Patience is a virtue I haven’t fully developed, but when tragedy strikes I always feel like I’m right to push myself and/or my agenda as hard as I do. At lunch today my friend and I discussed our ideal lives and what it would take to make that dream a reality. Acts of violence strike women down far too often, and that’s just another reason to GET YOUR WORK DONE. I need to reach 14K by the end of today, but wanted to take a moment to thank Claire Light for including Wish in her guest post at the Aqueduct Press blog, “The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2010:”
Some of my favorite middle grade books when I was a kid were the Connecticut Yankee-style stories of kids being zapped back in time to experience history first-hand. This YA does them one better, by raising the stakes on the protagonist’s involvement in the past. An African American girl growing up poor in Brooklyn makes a wish and wakes up during the American Civil War draft riots. She’s badly beaten by a mob, and falls in with an abolitionist group. Elliott doesn’t make the mistake of retconning anachronistic views of race onto the white abolitionists; they are complex and heavily burdened with bigotry. But it is her nuanced handling of the protagonist that makes the novel so good: the more subtle forms of racism this teenaged girl experiences in the present are illuminated by her trip to the past, and she loses her innocence in more than one way. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
Claire’s book, Slightly Behind and to the Left, was included in io9’s Best Speculative Fiction of 2010 list. They describe it as, “A set of powerful short stories and a few ultra-short ‘drabbles,'” that “showcases the dark, sometimes satirical imagination of a writer who isn’t afraid to take her characters to truly disturbing places.” I think I need to read *only* speculative fiction for the first six months of this year—that way I can catch up on all these amazing books by people of color!