Anne of Avonlea Read-Along: Chapters 28-30

Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Prince Comes Back to the Enchanted Palace

(Original thread here.) School ends and Anne’s pupils miss her before she’s even really gone.

We get an interesting scene of Mrs Harmon Andrew, Mrs Peter Sloane, and Mrs William Bell discussing Anne’s leaving. I still hate this way of naming women. THEY HAVE FIRST NAMES.

But you don’t see as many scenes without Anne in them, so this is neat.

Mrs Sloane thinks it’s a shame Anne’s leaving since the kids like her so much, but Mrs Bell is glad for her since she’s wanted to go to college so badly. Mrs Andrews says, “I don’t see that Anne needs any more education. She’ll probably be marrying Gilbert Blythe if his infatuation with he lasts till he gets through college.”

Now we don’t have time to unpack all that but… it’s a lot. She also says, ” If they taught you at college how to manage a man there might be some sense in her going.”

Which. Ew.

Apparently, “Mrs. Harmon Andrews, so Avonlea gossip whispered, had never learned how to manage her “man,” and as a result the Andrews household was not exactly a model of domestic happiness.”

Also kinda ew??

This conversation also confirms the Allans are leaving, too, and they gossip about Paul Irving’s “queer stories” some.

Anne quietly, and a little sadly, says goodbye to the schoolroom. Overall, she’s very satisfied with her two years’ work.

She does indeed go to spend two weeks at Echo Lodge, taking Miss Lavendar to town and convincing her to buy a new dress they make together. Miss Lavendar is a little embarassed about how much a new dress cheers her up.

Personally I think Miss Lavendar deserves nice things and should enjoy them.

Anne pops home for a day halfway through the visit, and goes to visit Paul Irving. And to her surprise, who should be there but one Stephen Irving! Anne finds him very handsome, and he’s very kind and grateful for how much she has made Paul feel at home in Avonlea.

Not inappropriately or anything – he’s not creepy, just very nice to her.

Paul is SO excited, lol. It’s cute.

When he goes to bring in the cows, Mr Irving asks carefully about Miss Lavendar – Paul has mentioned her in his letters, not knowing about their past relationship. With a “smile, half-whimsical, half-tender”, he asks if Anne would ask Miss Lavendar if it would be okay if he visited.

Anne is THRILLED and agrees immediately. The next morning, she returns to Echo Lodge, and Miss Lavendar knows right away Stephen is back just by looking at Anne.

Miss Lavendar agrees, pretending she’s taking it completely in stride, but Anne knows she’s nervous. And in fact, she and Anne are both nervous wrecks that afternoon.

Charlotta the Fourth eventually makes Anne spills the beans and is very glad to hear the news. She says, “Some women’s intended from the start to be old maids, and I’m afraid I’m one of them, Miss Shirley, ma’am, because I’ve awful little patience with the men.”

I love her. That’s what I’m going to say now to explain why I’m aroace XD

She’s been worried badly about what would become of Miss Lavendar when she had to go to Boston, as she’s the last girl in her family. She worried Miss Lavendar would be stuck with someone who would laugh at her and wouldn’t let her call them Charlotta the Fifth.

She says Miss Lavendar would “never get anyone who’d love her better.” I know the whole “hire a 13 year old to be your live-in maid” thing is like. Not great. But they do seem very close and for the time period I can’t say this kind of job is awful for a girl tbh

Stephen comes by after tea and immediately compliments the house, which earns him points in my book. Miss Lavendar loves Echo Lodge so much, so that’s important if we’re supposed to like him.

Anne and Charlotta the Fourth are both very tempted to eavesdrop on him and Miss Lavendar, so Anne suggests they polish the silver spoons to keep busy. An hour later, they hear the front door close and panic until they see Stephen and Miss Lavendar strolling through the garden.

Joyful, Anne grabs Charlotta the Fourth and “danced her around the kitchen until they were both out of breath”. Cute. She predicts there will be wedding in the stone house before the fall.

