It’s September, bibliophiles! You know what that means—the Manila International Book Fair is here again. Looking for a reclist? Well, we’ve asked members of Girls Got Game to share their fave read/s (so far) in 2017.
JERICA, I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson follows the relationship between fraternal twins Noah and Jude, and how they navigate their lives, relationships, and themselves after a family tragedy tears them apart. I ended up falling in love with how this novel was written—the prose and how everything was stark yet poignant.
The story structure isn’t unique (honestly, a lot of fanfiction employs this method of storytelling). It’s told from the alternating points of view: Noah, at age 13, and Jude, at age 16. As a result, the structure feels like it only serves to make the plot feel more interesting. And yet it still works for the story because it heightens the parallels between the twins at different points of their lives.
Nelson uses gimmicks to give the characters individual voices. I so loved how Noah narrates everything in colors and paintings. At the same time, yes, part of me suffered uncontrollable face-twitching at the overuse of metaphors (especially at the beginning) but after awhile, I learned to roll with it—it matches the book’s whimsy.
Structure and gimmicks aside, this LGBTQ+ Young Adult novel will yank feelings out of even the coldest hearts. It’s a story that deals with loss, growing up, family, falling in love, lifelines, and how everything is intertwined. It touches the hidden emotional struggles between family—from expectations to the deepest emotionally inflicted scars. Finally, it’s a story about how art—whether it’s through books, media, film, or as in this book, paintings and sculptures—can save us.
KIMI, Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo
Occult detective fiction gets a Filipino twist in the Trese comics, where the familiarity of Manila locales are juxtaposed with the unfamiliarity of the supernatural—tikbalang, multo, and duwende roam around just as humans do. Alexandra Trese is a detective who picks up cases where the police can’t cause something weird is involved. If there’s a problem too spooky for the police to solve, Trese will do it.
While she draws comparisons to John Constantine or Hellboy, Trese stands on her own merits. Not just as a heroine of Filipino origin dealing in the Filipino supernatural, but as an occult detective.
I wholeheartedly recommend Trese series of comics a great deal. It’s a wonderful, and more importantly, an accessible series to Filipino mythology and to Pinoy komiks. Plus, the quality of these books is amazing—the attention to detail in both paper quality and printing does justice to Kajo Baldissimo’s drawing style of stark blacks and whites.
Pick up a copy from Visprint this MIBF.