Larry Watson shows us what extremely clean, precise literary writing looks like in Montana 1948. Watson’s narrator takes the defining secret from his Montanan family’s past and slowly unfolds it for us, remembered through the lens of his twelve-year-old self’s point of view. The result is a quietly explosive look at a family’s sudden breach of normalcy, and their response to a challenge of values. The brightest moments are in the little characterization touches that are stunning in their nuance, and the overall sense of place that permeates this Western parable. The story is simple, but gets to that place where fiction feels true. Watson effectively explores what the idea of freedom means to different kinds of people when they live in a place wild enough to allow the space to commit any deed one might be able to dream up… at least until somebody else finds out about it.
Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything is compulsively readable candy for lovers of the young adult literature love story genre. And while its characters are a generally too witty beyond their years to be believable, and things work out a bit too cleanly to be called realistic, anyone who has ever been young and fallen disastrously in love won’t be able to resist this quick read. There is tension, intrigue, and humor here, too. Yoon’s writing is extremely enjoyable, and makes this book the perfect sugary reading snack. I read it and swooned by accident before I even knew what happened. Also: loved seeing a multiracial heroine! We need more of this.