Remember that Avonlea note she helped write? Let’s go back and see what it said again. “Rumor has it that there will be a wedding in our village ere the daisies are in bloom. A new and highly respected citizen will lead to the hymeneal altar one of our most popular ladies.”

Maybe it’s a few details off, but it wasn’t totally wrong, was it? This chapter is very sweet and I enjoyed it a lot.

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Poetry and Prose

(Original thread here.) We have just two chapters left and they are my favourite two of the book. The end of this book honestly is just so good. I’ve read it like four times now.

Anne spends the next month basically in a blur of activity. Not only does she need to prepare for Redmond, but she’s helping to plan Miss Lavendar’s wedding! There’s a ton to be done, and everyone is very excited.

Paul is very happy as he already loves Miss Lavendar. He says, “Mrs. Lynde says she thoroughly approves of the match and thinks its likely Miss Lavendar will give up her queer notions and be like other people, now that she’s going to be married.” Paul rather likes her “queer notions” and hopes she doesn’t change at all.

Queer Notions is my new band name. (How many times have I made that joke??)

Charlotta the Fourth is also excited, as after Stephen and Miss Lavendar come back from their wedding trip, they plan to move to Boston and have invited her along. Not only is she younger than when her sisters did, but she doesn’t have to leave Miss Lavendar and tbh, again, it’s not a bad job for a girl in her time period and situation, all things considered.

Marilla, though, doesn’t think it’s particularly romantic and worries Anne is overworking herself.

But when Anne says she wants to be happy about it, Marilla just lets her be. She may be pragmatic, but she loves her girl.

The wedding is going to be the last Wednesday in August, “in the garden under the honeysuckle trellis” which does sound very lovely. It’s going to be a small wedding, just Paul and his grandmother, Miss Lavendar’s cousins, Charlotta the Fourth, Gilbert, Diana, and Anne.

After, they’re going on a trip to the Pacific coast until fall when they’ll move to Boston. Echo Lodge will become their summer house. Anne is grateful, as the idea of Echo Lodge being all empty and lonely makes her sad, and even more so does the idea of other people living there.

Now, a surprise. “There was more romance in the world than that which had fallen to the share of the middle-aged lovers of the stone house.”

Anne goes over to the Barry place and stumbles onto Diana and Fred Wright standing together under the big willow tree. Fred is holding Diana’s hand, “stammering something in low earnest tones” and she’s blushing fiercely. They’re both too focusd on each other to notice Anne. After a moment of stunned staring, she turns and hurries home without interrupting.

I gotta quote this next bit.

“This was succeeded by a queer, little lonely feeling . . . as if, somehow, Diana had gone forward into a new world, shutting a gate behind her, leaving Anne on the outside.” She thinks after this, she won’t be able to tell Diana all her secrets anymore, as Diana might tell Fred. That makes me sad! You shouldn’t have to stop being as good of friends with someone because they got a boyfriend. What a bummer.

Anne also doesn’t see what Diana sees in Fred, lol.

And the book throws in some racism with this line, “But how fortunate after all that it is so, for if everybody saw alike . . . well, in that case, as the old Indian said, “Everybody would want my squaw.”

WTF. Who the fuck thought that was okay????

The next evenng, Diana comes over to share the new. “Both girls cried and kissed and laughed.” As you do.

She’s very excited, obviously, but won’t be getting married for at least three years, as her mother forbids it until she’s twenty-one. She says that’s fine as she doesn’t “have a speck of fancy work made yet” and “Myra Gillis had thirty-seven doilies when she was married”.

Anne teases that no one could “keep house with only thirty-six doilies” which I thought was hilarious myself. Diana doesn’t and Anne has to reassure her it was only a joke. Which honestly I think makes Diana come off as kind of a buzzkill. Do you really think the basis of your marriage is how many doilies you’ve made?

Also can we talk about how it’s been like a year since they were judging Ruby Gillis for a boy asking her to marry him, despite her refusal, but we’re all excited for Diana? Ruby is just being slut shamed.

