Monday's Muse, 57th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Iris by Goo Goo Dolls.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to one of several places, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:
Blind Characters.

[This one is a work in progress. Do you know of any novels where a blind person is the main character?]

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier.

Debut author Auxier spins a lively, magical adventure led by 10-year-old PeterNimble, a blind orphan and "the greatest thief who ever lived." Peter has always had to fend for himself, and after five grueling years of working for a heartless beggarmonger and perfecting his burgling skills, he uncovers a box filled with three sets of stone eyes: gold, onyx, and emerald. The first set transports him to a hidden island where the psychic Professor Cake awaits. The professor provides Peter with a companion (Sir Tode, a half-cat, half-horse knight) and a mission: to solve a riddle and save the Vanished Kingdom from an evil king. Peter and Sir Tode set sail unarmed, aside from their kind natures, faith that the eyes will guide them, and Peter's skill at picking locks ("He considered every lock to be a personal challenge. By definition, locks are designed to tell you what you can't do"). At times the omniscient narrator can feel overly precious, but the fast-paced, episodic story, accompanied by Auxier's occasional pen-and-ink drawings, is inventive, unpredictable, and—like its hero—nimble. --Publishers Weekly, (vol 258, issue 27).

 Gifts by Ursula Le Guin.

When a young man in the Uplands blinds himself rather than use his gift of "unmaking"--a violent talent shared by members of his family--he upsets the precarious balance of power among rival, feuding families, each of which has a strange and deadly talent of its own.

Following Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci.

Legally-blind college reporter Mike Mavic hopes to get a story about a body found in Steepleton, believed to be that of long-missing tee Christopher Creed, but finds something odd about the town, including Justin Creed's obsessive drive to learn what really happened to his older brother. (Sequel to The Body of Christopher Creed).

Girl, Stolen by April Henry.

Bad: 16-year-old Cheyenne is sick with pneumonia. Badder: while her mother runs into the pharmacy, a young man steals the car, not realizing that Cheyenne is in the backseat. Worst: getting out of this situation is going to be even harder than expected, because Cheyenne is blind. This constant one-upping of the threat level is what gives Henry’s thriller its hurtling, downhill velocity. And, as it turns out, Cheyenne’s father is rich, which turns the accidental kidnapping into a ransom situation. But the plot is actually of secondary concern; the relationship between Cheyenne and the only kidnapper who is kind to her, a teen named Griffin, constitutes the novel’s central push and pull. Is there a genuine understanding and affection brewing between these two damaged teens? Or is this a case of Stockholm syndrome? Henry is particularly deft at portraying the vacillating level of trust between the two, and her research on living with blindness pays dividends in authenticity. Fairly predictable, but thoroughly exciting. -- Kraus, Daniel, Booklist (vol 107, number 2, p64).

 Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Elizabeth Miller.

Filled with the tension, animosity, and determination that Annie Sullivan felt upon meeting Helen Keller, this novel portrays that most important month in their relationship, March 1887. The story is told through Annie's voice, and it begins as she travels by train from Boston to Tuscumbia, AL. The child she has been hired to teach is both deaf and blind, and there is only one previous case study that suggests that the six-year-old will ever be able to learn. As the story unfolds, readers see that strong-willed Annie is just the person to take on this formidable task. Her anger at Helen for her contrary ways is matched only by her disgust at the Kellers for allowing the girl to control everyone in the family and have her way. The incident during which Helen breaks a tooth in Annie's mouth with a well-placed punch is vividly recounted, and readers have great sympathy for the teacher's desire to get even. In spite of her own temper, the fierce love Annie feels, almost immediately, for Helen, is evident throughout. Although the flashbacks describing Annie's life before she arrived at the Kellers' interferes at times with the story's momentum, this excellent novel is compelling reading even for those familiar with the Keller/Sullivan experience. Children encountering them for the first time will feel an overwhelming sense of wonder and delight when Annie helps Helen make a communication breakthrough.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD, School Library Journal (vol 53, issue 7, p107).


Kirthi said...

Hi Heather :)
I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I haven't read any of these books, but I definitely will! Blind characters are kind of a nightmare for me as a writer, because I can't write in first person and want to say "The sky was dark" or something, because the character can't tell!
I'm eager to see how these authors have accomplished that :)