We also hit up the cinema a few times (Deadpool, Star Wars), saw Blue Man Group, and uh... coped with the violent food poisoning American "pudding" gave me on what should have been my last night there. On the plus side, that meant I got to spend a few extra days with everyone. On the minus side, my poor ambulance-driving friend got so worried she almost summoned her EMT friends to give me IV fluids. So that was fun.
Naturally, I was far too busy running around seeing Chicago and mucking about with lovely people to get any reading done, so... Only three books in the two weeks or so I was there, and a couple when I got home. Shortest roundup yet, GO:
Sirens edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Stumbled across this in a thrift shop down the road from my friends' place in Chicago, shortly after I finished Snow White, Blood Red. So for 25 cents, I figured I had to buy it. It was good fun, and I was considering giving it to my friends to read after I was done... up until I read one particular story - The Eye of the Storm by Kelley Eskridge. I have fallen head over heels in love with this story for no obvious reason. Aside from the polyamory and the genderqueerness and the general explosion of LGBT+ glory all over the supposedly standard medieval fantasy setting, that is. I am only distraught that there is no novel (series, opus, canon, tie in everything) with these characters. Gyah. I kept the book. That glorious little beauty is mine, all mine.
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
I've been meaning to read Diane Duane for ages and not got around to any. This one, too, was in the thrift shop for 25 cents, so even though that picture above is indeed the cover I suffered through (look at it, it's hideous) I figured it was worth that much. And yes, it was good fun. I wish I'd read it fifteen years ago, when it would have captured me even more, but I still enjoyed it enough to want to read the rest of the series. Solid little middle grade fantasy.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I feel bad about this one. I borrowed my friend's copy while I was over there, and she and her sister raved about it to me, but... Manic pixie dream girl Bridge to Terabithia been there done that sigh yawn eyeroll? I found it predictable, cliched, and trying just a little too hard to be edgy. Plus I read the special anniversary edition, with preface about how the writing of it came about, and it came across, to me, with an unfortunate lack of acknowledgement of all the YA that has come before and dealt with these subjects. It's far from the first to do what it does, and just a bit more awareness of that would have helped. Sorry, guys. This one really wasn't for me.
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman
Slightly odd, this. It was brilliant once it got going, but took a little while (and I do mean little) to bring in Cathy, who I'd consider the main character. As soon as she was on scene, I was on board. Through Cathy, we are introduced to the Split Worlds, and the Nether which lies between them. Through Cathy, we learn just how restrictive and horrible the Nether can be. Through Cathy, we uncover more about the world and its systems, and the dastardly plots going on behind the scenes. I love her, and am heartily glad I have book two to hand...
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I felt so guilty about not liking Looking for Alaska that I figured I'd try John Green again, and happened to have this one lying around at home anyway. (I acquire books via osmosis and magic.) I thought this was better than Alaska, which was a relief. The characters were more engaging and less prone to existing purely to inspire the others (although that played a hefty part again). I still feel a bit like I've read this before in my early teens, but it bothered me a little less in this one. I can see why it's such a big hit, though.