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Nora Olsen

Autor(a) de Swans & Klons

6+ Works 107 Membros 9 Críticas

Obras por Nora Olsen

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Maxine Wore Black by Nora Olsen is a story that takes place around a transgender girl named Jayla. Jayla is a shy person and feels inadequate about herself due to a lot of different reasons. She is a high school dropout and due to that has to take menial jobs just to get by. One night Jayla and her best friend Francesca go to gay prom and during this event Jayla meets Maxine and completely falls for her. Maxine has a girlfriend already but this does not stop her from pursuing Jayla. Jayla feels bad that Maxine wants to cheat on her girlfriend Becky with her so she tells Maxine that while she is still in a relationship nothing can happen. Now at this point the book was dragging and I was hoping it would pick up and get better. Wrong. It did not get better it just got strange. Maxine kills Becky then calls Jayla to help her cover it up. Which Jayla does because she is so in love with Maxine yet she barely knows her. Who in the world would do that? Jayla thinks Maxine "belonged to royalty of another time period". The police decide that becky committed suicide. Which does not add up. Maxine is actually takes control of Jayla's life and she basically lets her. And at no point did I ever see this as the abused partner scenario like the author tried to make it look like. Jayla knew that Maxine committed murder but loved her so much it did not matter.

The book gets weird and there are parts of it that had been properly put in the book and pursued it would have given the story some bit of a realistic and enjoyable plot. Jayla's best friend Francesca who now never sees or talks to her is not concerned about her. Why? Or like the autistic child Jayla would babysit for who saw the whole murder take place. Jayla tells Becky's mother in a letter what really happened to her daughter and that Maxine killed her. What Becky's mother did made no sense. Even Becky's best friend Danny who she has known her whole life knows Maxine is guilty. I tried not to give too much information away about the story.

Watch out could Maxine still be out there?

I got this book from NetGalley for a honest review...
… (mais)
THCForPain | May 27, 2016 |
My review of this book is probably going to be as disjointed as the book itself is.

Ugh, where do I even begin? I wanted to like this book; I truly did. And even though I ended up thinking that the book was meh, there were a few good things to be found within its pages:

1) Desi - Yes, finally, a character with Down's Syndrome who is a real person and not a stereotype. Desi's relationship with her sister Clarissa was such a typical sisterly relationship, alternating between loving one another and wanting to strangle one another. And even though people with Down's Syndrome are typically portrayed as 100% sweet and hugs, Desi isn't that. Sure, she can be sweet. She also has a temper. My niece has Down's Syndrome, and even though she loves hugs and tends to be very sweet much of the time, she can and will also whallop the crap out of her younger brother and throw fits to get what she wants like any other child. Because, guess what? She IS a child. And I loved how the author made Desi just like that as well.

2) Clarissa is bisexual and confronts the bisexual myths head-on ("why don't you pick a side," "does this mean you want to date more than one person," etc). She doesn't become a lesbian, even though she has a girlfriend. She still identifies as bi at the end of the book.

3) The housing crisis is portrayed pretty well here. Clarissa's parents are facing a lot of money problems, and the predatory lending schemes that came to light in 2007/2008 are really put on display here. I liked that. I would love to read more leftist politics in my lesbian fiction.

And that's about all that I liked.

So what didn't I like? Well, it was the same tired case of instalove. The characters go from despising one another to loving one another really quickly. And then there was the ridiculous (and yet seemingly obligatory) "misunderstanding" that tears the lovebirds apart for fifty or so pages until they realize, hey, we should have just talked to one another and smoothed things out, lol. I'm kind of sick of that trope, to be honest.

And speaking of tropes - ugh. Lexie was super tropey. As was Clarissa, to be honest. And I had VEGAN RAGE when Lexie made a big deal about being environmentally conscious and being a vegan for 90% of the book, only to eat cheese pizza because Desi made a mistake when she ordered for her. Like it would be so fucking hard to go back to the counter and say, hey, I want a slice of cheeseless. But, nope, Lexie just eats it - and likes it. Ick. Look, I haven't had cheese in a while, but I used to be a cheese fiend. And I slipped a couple of times in my own vegan path and ate cheese. And each time I was guilty feeling as fuck because I knew that I was going against my principles. The last time I ate cheese, after not eating cheese for months, the cheese was literally so disgusting that I almost vomited. It was just so thick and oozy and gross. So my palate doesn't even want cheese anymore. And if Lexie had been vegan for a while, she'd probably have the same reaction (I know several vegans who "slipped" only to discover that they no longer even liked cheese or milk). And I just hate that nearly every vegan character in a young adult book (which are damned few and far between) either "cheat" without any remorse or give up being vegan because it's no longer hip. Sigh. Can I just have one fucking vegan character who stays vegan throughout a book? Please?


