Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
by Reif Larsen

Adult fiction

Tecumseh Sparrow "T.S." Spivet is a genius cartographer. He revels in the world's details and patterns, carefully fitting them together so that they make sense. Descended from a long line of ranchers named Tecumseh, he lives on the Coppertop Ranch in Montana with his slow-talking, whiskey-drinking father; his biologist mother; and his bored 16-year-old sister. T.S. is twelve, although even he forgets this fact sometimes. When he gets a call from the Smithsonian awarding him the prestigious Baird Award, he hops a freight train to the nation's capital. In this book, which is full of T.S.'s observations and maps, we see the world through the eyes of a Cheerio-obsessed twelve-year-old with the wisdom of an old soul. It is funny, tender, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and full of insight. On every page there was something that I wanted to read aloud. Watch for this in May.

Academy 7
By Anne Osterlund
Young Adult Science Fiction

This one took me by surprise. Last year I read and liked Aurelia, Osterlund's debut novel, but with this one I felt that she really hit her stride. Aurelia is a sort of medieval princess espionage romance, so I was expecting something a little like that--but it was clear in the first few pages that Academy 7 is 100% science fiction. It's got a really well-developed political universe, and the characters feel very authentic within it. Aerin and Dane, the two main characters, find themselves at the universe's most elite academy, surrounded by students who fit in a bit better than Aerin and Dane do. As the year goes on, they are thrown together more and more until their bond is finally tested. Osterlund builds suspense by releasing one little detail at a time...I couldn't put this down until the story was over. Watch for this one in May, too.

No comments: