Q: What is this place?
A: A blog where we post in-depth analytical reviews of children’s/YA books in the fantasy and science fiction genres. And some other stuff, too.
Q: Why would you do that?
A: Because it’s what we were reading and discussing with one another, anyway. Besides, we have to do something with these expensive liberal arts degrees, and it was either this or grad school.
Q: Okay, but seriously. Why do you do this?
A: All righty. Basically, the two of us are unabashed lefty, progressive, feminist, anti-racist ,GLBT-allied type people (or at least, we try to be). So when we look at a book, that’s the perspective we’re coming from. Meaning we get really excited when we see those themes represented well — a rarity — and really disappointed and/or angry (depending on the book) when they’re represented poorly. We almost always talk about them either way, frequently examining subtext and cultural themes and genre tropes in those terms. If this sounds to you like a good time, you are in the right place!
For the record: we are not doing this to be unabashedly negative, nor are we just looking for things to criticize and nitpick. These really are the things we think about when reading, and they really are important to us.
Q: Who are you? How did you meet? How can you be contacted?
A: Jess (Jessica Plummer) works in marketing at an academic publisher after a whirlwind stint of being jumped upon by children professionally. Prior to that she wrote not one but two theses on comic books for Barnard College, which sadly failed to give her superpowers. She loves semicolons, knee socks, and analyzing narrative cycles aimed at teenage girls. Rumors of a secret desire to bring tap dancing back into the mainstream via tween-friendly movie musicals remain unconfirmed.
Rebecca (known offline as Becky Allen) is a farmer’s daughter turned New Yorker, and currently employed at an excellent and informative health publisher, proving that yes, you can eventually find employment with a degree in American Studies. She lives with her older sister and a ball of fuzzy anger that vaguely resembles a cat; she eats a lot of pasta, uses the serial comma, and drinks way too much Coke.
The two of us met through fandom, and now that we’re living in the same general area, we’ve hit levels of codependence that may not be healthy. We’re working on co-writing a kids’ book. You should be shocked by that knowledge.
Q: What categories do you use around here?
A: Jess has written up a list of definitions here. We know they don’t always jive with traditional subgenre categorizations…but ours are cooler.
Q: Why cupcakes?
A: We like cupcakes.
Q: Why Active Voice?
A: Because we read actively! And voice our opinions! And it’s a writing term! Get it? Huh?
Q: I don’t see my comment! What’s the what?
A: Sometimes WordPress sticks comments in the moderation queue. We’re not sure what criteria it uses to do so, but it seems to involve excessive exclamation points and/or insulting words and phrases and/or offers to sell us products to enhance our manhood, so if your comment included one or more of those things, that might be why it’s taking a while to show up. Never fear, if your comment is legit we’ll approve it next time we log in. Which brings us to…
Q: If you don’t like this book, you shouldn’t read it!/ I like this book and what you said is disrespectful and offends me!/ You shouldn’t tell people what they can and can’t read!
A: Well, if we don’t read it, how will we know if we like it? In all seriousness, though, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but just because we don’t like a book doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like it or read it. You have the right to read what you want to read and feel the way you want to feel about the books. That said, so do we.
Q: Miley like a puma?
A: In-jokes are hilarious!