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Title: Name Me Nobody
Author: Lois-Ann Yamanaka
Number of Pages: 226 pages
Book Number/Goal: 26/30 for 2010
My Rating: 4/5

Jacket Summary: Fourteen-year-old Emi-Lou feels like a nobody - she's overweight, her mom lives in faraway California and rarely visits or calls, and she doesn't know who her father is. The only people who make her feel like somebody are her brave, blunt grandma, and her best friend, Von. "Where Von go, Emi-Lou go," their families and friends say. But now Emi-Lou fears that Von is going somewhere she can't follow. Von has feelings for Babes, an older girl on their softball team. But Emi-Lou wants desperately for Von to be "normal", not a "lez", and for them to be the same best friends they've always been. What will Emi-Lou be without Von? Nobody, she thinks. But Emi-Lou's desperate actions to hold on to her best friend just may break them apart forever.

Review: I didn't like this as much as Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers. I don't know if two books is enough to say there's a trend, but this is the second book where there are secondary characters who are queer (in the case of Name Me Nobody, quite a few of them), but while the main character gets called lesbian/dyke/etc. it turns out she isn't. And in this book, even though it's all about learning to accept her best friend is a lesbian, overall it kind of comes off as "whew, at least the protagonist isn't gay!"

I also wasn't thrilled with the weight-loss theme. I liked in Wild Meat that the main character just was fat and it wasn't about her losing weight. The weight issues in this book are all very realistic, but it made me sad that while her grandma said she would love her if she were a lesbian and gave this big speech about how Emi-lou should love Von for who she is, even in the end she was stil harping on Emi-lou's weight (and the fact that Emi-lou had starved herself and used diet pills to get thin was never really resolved).

Despite that, I did like the book quite a bit.

If anyone wants my copy (former library book, but good condition), let me know. I can only ship within the US.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers
Author: Lois-Ann Yamanaka
Number of Pages: 280 pages
Book Number/Goal: 24/30 for 2010
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: Growing up in Hawaii, Lovey Nariyoshi is having the worst year of her life. Overweight and unpopular, she's sick of being poor and settling for home-made and second-best. Her family thinks she's uppity and her schoolteacher scorns the way she talks. For, above all, Lovey is a Japanese-American: not white, not haole--and from the food she eats to the pidgin she speaks, nothing in her life fits the standard model of success.

Review: Oh, I loved this so much. This is maybe my favorite type of fiction ever, short stories about being a kid/growing up, but not for kids. I like children's lit/YA okay (some books I really love), but I prefer stuff about childhood and adolescence that is written for adults. I like the nostalgia of it. This is set in the early '70s, so it's a little before my time, but I can still recognise the pop culture references (of which there are many) and I can relate to it much better than stories about Kids Today.

If anyone wants my copy, just leave a comment. Unfortunately I can only afford shipping within the US. (Also if it makes a difference to you, this copy has very yellowed pages and a lot of notes and underlining.)


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