Then Anne says, “And I think it’s perfectly lovely of you to be planning already for your home o’ dreams.” And the phrase “home o’ dreams” really strikes Anne’s fancy and she starts to build one in her mind. She picks, obviously, a castle in Spain with “an ideal master, dark, proud, and melancholy” which is very Gothic and I deeply approve XD

Weirdly, though, a certain Gilbert Blythe insists on hanging around, helping to decorate and such, and she can’t get him to leave. Eventually, she’s like “Whatever I’m in a hurry” and decides to ignore him and builds her house of dreams around him.

Later, when she’s alone she thinks about how she’s happy for Diana, but she hopes if she ever gets engaged, “there’ll be something a little more thrilling about it”. She says Diana has changed, but is determined she won’t.

This whole chapter is very relatable on an aro level, tbh. She even ends with saying, “Oh, I think these engagements are dreadfully unsettling things when they happen to your intimate friends.”

Aro. Mood.

Chapter Thirty: A Wedding at the Stone House

(Original thread here.) Chapter thirty is it for this book! And it’s just about wedding time!

It’s the last week of August. Mrs Rachel is moving into Green Gables in a week, and Anne and Gilbert are leaving for Redmond in two weeks. The Allans are also leaving shortly after. Anne feels “a little sadness threading all her excitement and happiness.” Aww.

Mr Harrison says “Changes ain’t totally pleasant but they’re excellent things” and that two years is about as long as things should stay the same. He and Emily are getting along well and she has become very good friends with Mrs Rachel, who he still dislikes.

This is a nice moment. He says, “I s’pose you’ll be scooping up all the honors that are lying round loose at Redmond.”

Anne says she’ll probably try for one or two but she cares less about them for the sake of having them. She says, “What I want to get out of my college course is some knowledge of the best way of living life and doing the most and best with it. I want to learn to understand and help other people and myself.”

Mr Harrison approves of this and I do as well.

The day before the wedding, Anne and Diana bring as many flowers to Echo Lodge as they can. They find poor Charlotta the Fourth all in a flurry. There’s tons to do still and Miss Lavendar is basically useless, lol.

Anne, Diana, and Charlotta the Fourth work til 10 at night. Diana worries a little about the weather. Uncle Abe predicted rain and she says “ever since the big storm, I can’t help believing there’s a good deal in what Uncle Abe says”. Anne, obviously, has no such worries.

Until Charlotta wakes her up in the morning in a panic saying it DOES look like rain. Anne says they’ll hope for the best, and a cool gray day would be nicer anyways as it won’t get so hot. But luckily it does not rain, and soon the preparations are done and the girls go and get ready.

A thing I find interesting is that both Charlotta and Anne are said to be wearing white.

When the wedding starts, Miss Lavendar gives Stephen “a look that made Charlotta the Fourth, who intercepted it, feel queerer than ever”.

Mood. Weddings make me feel queerer than ever, too.

Just as the wedding finishes, the sun come out and lights the garden up beautifully. It’s all quite lovely. The Irvings leave on the two-thirty train and the guests throw rice and… old shoes? I can’t say I know that tradition.

Paul grabs an old dinner bell -when he rings it “from point and curve and hill across the river came the chime of “fairy wedding bells,” ringing clearly, sweetly, faintly and more faint, as if Miss Lavendar’s beloved echoes were bidding her greeting and farewell.”

Eventually it’s just Anne and Charlotta the Fourth left to clean up and lock up Echo Lodge. Diana had to go home and Gilbert had an errand to run in West Grafton. They’re both a little sad, but they work hard cleaning and packing up the leftovers that Charlotta the Fourth takes home to her younger brothers.

Alone, Anne does one final sweep through the house, locks up, and sits on the step to wait for Gilbert.

And then. My heart. Melts.

He comes up the walk and ask what she’s thinking. She replies that it’s beautiful Miss Lavendar and Stephen “have come together again after all the years of separation and misunderstanding?” He says yes, but what if the separation hadn’t happened, what if “they had come hand in hand all the way through life”.

And THEN “Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face” as she has a big “Oh shit wait do I like Gilbert????” moment. She realizes suddenly that romance might not be some huge dramatic thing, that it might not “come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down”.

