Never half empty

I just realized I had a lot of book reviews in a row with nothing interesting for my readers (ChelseaGirl) who come to this blog for other matters.

So, some updates: As of today I am halfway through my master’s program in library science; the glass that is my degree is half full–a fact that has left me in good spirits and, as the post title suggests I hope, feeling very optimistic.

That exciting marker is also why the blog posting has been not as regular as it might have been.

Almost immediately after finishing my spring semester I started my summer semester (two courses that I am referring to jointly as “librarianship as performance art”). The first course was Storytelling which, I must say, was a lot of fun and really informative even thought the first few classes felt kind of hectic.

Some of my coworkers still don’t know what to make of the rehearsals they witnessed, but that’s okay. In the class every student had to memorize three stories. I now know “The Gingerbread Girl” (a self-created adaptation of “The Gingerbread Boy” which is quite clever if I do say so myself) and “Kate and the Beanstalk” by heart. I am especially fond of the latter for is numerous similarities to Ella Enchanted.

For my final story I learned “Cupid and Psyche”–a story I’ve been wanting to tell since, no joke, 2002. The wait definitely paid off because people really liked it. I’ve developed several “storyteller crushes” (another original term) in the class and my stories were not too badly received either. “Cupid and Psyche” had people laughing, gasping, and totally engaged–it was thrilling to know everyone enjoyed it that much. And as if that weren’t praise enough, which it was, afterward the class forced the teacher to let us have a break because no one wanted to follow me. I’m still embarassed about that, but also happy because it means that they loved the story as much as I already did.

Next week I start my young adult literature and literacy course–also very exciting. I’ve been reading like a maniac to make a dent in the class’ formidable reading list which is why my online murmurmings have been less frequent. I already have a queue of six books to review here!

Anyway, I leave you in high spirits and hope that this post finds you in a similarly chipper mood.

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening (a Chick Lit Wednesday review)

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening by Marley GibsonSometimes, the first line of a book really does tell you everything you need to know. Such is the case for Marley Gibson‘s Ghost Huntress: The Awakening (2009):

It’s too freaking quiet here!

I can’t sleep. Not a wink.

As the story progresses, readers learn that insomnia is the least of sixteen-year-old Kendall Moorehead’s problems. After her family moves from Chicago to the middle of nowhere smalltown Radisson, Georgia, Kendall has to adjust to a new school, make new friends, figure out if her house is haunted. Oh, and she has to figure out what’s going on with her new possibly psychic abilities.

At the risk of oversimplifying, the story is basically a behind-the-scene’s expose of what goes on in those ghost hunting TV shows that are so popular of late but with teenage girls as the ghost hunters (huntresses). Even after growing up in a household skeptical of ghost hunting endeavors, the plot did sound promising. Unfortunately the writing was not equal to the task of holding this reader’s attention.

The main problem in Ghost Huntress: The Awakening is that the writing is extremely erratic. The book is written in the present tense, a technique that is very popular with teen titles, but it just didn’t work here. Instead of subtly making the novel more immediate, it just made it very clear that the story was written in the present tense and that Kendall was very, very talkative.

Kendall’s narrative voice was also very incongruous. Other characters in the book curse, but Kendall uses words like freaking in combination with expressions that her grandmother enjoyed–it just doesn’t fit with the worldly Chicago urbanite persona that Kendall is at pains to present for herself. Added to that Kendall’s brand-dropping, and constant reminders of what she would be doing were she still in Chicago become grating. For those reasons, the writing simply failed to hold my attention or evoke any kind of involvement with the characters.

A lot of readers talk about “junk food” that they read. Books that are enjoyable but not particularly enriching as literature. I hate to say it, but it seems that Ghost Huntress is destined to join those ranks.