This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget.

In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night.

But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless…dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.

A lot of other people have described this book in a lot better ways than I will here. And they compare it to this film and that book and this author (usually all things I have never heard of, because I'm really not worldly, on account of being sixteen and geographically isolated and spending most of my time having existential crises. But this review isn't about me, damn it!)

So I'm going to try and express how I felt about the book. I can't find quite the right word to describe it (the Germans probably have a word for it, because the Germans have a word for everything. I need to learn another language, I think) so I'm going to use a whole bunch of different adjectives and maybe that will come close. Okay?

This Is Shyness is beautiful and hilarious and unique and dark and strange and wondrous and unputdownable (I overuse that word terribly and I don't even think it really is a word, but I mean it) and bizarre. This Is Shyness is the sort of book that I wish I could disappear inside and live in this strange suburb where it's always night and have existential crises there.

I could say that it Wildgirl reminds me of Daria, and when I read it I imagined it as a graphic novel in my head (I would love to see this turned into a graphic novel, though the words alone are already halfway there. I'd also like to see a film version of it, all in black and red). I could compare it to a lot of other things I read, but not particularly well, because it's totally unlike anything I've read before. I want to find out what happens after the book ends. Desperately.

I usually don't like reading books that I've heard great things about, because they often disappoint (like when I went to see Inception and was expecting my socks to be knocked off and they kind of weren't, even though it was good). But this didn't. This was knock-your-socks-off material. For me at least. Go check it out now.

On the publisher website
On the author website
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