Which is a hilarious line.

She realizes maybe “love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath”.

Ooooooh.

(Also. DEMI ANNE or what.)

“Then the veil dropped again; but the Anne who walked up the dark lane was not quite the same Anne who had driven gaily down it the evening before.”

The book say this is basically when Anne’s “girlhood” ends and her “womanhood” begins. Now I don’t love that wording, but I like how there’s this moment of Anne beginning to feel like a real adult.

And on the Anne/Gilbert front, this is SO cute. I love that they’ve had such a slow burn. Two years of actual friendship and Anne is only now like “Oh I might like him. Oh shit.” It’s very, very cute.

Gilbert says nothing else “but in his silence he read the history of the next four years in the light of Anne’s remembered blush. Four years of earnest, happy work . . . and then the guerdon of a useful knowledge gained and a sweet heart won.” !!!!

And that’s the end of the book! Thing are changing, but they’re headed in a good direction. And Anne’s finally off to college!

I kinda don’t know what to say now XD This is a pretty good sequel, for the most part. I don’t like the Davy and Dora plot much and Paul’s kind of annoying, but I like Miss Lavendar. I also like this look at a period of Anne’s life where she’s still a teenager, but becoming more independant and mature. And I enjoyed her time teaching a lot! I honestly wish there had been more focus on that. After about the halfway point, not much teaching actually happens.

I also like the development of Mrs Rachel and Marilla’s friendship especially, and the way Gilbert and Anne grow closer as friends. It’s overall cute and a fairly fun read, but I don’t think it’s going to by my favourite of the series. Obviously I’ve only read two of them, so I can’t say, but I’m just guessing lol. And honestly not that much happens in this one??

Which leads me into talking about adaptations!

So, the thing is, a lot of adaptations either skip this book entirely or they only use parts of it and combine it with Anne of Island and/or Anne of Windy Poplars. You’ll see. So the only one we can actually talk about is Project Green Gables, one of the webseries. That’ll be interesting, though!!

References:

“Blue Mass.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Sept. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_mass.

“Blue Pill.” Fine Dictionary, http://www.finedictionary.com/Blue%20pill.html.

“Coal Scuttle.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Sept. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_scuttle.

Connelly, M.p. “Women in the Labour Force.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/women-in-the-labour-force.

Fraser, Sara. “Telephones in P.E.I.’s Bygone Days.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 20 Jan. 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-telephones-bygone-days-dutch-thompson-1.4979246.

Goddard, Jonathan Charles. “Two Blue Pills.” Urology News, 9 Mar. 2020, https://www.urologynews.uk.com/features/history-of-urology/post/two-blue-pills.

Hirschhorn, N, et al. “Abraham Lincoln’s Blue Pills. Did Our 16th President Suffer from Mercury Poisoning?” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11482002/.

Johnson, Nikki. “Fabric 101: Lawn, Challis, Voile & Batiste.” Fabric.com Blog, Fabric.com Blog, 20 June 2017, https://www.fabric.com/blog/fabric-101-lawn-challis-voile-batiste-2/.

Nagy, Alison. “The History of Thanksgiving in Canada.” Canada’s History, 4 Oct. 2018, https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/arts-culture-society/the-history-of-thanksgiving-in-canada.

“UK Lab Reveals Shocking Mercury Level in Lincoln’s Blue Pills.” Royal Society of Chemistry, 22 Mar. 2012, https://www.rsc.org/news-events/articles/2010/03-march/blue-pills/.

Verhaeghe, Jason. “Setting the Scene: Women of the 1890s.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, https://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/historyculture/women1890s.htm.

“Willow Pattern.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Oct. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_pattern.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (170): Spooky shit + A Middle Grade Moment

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Extasia by Claire Legrand

Release date: February 22nd, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Her name is unimportant.

All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain—an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.

She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.

Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?

The part where I talk: I know I keep saying I don’t really like fantasy, but I like horror and this definitely has horror vibes. I really want to read more horror this year, too. I enjoy it a lot, but I feel like I don’t read enough of it.

Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier

Release date: February 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Fifth-grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self. 

A warm and relatable middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are. 

The part where I talk: This cover is the cutest stinking thing. It’s so sweet! And this book sounds super sweet, too. I don’t read as much YA contemporary anymore, but I really like contemporary MG still. They’re just so good.

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina

Things I’ve Read Recently (121): Our first comic post of 2022!

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Outlawed (Magnificent Ms. Marvel, volume 3) by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Joey Vazquez, Juan Vlasco, and Ian Herring

Published: May 11th, 2021 by Marvel Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 144
Part of a series? This collects Magnificent Ms. Marvel issues 13-18.
Got via: The libary

Summary (from goodreads): There’s a new hero in Jersey City! Introducing Fadi Fadlalah, a.k.a. Amulet! What secrets is this gentle giant hiding? Is he friend or foe? Why is he showing up now, just when Kamala has gotten her life back on track? And is this town big enough for both of them?! Then, while recovering from a traumatic ordeal, Ms. Marvel finds herself an unwilling martyr for a movement she hates.

If she wants to reclaim her narrative, she’ll have to wake up first! The anti-teen-hero task force, C.R.A.D.L.E., is scouring Jersey City to apprehend its young protector – and that isn’t the only problem on Kamala’s plate. Several of her family members support the new law – and if they discover her secret identity, it’s game over for Ms. Marvel!

Thoughts: Wtf, they cancelled Ms Marvel??? Honestly what is Marvel doing. Moon Girl, Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider, why are all the comic series I read getting cancelled. What am I supposed to read now?

This isn’t a very satisfying ending, either. It really seems like Marvel is giving the creative teams all of ten minutes warning to wrap up these long series, while also forcing them to deal with these big events that nobody likes or cares about it. The art is gorgeous in this and the writing is really good, but they have nowhere to go.

As much as I didn’t like the Outlawed event, the handling of it and how it affected Kamala and her friends and family was great, and I do commend how they handed it. And the non-Outlawed stuff was excellent – I really enjoyed Kamala’s team-up with Amulet, and I would really have enjoyed seeing where they went from here.

Just a real bummer.

Life is Too Short, Squirrel (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, volume 10) by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Naomi Franquiz, and Rico Renzi

Published: March 6th, 2019 by Marvel Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 126
Part of a series? This collects Squirrel Girl issues 37-41
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): The death of Squirrel Girl! Yes, you read that right! Can it be true? Has the Unbeatable really been beaten? And to death, at that? Is this truly the end of Doreen Green? You’ve read comics before, we assume, so yeah, probably not — but there’s only one way to find out for sure! Plus: Witness a fighting mad Iron Man! Thrill to underwater adventure! And recoil as the world of our fallen hero is rocked by a pesky invasion of Skrulls! Why is all this happening? Who is behind it? And what goals — sinister or otherwise — are they working toward? Prepare for all to become clear as mysteries are laid bare and secret origins are revealed!

Thoughts: Oh my god, this volume was so funny. There are also some very sweet, heartfelt moments but it’s so funny. I laughed out loud multiple times. Squirrel Girl is always fun to read, but this one was a real gem. Seriously, it was so good. This one is also full of the little bonus text jokes that I love, and the social media posts were especially funny in this set.

Big fave here.

Don’t Stop Me-Ow (Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat, volume 2) by Kate Leth, Brittany Williams, Megan Wilson, and ****SOMEONE**** Rosenberg

Published: January 3rd, 2017 by Marvel
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 136
Part of a series? This collects issues 7-12
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): In another world they might be gal pals who help each other through hard times. But when Patsy Walker and Jessica Jones meet at last in the Marvel Universe, could it be they’ll end up as…best frenemies?! Not everyone can get along all the time, which is why the world’s heroes are about to be rocked by a second Civil War!

But when the fallout from the battlefield hits close to home, Patsy is forced to take stock of her life and face what it really costs to be A.K.A. Hellcat! Plus, fallouts with former friends don’t get any worse than Patsy and Hedy. Now Ms. Wolfe is about to torment her rival more than ever, with a little help from Patsy’s evil exboyfriends! Will Hellcat get burned by her old flames?

