Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Tripping to Somewhere gives you quite a joyride

Kristopher Reisz's first novel,Tripping to Somewhere,starts off with two best friends,Sam and Gilly,spending a typical bored teen night hanging out at the local convience store,sharing stories of woe. Things turn around quickly as the girls are handed a chance to find the Witches' Carnival,a band of immortal wanderers who use their magics to show up for parties and public gatherings where ever and when ever in the world. With a tip from Meek,an eccentric one eyed nomad,Sam and Gilly take off to Atlanta with about 50 grand in cash and a bond of reckless abandon that's easier for Sam to embrace than Gilly,atleast at first.

One of the things making Gilly nervous is the money,which she stole from her police officer father's stash of shakedown payments. Another thing holding her back a bit is the nature of their friendship. Sam has been the one who stands up for Gilly against the world,particularly when Gilly's being gay made her a social outcast. While Sam views their relationship as a friendship with"benefits",Gilly wants more,not only from Sam but from life itself. She longs to be considered beautiful and brave and her encounter with Maggie,one of the members of the Witches' Carnival,has a profound effect on her not only emotionally but romantically as well.

This is a teen fantasy novel that's interlaced with strong touches of reality(drug use,profanity and other things that would land TTS an R rating if it were a movie)and a honest approach to how strong a friendship can or should be. The key focus in this book is the relationship between Sam and Gilly;Reisz creates a pair of tough and tender heroines that if you don't know someone who reminds of them,you fervently wish that you did. Also,Reisz is sharp enought not to prop up the adult characters in the story as one dimensional lack-brains and villians;Gilly's father could've easily been a cardboard Bad Dad but has his own emotional dilemmas and hard choices to make and live with.

So,even with Halloween being a distant date on next year's calendar,you can still get some magical thrills from Tripping to Somewhere. If you're curious about the author,please click the title link above to see his website and check out his blog. This book may be shelved in the teen section but it would be just as appropiate to keep TTS with Poppy Z. Brite and Neil Gaiman. TTS has the charming head rush thrill of both of those writers with an original flavor that is all it's own.

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