Kat Rosenfield, author of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone (a great book, by the way) spoke to a group of YA librarians the other day (https://2headstogether.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/2-short-ones-from-two-heads-together/). Amelia Anne was her debut novel and although it’s been up for some awards, such as the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery, I’d still consider Ms. Rosenfield an ‘under the radar’ author. So, I asked her for some other under the radar authors and she recommended Nova Ren Suma, describing her as ‘literary’. Ms. Suma has written four books one of which is housed in our children’s area and the rest in Young Adult.
I started with her debut novel Dani Noir, the children’s book and will read them in order of publication. Although I probably wouldn’t classify it as ‘literary’, it was certainly well written and totally enjoyable. Danielle (Dani) Callanzano’s life is in turmoil. Her parents are recently divorced (after her father cheated on her mother). Her father is remarrying. Her mother is constantly crying and Dani can’t forgive her father. She’s spending her summer at the Little Arts Theater in upstate Shanosha, NY watching Noir movies and envisioning her life as movie scenes, with Rita Hayworth as the femme fatale. Dani definitely has trust issues…if her father lied to her, who else is lying to her.
When Dani sees a girl with polka dot leggings leaving the theater projection booth (manned by Jackson, who is Dani’s friend Elissa’s boyfriend) Dani goes into noir mystery mode, trying to find out what the story is. Along the way, she learns a few things about herself, about friends, life and love.
Now, if you’ve learned anything about me from reading this blog it’s that I’m totally into pulp mysteries. (I found a few more anthologies to add to my collection. Some people, Susan, might call me obsessed.) And guess what…some of those pulp era mysteries (The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Laura, The Postman Always Rings Twice) have been made into some of the best movies. So, not only did I read a fun book, but I came away with a list of 17 Noir movies I need to watch. (I’m starting out with Gilda (with Rita Hayworth) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (with Lana Turner). If these stars don’t qualify as femme fatales, I don’t know who would.)
I am totally looking forward to reading Ms. Suma’s second book, Imaginary Girls.