Thoughts: This was a lot of fun! These really remind me of Squirrel Girl with a touch more of a serious tone. It’s lighthearted, but not as silly. It really acknowledges that Patsy has been through a lot, and she needs a break from Serious Superheroing. 

There are some quite emotional moments, too – like the summary says, this is one of the storylines that got stuck having to do Civil War II (is that too salty? I heavily disliked that event LOL), but it doesn’t focus on it at all. It’s just about the aftermath and how the characters are affected by what happened.

Also this one ends on a cliffhanger and I have the third one right here, so that’s about all I’m going to say for now. I just want to read the next one!!

X Marks the Spot (Lumberjanes, volume 14) by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Dozerdraws, and Maarta Laiho 

Published: May 26th, 2020 by BOOM! Box
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 111
Part of a series? This collects Lumberjanes issues 53-56
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): X MARKS THE SPOT…FOR TROUBLE!

Ripley found a treasure map! The Roanoke scouts are eager to hunt down what they hope might be some kind of mystical hoard of gems and jewels, rad dinosaur bones, or maybe even more treasure maps (that you have to piece together to find an EVEN BIGGER prize, obviously)! What they end up finding is scattered pieces of an ancient Greek statue of a woman, who, when assembled, comes back to life as a vindictive ex-goddess!n. And she’s looking to satisfy her hunger after thousands of years frozen in stone by draining any nearby magical resource…starting with the ‘Janes!

Thoughts: This cover is amazing, oh my god. This is so Ripley. This was really cute and fun.

Honestly at volume fourteen, I don’t have much to say about these anymore. I just have fun reading them.

Editing Laina: Thanks a lot for the five sentence review, Past Me.

I guess that’s where we’re ending it. What other comics should I get into?

– Laina

Anne of Avonlea Read-Along: Chapters 25-27

Chapter Twenty-Five: An Avonlea Scandal

(Original thread here.) It is June now, about two weeks after the big storm. Anne is sad there are only two narcissus left, as she wanted to bring some to Matthew’s grave. *sniffles*

Marilla admits she misses them herself, but doesn’t want to be all “wah wah my flowers” when so many peoples’ crops and fruit trees were destroyed. Fair, tbh. Luckily, people have replanted and Mr Harrison told Anne if they have a good summer, things may be late, but they should still have a good harvest.

Suddenly a wagon comes up the lane and stops in front of Green Gables. A small woman around fifty and very well dressed woman jumps down. She asks Anne if this is where Mr Harrison lives and if it’s true he’s “going to be married to some woman living in this settlement”. Anne denies it guiltily and hastily explains the note in the paper was only a joke and Mr Harrison “has no intention of marrying ANYBODY”.

Great, the woman says, since she’s his wife!

YEAH!

Raise your hand if you saw THAT coming, because I sure didn’t! This is amazing, though. What a plot twist.

Anne tells this news to Marilla, who is as shocked as Anne (and me!). Mrs Rachel is less shocked, as she always expected SOMETHING to come up about him. Have I mentioned I love her??

Also, Anne and Marilla are too polite to go over and ask the Harrisons (LOL) wtf, but Mrs Rachel isn’t. She says she’ll basically just pretend she doesn’t know the wife exists. Mr Harrison has some medicine for Thomas he was bringing from Carmody, so that’s as good an excuse as any.

Marilla and Anne, I’ll note, don’t argue this at all. They’re basically weaponizing her to get gossip LOL

But she doesn’t come back!!

Davy, coming home at nine from the Boulter place, ran into her on the way, and explains to them Mrs Rachel said it was too late to call and sends her apologies. Also for once I’m on his side as he complains about being hungry. Apparently Mrs Boulter served tea at four and there weren’t “any preserves or cake… and even the bread was skurce”.

Anne tells him never to complain about what he’s given while visiting, so he happily agrees to only think it, which, honestly?? Fair.

