Author: Leanne Hall
Classification: YA Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Perhaps the only appropriate word for This is Shyness, Leanne Hall's 24 hour dystopian/fantasy, is surreal.
What starts out as a straight-forward girl-meets-boy tale soon turns into a fantastic one-night romp through a city that felt as much of a character as Wildgirl and Wolfboy.
However, the two-part narrative form, where Wildgirl and Wolfboy take turns narrating one chapter each, feels familiar and comfortable, juxtaposing against the strange story and the characters that are never what you expect them to be.
Although the world is strange and the characters are weird and the whole novel feels like walking down a dark alleyway dressed as Edgar Allen Poe, i.e. fitting, but strange all the same, the moments of lyricism seem to vanish as quickly as they come.
In the face of total oddity and suspense, there seems to be a slight lack of depth to some elements of the story: world-building, questions about overarching world plots, etc. Granted, this might be expected of a book that takes place over one crazy night, but This is Shyness could have used a few more moments of enlightenment, in my opinion.
By the end of the story, even the most critical reader is bound to feel a certain sadness at leaving Wildgirl and Wolfboy. These characters are endearing and brave and complicated, without taking themselves too seriously.
Thankfully, a sequel has now been published, Queen of the Night for readers who loved this crazy dark world as much as I did.
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