiman)
Procrastination is not a hard thing in this writer's cosy household; I could win a medal in it, or I'd find something else to do mid-way through. If it wasn't university work, it was something else, like reading for classes, or doing housework or more recently my Xmas job (in a bookshop!) so unfortunately my lovely Princesses, fairy godfathers and sexy snarky sword-fights were put on hold for a while and I've never really gotten back into the groove. I've written bits and pieces here and there but certainly not enough. So of course my new year's resolution is to write more and actually finish the book by the end of 2011. Remember, the world's supposed to be ending in 2012 so there's a serious deadline to meet.
Are there any other wannabe writers out there? Don't lie, I know there are. What are you all writing? What are your methods/worries/annoyances/general thoughts?
I'm trying to write a YA novel which is part fairy-tale parody, part Disney-princess deconstruction and part queer feminist romantic comedy. That's a lot of parts. I have it all laid out in my head and on notes as to how it should unfold but of course it's seldom ever that easy. I really don't want exposition info-dumps since I so loathe them in books I read and I'm still working on improving how to write action scenes since it's something that's sort of new to me. As someone who is so opinionated about the faults of the genre (I'm also apparently cruel, over vitriolic, copying other people's review styles and being bitchy for the sake of it) it's really important to me to get the relationship and character dynamics down as perfectly as I can. I want the balance - a couple that grow to love each other despite a bumpy start, genuine chemistry, occasional doubts but a happy ending but nothing too predictable, equality in the relationship and no resorting to gender stereotypes (my main character is gay). Easy peasy, right? Well, it's often hard to translate what I see in my head onto something readable on the blank page. It's far too early and far too smug/presumptuous to be thinking about what others would think of my book (beyond the few people I send it to for beta purposes and occasional check ups because I'm sort of paranoid and need reassurance that it's not complete bilge since I'm sort of a self loathing creative mess at the best of times) but I do wonder what possible things people could say about it. I love to engage in debate and I don't mind bad reviews despite my lack of self confidence but I do want it to be the best story I can make it. That's another reason my friends/editors are so helpful because they're willing to tell it like it is and point out exactly what I'm doing wrong. I need that; all writers need that. Remember to leave some comments and I'll leave you with some much wiser words of advice, ones that don't reek of pretentiousness (seriously, if I start moaning about 'my muse not being responsive to my needs' or something, just put me out of my misery!)
"Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." (Neil Gaiman)
Author: Alexandra Adornetto. Publisher: Feiwel and Friends. Pages: 496. Summary (taken from GoodReads): Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most
“Halo”Cover impressions: Oh goody, it’s angels again. My track record with angels in YA is dark to say the least. We’ve had one book thrown against a wall and another book so awful I couldn’t help but wonder if it was part of some Richard Dawkins style orchestrated plot to prove how awful religion is (not that any of these terrible books are in any way connected to religion beyond bastardising some of the most interesting elements of Christian mythology, but I digress.) I never swore to not review another angel orientated YA book again but I’ve remained weary and suspicious of others that have come my way and after reading the synopsis of this book as well two articles by the author herself explaining her abstinence (this liberal feminist has a deep opposition to abstinence only education and the deep underlying messages it sends to girls about their sexuality, more of which you’ll undoubtedly hear later since it’s something I love to rant about.) and why Edward Cullen is the perfect man (do you even want me to go there?) The author Ms Adornetto published her first book when she was 13. Now aged 17, the same age as my sister (who has much better taste in books, her favourites being ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and ‘Prozac Nation’), she has moved into the paranormal YA field with ‘Halo’ and wow, it’s...
human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces. Is love a great enough power against evil?
Author: Alexandra Adornetto.
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends.
Summary (taken from GoodReads): Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most
Yeah, it’s awful. (As a brief warning, I sort of went off on a tangent of feminist ranting later on in the review but it is related to the book. If this bothers you somehow then please stop reading my blog.)
From the very first paragraph, Adornetto is trying so hard to be poetic with her prose but it just comes across as incredibly awkward and clumsily written. Everything as narrated by Bethany reminds me of when you write a story and just look up a thesaurus for every fifth word or so; it reads like someone trying to write way beyond their maturity. I think it’s unfair to comment on the author’s age in relation to their work but it’s so noticeable throughout the book. The very beginning of the story, with the three angels adjusting to human life, is a big tell-don’t-show info-dump that drags the story to a halt before it even begins, and this complete lack of pacing continues throughout the 400+ pages. We don’t need to know every single detail of the angel-to-human transition straight away; weave it into the story and let the plot continue. Well, what passes for a plot here.
