Short Takes from Brexitland to High School…

As so often happens these days, I’m very behind with my reviewing – so given that I aim to write something about every book I read, here are some short takes on recent reads.

Alice in Brexitland by Leavis Carroll

This had me in giggles intermittently, and recognising the cleverness in other parts at preserving the spirit of Alice. The jokes and rhymes are well done and the political personae are well-matched to Carroll’s characters. Lured into Brexitland by the David Camerabbit, “Call me Dave,” Alice encounters the Corbyn-pillar, The Cheshire Twat , the Mad Tea Party, Tweedleboz and Tweedlegove as well as the Queen of Heartlessness, but it was Trumpty Dumpty who made me laught the most.

“This creature was more peculiar than any Alice had yet encountered. He was not fully an egg, not could you say he was quite a man, but somehow existed in between the two states. He had orange skin, squinty eyes and a little puckered mouth that reminded Alice of her cat’s bottom.”

There were opportunity missed – presumably this book was written quickly for immediate publication and needed to be kept short and sweet. Surely, there was  room for a Scottish lady to make an appearance – she could have been the Duchess with a salmon instead of a pig perhaps??? And where was the Chancellor – the Jack of Hearts perhaps? The author didn’t attempt a Jabberwocky satire either – but that’s probably a good thing!  The illustrations, by Ollie Mann were brilliant.

Good fun and it while away an hour or so, giving some much needed relief from the real life melodrama of the election campaign. (7/10)

Source: Review copy – thank you.

Leavis Carroll, aka Lucien Young, Alice in Brexitland (Ebury, June 1, 2017) Hardback, 112 pages. BUY from Amazon UK.


Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda

This debut YA novel was published in 2010, and it was part of a book parcel I received in the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap that year. The giver remained anonymous, so I shall belated thank them again here, because it was a superb high school mystery, which begins:

In the heady days of that winder, my name and face were plastered on the front page of every major newspaper and weekly newsmagazine. It was some years ago, I know, and many more sensational stories have come and gone, but perhaps you might recall the story if I remind you of some of the more salient details.
Do you remember my name, Xing Xu? …
Is it coming back to you yet? The Chinese kid who lived in an all-white town, attended an all-white high school, the shy outsider, aloof and inscrutable?

Right from the start, we know there’s a mystery to come and be solved. What we don’t know is Xing’s part in it yet.

Xing feels imprisoned at high school. Ignored and lonely, his only real friend, Naomi Lee, also Chinese, is the only person he really talks to.

Students start to be abducted in his town, and the police are mystified. Xing, however, being invisible can see and hear things everyone else misses and is set to reveal the identity of the kidnapper – which will finally make him visible. Narrating his story to us, Xing totally controls the narrative. As an adult reader, I questioned whether he was reliable or unreliable. – the shocking climax proved which!

Fukuda’s controlled writing, keeping Xing one step in front of everyone else, gives a great tension to this novel, and its brevity at not much over 200 pages should be applauded. Too many high school novels are too full of padding. This wasn’t. It was genuinely exciting and I enjoyed it very much. (9/10)

Source: Present – thank you!

Andrew Xia Fukuda, Crossing (Amazon Encore, 2010) paperback original, 224 pages. BUY from Amazon UK.

 

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