Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Best Friends

Oh, Top Ten Tuesday, how I love you!  Because, who doesn’t love a list?  This week is to list our literary best friends, the people from the books we’ve read.

1. Mena from Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande – I have shouted my love of this book from the rooftops and I really wish I could be friends with Mena in real life.  She’s stands up for what she believes in, even if she doesn’t really feel like a hero, or even very brave.  Everyone in her small town, including her parents and her school, turn against her, but she stands by what she did.

2. Cat from Fat Cat by Robin Brande – But Mena isn’t the only wonderful girl that Brande has written about that I want to be friends with – there’s also Cat.  Cat, overweight and an over achiever, turns herself into a science experiment when she eats only what early hominids would eat.  She discovers herself along the way and might fall in love, too.  Weight is such a taboo topic in literature, heavy characters are either funny or tragic, or they lose a lot of weight and suddenly become happy or, the opposite, depressed.  If a character is overweight, it defines them.  Yes, Fat Cat focuses a lot on Cat’s weight, but that is never, ever what defines her.

3. Leelee from Say the Last Word by Jeannine Garsee – Leelee was such a good friend to Shawna, I wanted to be her friend too.

4. Gertrude from Runaways by Brian Vaughn – Gertrude is bad ass.  Seriously, there is no other word to describe her.  She and her friends, children of evil villains, vow to do good by their parents’ wrongs.  Gertrude’s powers involve being mentally connected with a velociraptor.  Like I said, bad ass.

5. Marcelo from Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork – Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Marcelo?

6. Miranda from When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – I loved Miranda, flaws and all.  I would have loved to have a best friend just like her when I was her age.  I did a really awful job reviewing this book when I read it, so please just go out and read it.  But make sure you read A Wrinkle in Time first.

7. Skim from Skim by Mariko Tamaki – I really appreciate it when I find an overweight girl in a YA novel that I can relate to.  I was bullied for my size in elementary and middle school and Skim is under the same pressure.  I wish I’d had a friend like Skim.

8.  Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – Does a dog count?  I think so.  I loved this book, everything about it, but especially Enzo.  What I wouldn’t give for a dog like Enzo!

9.  Ella from Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I read Ella Enchanted so often when I was younger, I felt like Ella was a friend of mine.  Full of spunk that she doesn’t even know she has, Ella is a perfect role model.  The movie version of this book is an atrocity (even though I love Anne Hathaway).

10.  Meg and Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – This is probably the book that shaped me as a reader more than any other.  I already feel like I know Meg and Charles Wallace better than I know some in real life friends, so I thought they would be a perfect ending to this  list.

TSS – A little meme for your morning

Most recently seen at: I was a teenage book geek & Bart’s Bookshelf.  Answer the questions with book titles you’ve read this year!

In high school I was: Waiting (Ha Jin)

People might be surprised I’m: Born Round (Frank Bruni)

I will never be: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

My fantasy job is: Flight (Sherman Alexie)

At the end of a long day I need: Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)

I hate it when: Flyaway (Suzie Gilbert)
I have lots of flyaways. 

Wish I had: A Year By the Sea (Joan Anderson)

My family reunions are: Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)

At a party you’d find me: Runaways (Brian Vaughn)

I’ve never been to: Palestine (Joe Sacco)

A happy day includes: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)

Motto I live by: A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans)

On my bucket list: Mendoza in Hollywood (Kage Baker)

In my next life I want to be: The Great Perhaps (Joe Meno)

Runaways 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughn

It’s that time of the semester again, when school and work and commuting are leaving me totally burned out.  I can’t read anything but fun things.  I don’t want any books that make me think, I want books that make me laugh.  I don’t want books that are heavy on the issues or the tissues, I want books that are exciting and adventurous.  Combine that with this months GLBT Graphic Novel challenge and a recommendation from Nymeth for the Runaways series, and I was sold.

I’ve been a huge fan of graphic novels since I was a freshman in college when I read my first one, Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth.  But I’ve never read true comic books.  Runaways is a recently published (early 2000s) story set in the Marvel world (so X-Men, Spiderman, the Avengers etc all show up at some point or another), but it has a very unique premise.   Every year, Alex, Gertrude, Nico, Chase, Molly and Karolina’s philanthropist parents get together to decide which organization they are going to donate to.  Except what they’re really doing is getting together to do a ritual sacrifice.

The teens parents are actually supervillains called the Pride and they control LA.  Their children decide that they aren’t going to continue living in the homes of evil villains, so they run away from home.  Slowly they discover that some of them have powers, Gertrude has a velociraptor that is controlled by her thoughts, and some of them have inherited their parents skills, but their parents are not even close to being the worst villains they fight in the first four books of this series.

I really loved these comics.  I originally only checked out number 1 from the library, but as soon as I finished it I put as

Best frame from the whole series.

many as my library had on hold.  It seems they are missing number 5, but do have 6 and 7, so I’m going to have to see what’s up with that.   The tagline for this series is, “At some point, everyone thinks their parents are evil.  What if they really are?” and how awesome is that?  The series is fun and humorous, but it has a very serious side that never feels out of place or inappropriate.  There are betrayals and love stories and all kinds of good things to be had.

One of my favorite things about the series was the romance.  It’s so perfectly handled and unexpectedly, too.  There are six main characters and you think you have them pegged from the very beginning, but no one is who you think they are.  The romance  between two of the girls is only hinted at in these first few books, but it’s subtlety and unexpectedness is wonderful.  There’s also another romance that makes me smile every time it is mentioned, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you!

My only complaint about the series is some of the inconsistencies with the drawings and it really only seems to happen with one character, Gertrude.  I feel like every time they draw her she looks different.  But I do love her pet velociraptor, so I can’t complain too much.   I do admit that I am not a traditional comics reader, so I can’t really judge how this series stands against other comics, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  One good thing about all those superhero movies over the past decade or so is that I had some idea of what was going on most of the time!  If you’re looking for a quick, fun but emotional read, then I can’t recommend Runaways enough.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR

Other reviews: Sarah Cross, author of Dull Boy, on yareads.com