Even Marilla agrees with him (out of earshot, of course) that Mrs Boulter isn’t exactly generous. Which, like, MAYBE they’re like super poor and barely scraping by or something but. The book makes it out that she’s just kind of stingy and not a very good host.

By Monday, though, Mr Harrison’s wife is the talk of Avonlea. Davy comes home from school with a good load of information from the other kids. Now, what’s actually true is anyone’s guess. He talked to four kids and got four different stories, LOL. So he decides to go over and “see what she’s like” for himself.

Marilla, again, does not protest this, which amuses me.

Sadly, his fate is one of disappointment, as Mrs Harrison wasn’t there. Apparently she’s “gone to Carmody with Mrs. Rachel Lynde to get new paper for the parlor” but Mr Harrison asked him to send Anne over to talk. When she get there the kitchen floor is scrubbed, as is all the furniture, and the stove polished, walls whitewashed, and windows sparkling

Even Mr Harrison himself is cleaner – clothes mended, hair trimmed and clean-shaven. He APPEARS not super happy about this. He speaks “in a tone but two degrees removed from that which Avonlea people used at funerals” as he describes how his “easy times” are over. “It’s neatness and tidiness for me for the rest of my natural life, I suppose.”

You poor baby. How hard it must be to have someone cook and clean for you and take care of you. How will you go on.

Anne doesn’t buy it, though, as “Mr. Harrison did his best to speak dolefully, but an irresponsible twinkle in his eye betrayed him.”

He admits he is glad, if only so peope stop gossiping that he’s courting everytime he wants to play checkers with someone.

Anne asks why he left his wife – Emily is her name, we find out – and he says she started it, which… did she? Did she really? *Thor gif* (Editing Laina: You know what gif I mean. I’m not getting sued by the Mouse over this.)

So, here’s the story.

Mr Harrison is from New Brunswick and his sister “kept house” for him until she died three years ago. Under her advice, he decided to get married. Emily had money of her own and he was surprised she agreed at all. After a two week honeymoon, they get home and she immediately starts cleaning at 10 at night

He claims the house wasn’t that bad and Emily was just like that, but this is the same dude who only washes dishes when it rains, so. I’m skeptical.

Apparently she wouldn’t leave him alone about things like taking his boots off in the house and only smoking outside. She was also a teacher before and poked him about his grammar and “eating with my knife” which I agree aren’t exactly big deals.

But he was annoyed about it all and was rude to her, leading them to fight more. Right up until he got the parrot when his brother died. Remember, the bird cursed up a storm constantly and Emily HATED it.

One day she had two ministers and their wives to tea, and Mr Harrison promised to put the bird away. But he “forgot” and just as they all sat down for tea, the bird starting cussing out a turkey in the yard. He sees the humour in it now, but it humiliated both of them at the time, especially Emily.

He had to do farm stuff and by the end of the day, basically decided to put the bird down, which I think is super excessive when you could just give it away. But when he gets home, Emily was gone. She had “gone back to her own house” and left a note saying basically he could have he or the bird, but not both.

God, this story would be an amazing @AITA_reddit post. Someone submit this and see what happens XD

He was like, “I pick the bird” because stubborn and sent all her stuff back to her, riling up the town they’re from into a bunch of gossip. People were on her side and it made him extra cranky. Which is saying a lot. He’d been to PEI as a kid “but Emily had always said she wouldn’t live in a place where folks were scared to walk out after dark for fear they’d fall off the edge”.

Which, tbh, is kind of a rude thing to say.

…but also an amazing insult that I love.

And he hadn’t heard anything from her until last Saturday when she just showed up in his house. That could absolutely be a horror movie, LOL

Anyways, she cleaned and cooked so he’s happy and the bird’s dead and PEI is bigger than she thought, so she’s happy. Apparently Emily has become fast friends with Mrs Rachel, too, which helps her. Mr Harrison says, “Emily had learned some lessons about getting along with a man”, which, EW. How about no?

