A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
The View from the Den.
(Message from Eve and Moira: Before we start, we need to state the blindingly obvious: that Lisa is both a fellow Book Fox and our personal friend – so by no fevered stretch of the imagination could what follows be described as completely unbiased. That said, if we didn’t honestly think it was a fabulous book, we wouldn’t be falling over each other in public to say so.)
I personally think that Lisa should be done for cruelty to the reading public. And she looks like such a NICE girl, too.
I hold my hand up to being in two minds about reading Air because I loved Blue so much, and I didn’t think the sequel could possibly live up to it. I bought it as soon as it came out, then sat staring at it for about a week before I managed to screw up the courage to open it – and when I finally did open it and start to read I knew before I was half way through the first chapter that I needn’t have worried. It’s an absolute cracker. For the first time in years, I read into the night and then picked it up again first thing next morning and finished it. I don’t remember the last time I read a book in under 12 hours.
And what a cliffhanger ….
(No spoilers, Eve. Did you hear me? I SAID NO SPOILERS.)
Eve: I really think there should have been a post-Air Helpline number on the last page of the book. I would have been on the phone for days!
I had Air on pre order so it was in my Kindle the morning of release and I dived right in. I admit the same as you, that I thought Blue was so incredibly brilliant – but that made me even more excited for Air. I guessed that it would be Iris and Zeke on tour, but I didn’t foresee the absolute tumult they would go through. I swear my Kindle was almost on fire from the second Air hit it. But the cliffhanger. Oh. Em. Gee. I tweeted Lisa. I Facebooked her. Emailed. Texted. I was that close to buying a plane ticket to go down and throttle her…
(Shut me up with the ‘no spoilers’ …)
M: I didn’t see that ending coming at all … which is very unusual for me. I normally get there at least a few pages – and often several chapters – before the book does, but I this case I was gallumphing off in a whole other direction … and I loved being so thoroughly wrong-footed. And yet … how to say this without letting loose a humungous spoiler? … When it came, it was absolutely right.
But we don’t want to give the impression that the book’s be-all and end-all is its ending; at the heart of Air is a completely believable teen relationship … two young people, both strangers to commitment, trying to adapt to a dramatic change in their circumstances while at the same time coping with life on the surf circuit. It’s stonkingly well written.
E: It’s absolutely NOT all about the ending. I am so in love with both Zeke and Iris and I just want to know they’ll live happily together forever, with matching surfboards growing old in a little house on the beach – and while Blue was all about the tension and thrill of wishing they would actually get together, Air is more about how they cope with their new life as a couple. They’re away from home, competing, meeting a whole new set of people, living out of suitcases in hotels and pretty cut off from the outside world. This life is quite normal for Zeke, but totally alien for Iris. And SO MUCH HAPPENS. And I did flip pages racing for the end because I desperately needed to know they would be okay and that they were searching Zoopla for a beach house for two…
M: The whole way the relationship in Air develops and changes is so beautifully done, I thought. And Iris rapidly becomes the more grown up of the two, doesn’t she – in spite of being the younger half of the partnership? A result of her being less cosseted than Zeke and more streetwise.
Zeke’s unexpected behaviour was a particularly clever development though, and that’s one of the many things I love about Lisa’s writing – the way she throws curves into the story when you least expect them, sending it off in new directions and giving it a wonderful edge.
E: I completely agree. And the really clever way she brought out the emotional changes through their circumstances, that unexpected obstacles were thrown in their way and that they each reacted differently to them was superbly done. So often I read novels where the character just strops off, or throws a party or does something out of left field … just because. But Iris and Zeke grow and change in Air in such new and different ways because of what happens to them, their development is beautifully managed. But Lisa just threw struggle after struggle at the poor couple. I was SO stressed for them.
For me, I felt Air was a more serious novel than Blue. I’m not sure if serious is the right word, more grown-up maybe? The way Zeke and Iris are almost completely isolated, away from home, and coping with adult situations really made them seem so far from the people they were in Blue. It was a brilliant way to move them on, and their relationship to the next level.
M: Yes, Blue was definitely a teen romance, albeit with an interesting spin, but Air is moving the story and Iris and Zeke on, just as life moves on.
And it’s a really immersive experience reading it. The characters are so well drawn and so convincing, that you’re right in there with them, willing it all to come right, hitting your head against the wall when it doesn’t (metaphorically in my case, but I can’t speak for you of course) and then yelping “Well, of COURSE!” when the central mystery is explained.
Book three is scheduled for next summer. It’s a long way away from where I’m sitting …
E: It is far too long until Ride comes out! I feel we need to stage some sort of protest or something. I foresee that it will be such an emotional close to the trilogy and I’m going to be utterly devastated if they don’t get their beach house. Lisa puts them through so much trauma in every book – though I can guarantee whatever happens it’ll be a roller coaster. And I totally agree, her ability to immerse you into the lives of Zeke and Iris and the world they live in is just stunning and I am almost holding my breath until I resurface. It’s going to be the longest wait ever for the finale, but I know it’s going to be epic, whatever happens.
Quercus Children’s Books. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1848663428. 352pp.