The only things these book have in common is that they are both YA and they both made me cry.
Mark and Kate are in high school together, but are not friends, until they just so happen to meet up at a gay bar during San Francisco’s Pride week. It turns out that they are exactly the kind of person the other needs at this point in their lives.
Mark’s story had me in tears through the first half of the book. He’s in love with his best friend (with benefits) and has to face the fact that his friend doesn’t love him back. His goes through all the feelings: hope, heartbreak, betrayal, acceptance. Kate’s story is much weaker in comparison– while Mark’s relationship is ending, hers is just beginning, except that she keeps running away. I had less patience for Kate and her hold ups. Mark’s story overshadowed hers by far. The second half of the book is less powerful than the first, because it is more focused on Kate’s journey. 4 stars.
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Vassa decides to go on a midnight run to Babs Yagg’s convenience store, even though it is surrounded with pikes bearing the heads of supposed shoplifters. Once she enters, will she be able to leave with her head?
I started this novel really in love with the imagery of a magical Brooklyn filled with creatures and characters from Russian folklore. Porter does a magnificent job of balancing the fantastic with the real, the horrific with the light. The book is bloody and violent, and also funny and original. I didn’t really emotionally connect with Vassa until the very end of the story, when the fairytale became real for her and sacrifices had to be made. Quite unexpectedly, I was so wrapped up in the story by then, I was in tears through the final quarter. It was beautiful. 5 stars.