Recommended Reads: Euphoria, Honor Girl

I want to tell you about two books that I read last week. I've been saving Euphoria by Lily King to read since last year. It's a historical novel about anthropologists in 1930s Papua New Guinea, inspired by Margaret Mead's life. As a former anthropology grad student I found it fascinating and believable, and as a writer I found it beautiful, complex, and skillfully written. It inspired me to be less afraid of breaking the rules when writing myself. IMG_3847Euphoria also features queer main characters who are written as completely normal — and I'd expect nothing less of the visionary anthropologists who are the main characters. I honestly didn't even notice that the main characters were queer until well into the novel; the details and hints had been there all along, but it was so smoothly integrated, so normal, that it felt normal. It was so well done.

I also had the pleasure of reading Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, a young adult graphic memoir coming from Candlewick Press on Sept 8 (find it here). It's about a girl at a Christian summer camp falling for a camp counselor, an older girl. I was so captivated by the story and the illustrations. It had just the right combination of humor, honesty, and the rush of first love. Honor Girl is not so much a coming-out story as a coming-to-realization story, and it rang very true to me even though I've never been to a Christian summer camp. I highly recommend it.