I'm catching up on my reading for pleasure this summer, and I just finished Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger, an excellent YA paranormal romance that was not at all the usual thing. I originally purchased it due to the author's promotional video (which you can view here) and to riff of his theme, I thought I'd share the seven reasons I truly enjoyed this book:
1. Being gay is normal. Which it is, except in romance fiction. In romance fiction gay characters are treated as perky protagonist sidekicks, perky protagonist shopping partners, perky gossipy co-workers and perky next door neighbor gourmet chefs who do nothing but cook more food than they can eat and so must deliver the overage to the protagonist while nattering on about their current crush (who is, alas, inevitably, tragically straight; this so the gay character will not have any real chance of having sex during the course of the story.)
2. It is indeed a page turner. The author kept me turning them until I finished it at 1:43 am. Which makes him the primary reason I reached for the evil caffeinated tea the next morning, and why I had to take a nap that afternoon.
3. The cat scene was cute. I tried to convince my cat Jeri to play fetch with me this morning. He yawned in my face and went back to dozing in the sun while he considered a new plan to get rid of the dogs.
4. The villain was way cool. I haven't had one make me cringe like that since my daughter made me watch Alien, which I did up until the face lobster thing, at which point I decided I could get the rest of the story from the TV guide synopsis.
5. Not romance-typical at all. On this I speak from experience, having written almost fifty romance and romance-friendly novels, and having read several thousand of the typical variety. I'm also physically handicapped, and I can assure you that despite our myriad attractions we're usually not considered by the general public as romantic material.
6. It does have something to say about these other-than-real-world realms where our teens spend so much time.
7. The promotional video was not cheesy. It actually got me to buy the book -- only the second book video to accomplish that -- and it inspired this list.
My only complaint is that the novel was too short, but any novel I enjoy this much usually is.
As always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, list the title of the last book you read that you enjoyed, and why (or if you're in a reading slump, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, July 8, 2011. I will draw seven names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger as well as a signed copy of After Midnight by Yours Truly. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.