Lunar Love Giveaway Hop

Literary Obsession is taking part in the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop which is being hosted by Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Lisa @ Bookworm Lisa.

Lunar Love Giveaway Hop Button

The description for this blog hop (quoted from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer) is: “This hop begins on the day of a full moon and will feature books with paranormal, supernatural, science fiction or space travel element or books that have something to do with the moon or have a moon on their cover.”

The book we are giving away for this hop is Fair Coin by E.C. Myers.  I gave this book 4 of 5 stars, and you can read the review here. It really was a fantastic piece of science fiction.  It’s a substantial book, so if you’re into fluff it’s not for you, but this one will make you think and give you warm snuggly feelings.  Ok, maybe not the warm snuggly part, but really – it’s good. Read it, even if you don’t win it here. :)

This giveaway is international to the countries on The Book Depositories ship-to list!  Check the list here. If your country is not on the list, I’m afraid I can’t ship to you due to incredibly high shipping costs.

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Love Triangles in Young Adult Novels

I just finished a book the other day (Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace) that had the most hideous and poorly written love triangle since Twilight. Or, well, did it?

Once I finished reading, I started thinking more about it. Really, I loathe love triangles. I don’t even like calling them “love” triangles, because they’re generally more about lust and instant-gratification than a true, deep love. Someone must love them, though, because they are -all-over-the-place- in Young Adult literature.  ALL over the place.

In fact, they’re so prevalent right now that when I started googling tonight to find some YA books that do -not- have a love triangle, I came across these two blog posts discussing exactly what I’m bringing up here: Julia from The Broke and the Bookish and Read.Breathe.Relax.

Their posts are so recent, in fact (both in February of this year), that I almost did not go ahead with writing this one. It’s been done, it’s been complained about…but, well, I won’t feel better til I put it out there. So here I go.

I know when my loathing began – Twilight, with Bella and her dopey inability to figure out whether she should be with stalker-esque Edward or I-love-you-even-though-you-love-him Jacob. That was seriously just brutal and inane.

Then I read others: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Wither by Lauren DeStefano…I’ll not even mention the various Twilight dupes.

At this point while compiling my still-incomplete list, I poked Bree of 1 Girl 2 Many Books and asked her for some input.  With her help, I added Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Matched by Allie Condie, and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (it apparently has TWO!). I have not read these three books, so I had to also ask her for the names of the characters involved in the Lust Triangles of Doom.  While trying to come up with the names for Shatter Me, she mentioned Juliette and Adam, but could only remember that the second male’s name started with a W (and Bree is a woman who remembers things, accurately and quickly most times). In fact, her exact words were, after she went looking for the name, “Ok, my review doesn’t mention the guy’s name. He was too cookie cutter for me to care about.” (The name is Warner, by the way – I googled it.)

Really, I think that sums it up quite nicely.  These stories are cookie cutter blocks of text set to a particular formula with only very slight deviations from one another.  Some are a little more nicely baked, others are flat, some are fluffy, and more than a few are just trash. So, why? Is it because “love” sells? Are authors using these things as crutches because of an inability to push a story forward with plots of substance?

Now, despite my utter hatred for most Lust Triangles of Doom, I will admit that some are done nicely.  For instance, the love triangle in The Hunger Games – I’ll call it love on this one because honestly, it seems like the feelings in all three characters are genuine and solid, not just thrown in willy nilly because it’ll make it easier to carry on to the second book. (Off-tangent onto another tangent – (Julia, you say this in your post, as well, and I totally agree) WHY the heck can’t we have any standalone YA novels? Everything -has- to be a series? Also, why are YA books so SHORT? Teenagers don’t all have 30 second attention spans, you know. But I digress…) Anyhow, Gale/Katniss/Peeta was so much less offensive and forced.

There’s also a sort of love triangle (though it’s a secondary part of the story that HELPS the plot rather than IS the plot) in another book I read recently, Fair Coin by E.C. Myers, that is tolerable. It might help that it’s a male protagonist with two girls in the picture, and that he always knows exactly which one he wants.

The third “good” one that I can think of can’t be mentioned here, as the second book in the trilogy has been released recently enough that I feel it’d be a spoiler to talk about it. It was unexpected, and believable.

What do you think? Are Lust Triangles of Doom overdone? In which novels do you think they’ve been written in a way that doesn’t grate the nerves? Why do you think so many authors are including them in their books?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Fair Coin by E.C. Myers

Book Cover of Fair Coin by E.C. MyersTitle: Fair Coin
Author: E.C. Myers
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Hardcover: 250 pages

Where’d I Get It: From the publisher

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day. 

Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own. 

The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out.

My Thoughts: Ephraim Scott, “Eph” to his friends, is a typical teenage boy living a typical (sadly, it -is- fairly common for children to deal with this situation) life.  He isn’t entirely happy, but he does seem to be coping; he has friends, he’s performing at an at least average level in school, and has a job that the reader can assume he appreciates.  Truthfully, though, he’s a boy who is hurting and he’s all too eager to step away from his not-so-idyllic life.

When he gets the opportunity to do so, he leaps at the chance. It’s through wishes and hopes and chance that Ephraim makes his way through the twists and turns of Mr. Myers fast-paced plot, and it’s really fun to try to figure out just what is going on and why.

What is not so typical about the story is the author’s portrayal of the teen mindset.  Ephraim is a young man with strong morals and willpower, though these traits only become truly apparent as we get further into the story.  There is character growth (though it’s gradual and not entirely deep) with all three of the “main” characters: Ephraim, Nathan, and Jena.  Jena is written as a girl with a brain who knows how to use it, Nathan is a many-layered personality, and Ephraim really has to evaluate his life, his choices, his feelings – his entire self. It’s interesting to watch it all unfold. As the book ends, Ephraim comes to the realization that life is what we make of it and that it’s each person’s responsibility to either stay the course or make changes.  It’s a really good lesson, albeit a subtle one.

I loved that despite having a male author, a male main character, and just an in general kind of “guy” feel to it, the female characters have strong, independent voices.  They may be mainly supporting characters, but they are important and they are not pushed into the shadows willy-nilly. What did bug me, quite a lot in fact (though it was not a huge part of the story), was when Ephraim and Jena pretty much blatantly ignore an act of abuse against a friend*.

There are a few bits of the book that make me scratch my head – portions I feel like were glossed over – such as the emotional reactions, or lack thereof, that two particular characters have to losing a friend. It’s a minor flaw, and not one I think takes anything away from the overall story. Also, I feel like there a few unanswered questions dangling there in the open, just waiting…and I’m hoping the sequel answers them for us.

E.C. Myers has written a novel that makes the reader think, which is something that is, sadly, often lacking in the Young Adult genre. He has not over simplified the SciFi aspects of the novel, showing that he has faith in the intelligence and comprehension levels of the young adults reading his novel, which is really rather great of him. Fair Coin is a young adult novel of substance. It is humorous, emotional, and complex in a refreshing way, and I think it’s a book that anyone who enjoys Science Fiction could really love.

Rating: 4 of 5

* – Ok, younglings. If you think/suspect a friend is being abused either physically or mentally, be it by a boyfriend or girlfriend, teacher, parent, the school bully, go tell someone.  Guidance counselors are there for a reason. Tell your parents. Tell the principal. Really, it’s ok to tell. Don’t turn a blind eye to it.