I’m beginning to think that YA writers have become allergic to plots. The recent bunch of popular ones, anyway. Out of the original Sparkle Project 10, I counted 4 out of 10 as actually having a plot. That’s really not a good statistic. The constant meandering between moping and love and moping and feminist rage inducing love was so incredibly dull. Nothing happens for a huge chunk of this book and when stuff does happen it’s nothing to write home about. The book also suffers from the ever increasing trademark of this genre, as well as all Twilight fanfiction, in that Adornetto spends far too long describing thing that just do not matter. The clothes that Ivy wears are not relevant to the plot. The layout of their house does not further the story. None of these things matter in the slightest and even I, with my kink for lush descriptive scenes (although as I said previously, all the descriptive scenes were trying way too hard), was bored senseless.
Of course it wasn’t just the plotting and info-dump overloads that made this book terrible. Let’s not forget the characters. It’s all too common an occurrence to have the plain, boring girl fall in love with the powerful, enigmatic male creature of power in this genre so I was at least hoping for an interesting take on the gender roles being switched. Boy that was optimistic of me. Bethany makes Bella Swan look like Emmeline Pankhurst. For someone who is supposed to be a messenger of God, one of amazing power and strength, she comes across as a whiny, selfish little girl who is incapable of the most basic actions. She, the angel, is the one that needs saving by the human boy! It doesn’t help that the angels just made the stupidest of decisions (where do you station yourself if you want to fight evil? Of course, a high school!) But Bethany really takes the cake. I try not to let my personal opinion of the author’s life or views get in the way of my reviews but having read ‘Halo’ following that pro-abstinence article Adornetto wrote, I couldn’t help but read this book like some sort of silver ring pamphlet. Its desperation to be emotionally manipulative was infuriating. The characterisation was weak across the board, especially with Bethany and cardboard cut-out love interest Xavier.
But here’s the kicker. The bit that made me do the crinkled face in exasperated feminist rage:
“For this evening at least, feminist philosophy had been abandoned, and the girls, like fairy-tale princesses, allowed themselves to be led up the flight of stairs and into the foyer.”
So... you really want me to go there, don’t you, Ms Adornetto. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You heard it from the messenger of God yourselves, ladies. Feminist philosophy doesn’t allow you to wear dresses and have a good time. How dare all those old women whose names I have forgotten try and fight for countless generations of girls and women after them to be treated like normal human beings and be allowed to do such frivolous things as vote! It’s so much more fun to give up all your free will and independence, put on some sparkly skirts and be led around like an obedient little princess while your handsome prince does everything for you. Now put that silver ring back on and get into the kitchen, your prince wants his pot-roast on the table by 7!
Okay, I have to talk about this. The title of Adornetto’s piece for The Age, minus shitty editing, is “Guard your virginity; once lost it’s gone forever.” Newsflash – you are worth more than your hymen! Sex does not make you a bad person, wanting sex does not make you a bad person. Virginity is not a gift. I understand how sensitive the topic of sex can be and of course it comes with a degree of emotional attachment, but this bullshit idea that girls need to safe-guard it as if their lives depend on it isn’t just stupid, it’s dangerous. The attitudes that come with girls who want sex is shameful, as witnessed by the healthy dose of slut-shaming Adornetto does in her article. Guess what? Sometimes girls want to have sex! And that’s not a bad thing! Tying virginity to ‘dignity and self respect’ suggests that those who choose to have sex are somehow dirty and unworthy, especially when you wrap it up in a YA book so full of bastardised Christian imagery. This is what leads to bullshit organisations teaching abstinence only education as the only form of sex education (and let’s face it, the world needs less of that, and in connection, less Bristol Palin) and perpetuates bullshit stereotypes about women and sex that have been around since time begot. (For anyone who wants to read more on the subject of the purity movement and how it harms young women, pick up ‘The Purity Myth’ by Jessica Valenti.)
I know I went off on a huge tangent there but this idea that sex de-moralises women goes hand in hand with the Twilight-style love story, where teen marriage is the solution and feminism is a dirty F word. Even if ‘Halo’ didn’t have all that crap in it I would still be giving it a low rating. As such, this wasn’t worth my time and I’m sorry I even bothered picking it up. I think I’m done with angel YA books for now and my only hope is that Ms Adornetto at least tries to understand what feminism truly is at some point in her life.