Today’s books all have quirky storylines and a subtle touch of something beyond natural in them! Be sure to check out the posts for Josie Silver & Rebecca Serle too!
I’ve told more people about this book than almost any other this year, especially people who have a connection or affinity to the 1980s. First I tell them, “You have to read this book!”
Then I tell them, “Just read the description of the book, and if you think it sounds good, then know it’s ten times better than it sounds.”
Because that’s how I feel about it.
Here’s the write-up:
Acclaimed novelist Quan Barry delivers a tour de female force in this delightful novel. Set in the coastal town of Danvers, Massachusetts, where the accusations began that led to the 1692 witch trials, We Ride Upon Sticks follows the 1989 Danvers High School Falcons field hockey team, who will do anything to make it to the state finals—even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers. In chapters dense with 1980s iconography—from Heathers to “big hair”—Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season.
Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily, original, and bold, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport and, more importantly, friendship.
This book is simply enchanting. Both a really fun read and at the same time a thought-provoking look at a variety of issues women deal with through-out life, and how a set of fierce, devoted friends can change everything.
I don’t know if anyone read Eleanor Brown’s fascinating title The Weird Sisters (2011), but one of the things that made that book quite unique was a kind of collective POV, meaning that no sister had her own chapter or scene, but that the whole narrative was kind of one voice that represented all of them. I recommend that book, but I bring it up here mostly because Quan has taken the same kind of narrative style/voice, and I think it really works in this book, and makes it even smarter, quirkier and more interesting.
There is a lot of quirky here, though, and it makes the book hilarious and whimsical, especially if one lived through The Eighties. There are pop culture references throughout, including a few magical touchstones that Quan is a little coy on – Was it magic? Or not?
It’s kind of left to the reader to decide, because the collective consciousness of the team isn’t telling how it feels, and the girls individually are pretty mum on the subject. Magic happened, for sure, but whether it was magic magic or friendship magic is a little hard to say.
I loved this book—one of my favorites so far this year—and hope, if you read it, you’ll find it as fun, joyful, touching and magical as I did.
I have not read her other fiction title, She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, but it also looks amazing, though maybe less light-hearted? This might be of particular interest to anyone of Vietnamese descent.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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