Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bookanista Thursday: LIKE MANDARIN

It's been a little while since I've done a Bookanista post, but that's what happens when you're all of a sudden doing promo for one book, revising another, and drafting a third.  Holy cow, I've been busy!  But luckily I had a chance a few weeks back to go to Kirsten Hubbard's LIKE MANDARIN launch, where I got my very own signed copy, and until I finished it, most everything else fell by the wayside because it is that gorgeous. 

From Goodreads:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Review:
There are some books I read and enjoy.  Others I read and adore.  And then, there are some I wish I'd written because they are so achingly beautiful.  LIKE MANDARIN is one of those ones. 

From the very first sentence: "The winds in Washokey make people go crazy," to the moment I reluctantly closed the book, I was captivated by Hubbard's writing.  The wildwinds whistle through the pages, and poignant emotions tumble through the space between the words.  Her prose sings.

And characters dance.

Grace, with all of her quirkiness and insecurity, is so tenderly written that you can't help but be there with her, yearning to break of her small town and be something different.

Someone like Mandarin.

And Mandarin. She's one of those almost mythic characters, so big and bold you can't help but be taken with her. But she's troubled too.  Vulnerable.  Scared.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that every bit of it is gorgeously rendered: the stark beauty of the badlands, the sensuous draw of Mandarin, and Grace's intense, tenuous relationship with her.  Hubbard captures the hugeness of the land and wind as expertly as she does the complicated nature of friendship and admiration between girls.  And what you get when you finish is a story that stays with you long after you've read its last lines.

If you've yet to read this gem, go get it.  You'll wish you'd written it.

And while you're at it, check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:


1 comment:

  1. I don't have Like Mandarin yet, but it's on the way to me now. I've only seen great things about it too, making me want to read it even more.