Tuesday, May 26, 2009
29. "The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don't Mind" - Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Young adult fiction has found a new, kick-ass voice.
Morgan lives in "Central Nowhere," Nebraska, writing fortune cookie slogans in her head while stocking shelves at the local grocery store. She is furious with her family, annoyed with her boyfriend, and indifferent to "the Girls I Sit By At Lunch." Morgan wants out of there, wants it so desperately that sometimes she has to drive to the hills bordering the edge of a valley and scream, "[...]ALIENS TAKE ME NOW, 15 times, shouted into the air. Then I AM INSANE and DIE ASSHOLE DIE and BITE ME, but only five times each."
Morgan is also frustrated because Tessa, her neighbor, kissed her in a hammock, and Morgan liked it. But Central Nowhere is the last place where alternate sexualities are tolerated, so Morgan stays with Derek, the dumb jock, lusts after Rob, the assistant manager at work, and worries about her connections to Tessa, as well as her own sexuality.
I haven't been this excited about a book for teens since Judy Blume's "Forever," and I still have a copy of that with red ink circling my favorite parts. Morgan is quite different from Katherine, though; one time, she screams, "I am a secret sex fiend!" and her fortunes advise against having sex in the front seat of a car. Morgan's voice is the driving force of this novel in a genre where teenage girls are praised for their timidness or silence (yes, Bella, I am talking to you).
Cronn-Mills creates characters of substance, from Tessa and her Kool-Aid tinted hair to Morgan's grandmother and her closet filled with special organ-playing shoes. But it is the dialogue that hit me, especially when I was at the grocery store recently and heard a teen girl say, "He's not into you? No, all he wants is to get into you." I thought I found Morgan in the pickle aisle. Her voice resonates long after you turn the last page.
4.75 out of 5.0 Skittles.