Tag Archive: Fifties Chix


I swear that there was a Halloween post, I swear that it went up and I saw it being all postedy and then it was gone the next day.

On a more positive note, Fifties Chix book one Travel to Tomorrow was released on the first from FastPencil.  This was one of my favorite first books in a new series so far this year and I look forward to the rest of the series when it comes.  So check it out, there’s a ton of nifty stuff on the website and you won’t have to wait too long for the next book.

Hello all, long time no review.  Classes have been doing their level best to eat my life, but who doesn’t feel that way.  Fall Break is coming up and I could use a nap.  Something, something, comic books on Wednesday, something, tired joke, something, Necronomicon, also that the Deadworld giveaway ends at midnight tonight.  Winners should be announced sometime tomorrow, Thursday at the latest.

Angela Sage Larsen’s Fifties Chix: Travel to Tomorrow appealed to me for two reasons when I first heard of it: history and time travel.  I wasn’t really sure if it would pull either off well given the amount of research needed for one and issues that tend to pop up in the other, but I was beyond pleasantly surprised.  The characters don’t magically know modern slang and continue talking like something from I Love Lucy throughout the book.  They aren’t just dumped into the future to fend for themselves.  Their families and classmates are still there, just different.  The book shows the characters trying to deal with life fifty-five years in the future and figure out how they got there in the first place.  It shows problems that they have and frames of reference that they’re missing.  Maxine gets an excellent moment with her family, specifically her cousin, because she was raised during the civil rights movement.  Stuff like that serves to illustrate the social differences of the times without dropping too many anvils.  Ann and Mary each get thrown for a loop at their families’ lack of religion in the future.

My only big issue with Travel to Tomorrow is that it’s obviously the first in a series and ends with a massive hook for the rest of the books.  I get that the hook is supposed to keep me interested in the series until the next one comes out but it also takes me out of the story with one big jolt; kind of like if half way through the book Maxine had started using modern slang or Bev just stopped being into sports for no reason.  My only other problem was with some of the handwriting used for the journal sections, and that was only because I’m terrible at reading cursive.

I enjoyed Travel to Tomorrow immensely.  It was definitely written to a younger audience but managed to mostly avert writing down to them.  It made my inner history nerd practically dance.  That said, it loses points for the obvious hook.  I dislike it when something big is confirmed and then I have to wait for the next book.  So, what’s the verdict?  I’m giving Travel to Tomorrow a four out of five.  I’m also making note of some of the phrases in the last chapter/glossary to use in messing with my friends.

Guest Post Angela Larsen!

As you guys probably noticed, I missed Saturday pretty hard.  That’s going to be fixed soon, but is also not the reason I’m posting.  We’ve got a guest post today from the author of that very book.  Ms. Larsen’s been so kind as to write a guest post for us about character driven books, so I’m going to stop babbling and get to the part everyone’s here for.

CHARACTER DRIVEN

Guest post by YA Author, Angela Sage Larsen

 

“Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure,” writes Madeleine L’Engle in her classic, A Wrinkle in Time. Meg is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. She goes on a great journey through time and space to rescue her father, but really, of course, she rescues herself. What a great story line!

 

There are basically two kinds of story lines: plot-driven and character-driven. While I love a story that moves along and has a lot of action, I’m partial to the stories that are carried by strong characters (who find themselves in difficult situations, because let’s face it, every story has conflict). What they do in reaction to those situations not only gives us a glimpse into their soul, it impels the story forward and makes the plot that much more promising, as in A Wrinkle in Time. When I write (or read, for that matter) from the standpoint of well-developed characters, the plot becomes more exciting because it isn’t something that happens incidentally or outside of the characters, but it is a part of them. The plot almost seems like another character playing off of the protagonist.

 

As an author, I’m inspired to write narratives that are character-driven in another way, too. I’m passionate about stories that have a depth to them (OK, you can call them a message); but, most art does say something. I’m particularly vehement about characters who have, well…character (sorry, I really did use a Thesaurus, but that’s the only word that works!). Especially strong females who might find themselves in less than ideal situations but through their character they are defined, and find their true selves; the conflict does not define them, they are able to raise above it (which, of course, generally requires a struggle). I love the etymology of “character;” it comes from root words meaning, “engraved mark,” also “symbol or imprint on the soul,” “to engrave/pointed stake,” to the meaning extended by metaphor to “a defining quality.”

 

The idea of character is now more important than ever; not only in entertainment and literature for kids, young adults, and adults, but in life. We are being hounded by images and messages that would whittle us down to sex-crazed, depraved consumers, obsessed with material accoutrements and cheap quick fixes (maybe that’s the darkness Ms. L’Engle wrote about??). Unfortunately, these “defining qualities” are being spoon-fed especially to young girls. Anyone call tell you, when the doo-doo hits the fan, merely being pretty, skinny, or sexy ain’t gonna help (just ask Katniss Everdeen*). It’s quite a disservice to encourage–or maybe worse, remain apathetic about–these messages as being legit. Aren’t the best books about characters who buck the establishment and find their own way? We need more books for kids about girls who rebel against this perceived “normal” and find the true substance of themselves beyond the shallow husk of mere physicality.

 

Here are some of my favorite, character-driven middle grade/YA books:

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattilo Beals

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Montgomery

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Divergent by Veronica Roth

_____________

Bio:

Angela grew up hearing “what a character!” practically every day (which may or may not have been complimentary). It rubbed off because her life is filled with characters and a search for character. She is the author of the brand new young adult series, Fifties Chix (FiftiesChix.com) about 5 time-traveling teens. The first book is called Travel to Tomorrow. She maintains a blog at AngelaSageLarsen.com.