Good Reading : December January 2016
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING DECEMBER 2015 / JANUARY 2016 66 Another Day David Levithan Rhiannon is in a relationship with Justin, but it doesn’t seem to function the same as her friends’ relationships. She’s always watching herself, to make sure she’s not too needy, that she doesn’t place too many demands on Justin and that she’s available when he wants her to be. It’s all about keeping Justin happy. One day they leave school early and spend the day at the beach. It’s a perfect day. Justin is happy and treats her well. She longs for such a day to happen again, but Justin doesn’t seem to remember it. Then a stranger tells her that the person she had the perfect day with wasn’t Justin. Suddenly Rhiannon’s life becomes even more complicated. It’s not as simple as falling in love with someone else, but that’s one factor that adds to the confusion. This is a companion volume to the 2012 novel Every Day, but told from Rhiannon’s point of view. It won’t matter if the reader hasn’t read the first book, as the stories are parallel rather than consecutive. It’s an interesting exploration of what makes a person who they are: does it involve the body in which they live, or is it the personality or soul of the person? Is it possible to love anyone, or are there limits? Every young person who is in a destructive relationship like the one between Rhiannon and Justin needs to know they are worth more than that and that it’s okay to leave. No one should live in someone else’s shadow. ★★★★ Text $19.99 Reviewed by Wendy Noble Age guide 15+ Carry On: The rise and fall of Simon Snow Rainbow Rowell This book isn’t ‘Harry Potter’. The problem is that it tries to be. Simon Snow is the chosen one who must defeat the Insidious Humdrum, save the World of Mages and restore Magic. If that doesn’t sound as if I just wrote the concise plot of ‘Harry Potter’ using synonyms, then I don’t know what does. Car ry On is, of course, its own tale, with a ghost story, a murder to solve and a magic-eating monster. But it’s still not original enough to escape compar ison. Rainbow Rowell’s experience of writing romance shows; the love story is strong but the fantasy world is not. The World of Mages lacks the sophistication of ‘Harry Potter’ – and of most other fantasy novels. For one, Rowell’s attempt to use the power of words as spells leads to characters duelling with spells like ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are,’ and ‘Resistance is futile!’ It’s just a little too literal. Add this to creatures called ‘numpties’ and ‘merwolves’ and the whole book becomes an unsuccessful mix of the elements of children’s literature with themes from adult fiction. Carry On does, however, have positive attributes. For one, the Mages rely on mundane technology – cars, phones and the internet – to solve problems rather than just shunning the non-magical as most fantasy books do (I’m looking at you, ‘Harry Potter’). The plot was also very engaging, and while the ending is predictable, all authors should take notes from the multi-chaptered wonder that is the epilogue. Perhaps in the future Rowell should stick to pure romance. ★★★ Macmillan $16.99 Reviewed by Emma Stubley Age guide 15+ herself, to make sure she’s not too needy, YOUNG ADULT WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG About David Levithan David Levithan is an author and editor who enjoys editing as much as writing – if not more.