Anyway, this book felt like it didn't know what it wanted to be. There were just too many poorly-developed plot lines. Is this book about Clarissa founding a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at her school? No, because it's only mentioned a couple of times. Is it about Clarissa coming out? Ha, no, because she literally just decides one day that she must be bisexual. Is it about Lexie realizing her own privilege? Nope. Is it about getting Desi elected as homecoming queen? Not really, because that's sporadic at best. It's just a pile of loose threads.
… (mais)
schatzi | 2 outras críticas | Oct 16, 2015 |
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Recommended?: It’s not a terrible read, but the characters are tropey and flat, the dialog left me feeling disconnected, and the ending was unbelievable. I’m glad I read it, but I can’t unreservedly recommend it, either.


I was ecstatic when I first heard about this book, because everyone who talked about it was quick to mention that it was a love story between teen girls, one lesbian and one who actually used the label “bisexual.” Do you know how rare it is for a bisexual character to actually use the word bisexual? Really damn rare.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters the way I hoped, and the book didn’t live up to the hype. The relationship absolutely did. It was fun and cute, the two girls adorable, and I love that they are so different, so frustrated with each other, and then fall in love. Mostly, it was the dialog that killed it for me; there were a lot of places where the dialog read more like a textbook entry about the topic, from subprime mortgages to ableism to biphobia. I love that the book addressed these topics so, so much, but I wish it had been more smoothly integrated into the text, on a writing basis.

Character-wise, both Clarissa and Lexie are in turns adorable and annoying, wonderful and horrible, and a lot of fun to spend some time with as a reader. I also loved Clarissa’s sister, Desi. Desi has Down Syndrome and really wants to be Homecoming Queen because this is her senior year. She has a boyfriend who we don’t see much of, but their relationship is pretty delightful from what we do see. There are a lot of moments where other people, including Lexie, say shitty, ableist things (often when they are trying to say nice things, which happens a lot in real life, too), but the text is pretty clearly against that, and we are supposed to understand that isn’t the right thing to do. Mostly, I think Desi is a pretty solid character with her own motivations who isn’t just there to be a lesson or inspiration, or to add to Clarissa’s character. Desi and Clarissa have a pretty delightful sibling relationship, fighting each other, but also working together when they need to team up.

Example of the say a nice thing, still be ableist:

“Don’t you know that people with Down Syndrome are incapable of lying?” my dad said. I thought that was going too far, but the officer flipped his book closed and said, “I believe it, sir. They’re like angels from heaven. Have a good night.”

Clarissa’s internal coming out is also pretty much a non-entity. She figures out she’s bisexual in a way that seems really casual, but is at the same time, a nice alternative to the more deep, painful realizations we often see in media (and experience ourselves, sometimes; mine was more like Clarissa’s, to be honest, pretty casual), and her coming out to her parents, while not great, is straightforward. I wish we’d seen a little more of her reaction to things, but that’s a weakness throughout the book. We’re deep in the girls’ heads (alternating chapters between them), but there is a lot of telling the reader how things are, not showing us.

Finally, there’s a completely unbelievable event at the end of the book that both stretched my suspension of belief to breaking and reminded me that, no matter what else is going on with them, these girls are pretty damn privileged in their whiteness. Further, racism is not addressed in all this other diversity talk.

Overall, I enjoyed reading it, and I’ll probably check out Olsen’s other books, but the characters are pretty tropey and shallow, the dialog needs work, and the ending left me filled with pure disbelief. I don’t regret reading it, but I don’t know that I’ll ever reread it, either.
… (mais)
carlamlee | 2 outras críticas | Aug 1, 2015 |
I received a copy from Netgalley.

The premise of this book sounded really good. And at first it was, I quite liked the idea of an all female futuristic society, and there was some logical explanation as to how the female society is divided and where they came from. The basic purpose of the humans seems to be live a rich and full live, and all the manual works and dull jobs are done by what appear to be genetically engineered slaves called Klons,

Females grow up at an academy and when they are sixteen they are paired with a mentor from the city. The story starts off promising, we meet the main character Ruberic, she's creative and artsy and dying to get a well known artist as her mentor. We also meet her love interest, Salmon Jo (that name drove me nuts) who was more sciency and quite bold and smart.

They uncover a secret about the Klons that shatters Ruberic's world and the rest of the novel is about them trying to deal with it. It...wasn't as good as it could have been. Ruberic got to be a very annoying character, she seemed quite shallow...and got annoyed when people didn't seem to like her way of thinking. And while she and the girlfriend complimented each other well, I didn't get the feeling of closeness between them other than a very close best friends with some major kissing. Ruberic talks about how much she loves SJ, and several occasions does stupid things to choose her over all others...but, meh. I didn't feel it.

Whole I liked that both girls wanted to do something about the secret they discovered, and Ruberic's idealism in dealing with the problem...they seemed to dive into their mission without much thought other than feeling it along as they went. It worked for a while but got quite irritating that a lot of it seemed to be luck.

By the end I wanted to slap Ruberic several times. She wound up grating on my nerves with her decisions.

The writing itself was flawless, and the story was nicely fast paced, I read it in a few days and would very much like to read something from this author again. Unfortunately, with this one, the characters just didn't do it for me.
… (mais)
sunset_x_cocktail | 4 outras críticas | Aug 20, 2014 |


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