The Foxhole Court trilogy by Nora Sakavic, comprising “The Foxhole Court” (free), “The Raven King & The King’s Men: ‘The Foxhole Court’ had me hooked from the first line despite my misgivings regarding excessive violence and excessive sports. The writing is simply that good. Sakavic’s mastery of tension does nothing but improve in the two subsequent novels, culminating with the mastery that is The King’s Men. If you like damaged people who try their best and who manage, almost impossibly, to connect with each other, this series is for you. It follows Neil, who’s very name is fake because he and his mother spent the last decade running from Neil’s extremely violent and powerful father. With his mother, Neil goes for the only other thing in the world he’s been allowed to love: Exy. Exy is a mismatched combo of hockey, rugby and lacrosse and it’s probably the most exciting fictional sport after Quidditch (and flying is kinda cheating), or perhaps Sakavic’s gift for storytelling and Neil’s devotion make it seem so. I’m the kinda person whose gaze loses focus if she tries to follow a football match on tv but I was not simply following the games but gripping the table and hoping against hope that The Foxes, the last team in the college Exy division, could overcome their rivals and (maybe harder yet, their own rivalries) and win. I have reread these and they do not lose much for knowing the plot, but still, dear person on the ‘net, I wish I was you, reading this lines and with these pages still untouched.
“Unspoken” by Sarah Rees Brennan: The story of a small town British schoolgirl who is still speaking to her imaginary friend in secondary school. Kami (who is cool on a number of levels and wicked smart, is a part Japanese reporter inspired by Linda Day and Lois Lane) has been speaking to a boy in her head all her life and has pretty much accepted that she is not quite all there for this reason. Except that then the boy shows up in town, and he is real. Not just real, he is a Lynburn, from the family that has ruled the town since time immemorial. As we all know real boys cause way more trouble than imaginary ones… Kami fortunatelly has a loving family and a bunch of friends, a lot of them ladies themselves, who are ready to back her up and kick ass when everything goes crazy. Magic, mayhem, family, friendship, love and psychic bonds. The main romance is heterosexual but there is quite a bit of LGTB content, and Ms RB is clearly a feminist.
“Hallucinating Foucault” by Patricia Duncker: You know when you read a book and you kinda want to marry the writer´s brain? Well, Duncker wrote a whole novel about that feeling. Or two, depending how you look at it. The British main character is studying Paul Michael’s books for his thesis and ends up going to France to find the actual guy. Sounds like a good plan except that the guy is in an assylum after his last psychotic breakdown and there is no telling when he will have another one. Intimacy, writerly and readerly feelings, a bit of romance but mostly a lot of love. Bisexual/gay storylines.
“The Changeover” by Margaret Mahy: Basically the perfect young adult romance, it was written in 1984 and it has a more open-minded and “modern” perspective on women’s lives, race and relationships than many published this century. There’s a boy who should have been a girl but can, despite that, do magic. There’s a girl who is starting to see being a girl is not easy. There is profound evil and adults that don’t get it.
Magic, family, banter and good vs evil. And a bit of romance, too. I totally ‘stole’ the “a supernatural romance” subtitle for James and Hadrian