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Reviews
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
The Extremely High Tide! by Kir Fox and and M. Shelley Coats
Fearless Mary by Tami Charles and Claire Almon
Fire Storm by Andrew Lane
The Hollow under the Tree by Cary Fagan
The Horse in Harry's Room by Syd Hoff
I Date Dead People by Ann Kerns and Janina Görrissen
In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
The Misfits Club by Kieran Mark Crowley
The Missing Magic by Kallie George
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer
My Little Pony Micro-Series: #7 Cutie Mark Crusaders by Ted Anderson
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #8: Princess Celestia by Georgia Ball
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
Rust: Soul in the Machine by Royden Lepp
A Script for Danger by Carolyn Keene
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Snake Bite by Andrew Lane
SOS at Night by M.A. Wilson
Tintin in Tibet by Hergé
The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein
Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 07)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 14)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 21)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 28)
December 2018 Sources
December 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FF6666: orphan going offroad towards home

FF6633: orphans going home along the Blue Highway

FF6600: Orphans looking for home on the Interstate

FF33FF: orphans in rural places surrounded by cornfields

FF33CC and FF3399: rural orphans in the maze and labyrinth

Road Narrative Update for December 2018

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4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Canadian Book Challenge: 2019-2020



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Beneath the Sugar Sky: 01/11/19

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is the third in the Wayward Children series. This particular volume reminds me of Catherynne M. Valente's fairyland series, in particular September's uhoric relationship to Saturday.

The story opens back at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward children, shortly after the death of Sumi, meaning it is chronologically next to Every Heart a Doorway.

Out in the fields, a naked young woman crashes to earth. She says her name is Rini and she claims to be Sumi's daughter. But her mother died before she could even be conceived, so she has come to bring her mother back to life.

Rini's story is also very similar to that of the Winchesters in Supernatural. She has a family member, her mother, who shouldn't be dead yet, and she is going to journey across worlds to bring her back. In the process, she's going to fix her homeland — a cake based world called Confection that might as well be the Bubblegum kingdom, except that is on a planetary scale.

So while Rini could be argued to be an orphan, as she hasn't even been born yet in this timeline, I'm counting her and her "mostly-dead" mother as a family for the sake of defining the traveler in this road narrative spectrum story.

Although Rini's timeline isn't chronological, or rather, she's working on personal time that doesn't match with the Wayward School students', the ultimate destination is a utopia. Specifically, it's Confection, her home. Per her version of things, Sumi saved Confection from the current person ruling over it. But with her mother dead, Confection is slipping into a dystopian state.

Keep in mind, though, that Rini's desire to safe Confection and return it to it's freer condition, isn't what makes it a utopic destination. It is the fact that it is a fantasy world that is reachable through a certain door and that it runs on its own rules (namely baking metaphors). Utopia is a "no-place" not an especially good place.

Finally, there is the road taken to get to Confection. Though the path is varied, it is through the cornfield. Rini's landing is in the fields or gardens of the school. The first leg of the journey involves a trip to the land of the dead, which as we've seen through Lowriders to the Center of the Earth is the association of corn, cornfields, and corn mazes with the underworld. Then there is Confection itself, which is a bakery based world and ecosystem. That means, wheat, sugarcane, corn, among other farmed ingredients, albeit rendered into their foodstuff forms.

Placement of the three novels on the road narrative spectrum

Looking at the progression of the series across the spectrum, the book three has slipped into horror. It does this through the travelers being a family. The horror element is a family ripped apart before it has even had time to be formed. When the series started it was pure fantasy that used road narrative tropes. For the second book, which is a backstory, it stayed in the fantasy end, but moved into the same neighborhood as the Supernatural series: namely that of siblings traveling across worlds.

The next book in the series is In an Absent Dream (2019). I have a copy ordered and will read it as soon as it arrives.

Five stars

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