Emily’s also pretty charmed by Anne, especially impressed that she’s been so nice to Mr Harrison, bringing him cakes and stuff. When she walks Anne home after tea, she says basically they were both to blame for the split. She especially regrets the grammar nitpicking, which I like.

She says, “It doesn’t matter if a man does use bad grammar so long as he is a good provider and doesn’t go poking round the pantry to see how much sugar you’ve used in a week.”

That’s really interesting to me. Like obviously it’s outdated, but I believe at this time married women basically didn’t work unless they were like really poor and like a housekeeper or something. So if you’re getting married, a stingy dude who doesn’t bring home the bacon, or keeps the bacon locked up, ain’t a great choice for a stable life.

It doesn’t seem like a love match on either Harrison’s side and I honestly think that’s cool to see. It’s not framed as a bad thing or weird at ALL. As an aro, I think it’s cool to see a non-romantic marriage presented as a thing two people can be very happy with. Their issue isn’t the lack of romantic feelings, it’s that they didn’t communicate well.

Mrs H is all “I wish I could thank this “Observer” person” who wrote the note and Anne carefully say nothing. Later, she’s “rather bewildered” by the fact that the silly notes “made the reputation of a prophet” and repaired a marriage.

Mrs Rachel is visiting Green Gables when Anne gets back. She’s on her way home, though, not wanting to leave Thomas alone too long. He’s having a good day, but there aren’t so many of those anymore. She also mentions Gilbert resigned from White Sands and that he’ll be going to college in the fall.

Then, “Mrs Rachel looked sharply at Anne” and I love that moment.

Chapter Twenty-Six: Around the Bend

(Original thread here.) Thomas Lynde passes away.

In the last chapter, Mrs Rachel had mentioned he’d been doing better the last few days, and that’s actually fairly common before someone dies, that they feel a lot better for a short period of time. It’s not clear, exactly, what Thomas dies from but I kinda get cancer vibes? Just from how slow it was and how nothing really helped.

It’s quite a lovely description of how Mrs Rachel “was a tender, patient, unwearied nurse” and how gentle and patient she is. The last thing he says, basically, is what a good wife, mother, and person she’s been. Then he quietly slips away in his sleep.

After his funeral, Marilla is acting funny. She goes to see Mrs Rachel, then comes up to talk to Anne. Out of character, she sits on Anne’s bed, even though “in Marilla’s code of household ethics to sit on a bed after it was made up was an unpardonable offense”.

She says Mrs Rachel is very lonely. Anne offers to go visit, but Marilla basically blurts that Gilbert’s going to college in the fall and would Anne like to go, too? This, obviously, shocks Anne, who says it isn’t possible, but Marilla says they can make it happen – and they should.

She says as much as Anne has been happy these last two years, she should go to college. She’s saved enough for a year at Redmond, and “the money the stock brought in will do for another year”. Plus there’s scholarships and things.

Anne still protests she can’t leave Marilla alone with the twins, but Marilla says that’s what she wanted to talk about.

She wants to invite Mrs Rachel to live at Green Gables.

Apparently the Lyndes “mortgaged the farm eight years ago to give the youngest boy a start when he went west; and they’ve never been able to pay much more than the interest since.” Even selling the farm won’t bring in much.

Remember, all of Mrs Rachel’s kids live out west except for her daughter Eliza, who is willing to take her in, but she doesn’t live in Avonlea, and Mrs Rachel is really not a fan of Eliza’s husband. Marilla and Mrs Rachel have been neighbours for *forty-five* years and Marilla says she’s miss Rachel dearly.

I mentioned in AoGG when Mrs Rachel made this exact offer to Marilla how amazing this offer really was to me. Honestly this isn’t that different from the Harrison marriage – two non-romantic people signing up to live their lives out together. And Mrs Rachel and Marilla will even be raising children together, as Marilla says “she’ll do for the twins what I can’t do”.

Marilla says, “It always seemed to me that the reason two women can’t get along in one house is that they try to share the same kitchen and get in each other’s way.” So she plans to turn the spare room into a kitchen for Rachel.

Which while obviously that’s very gendered/a little sexist, I think it’s more about them having a space of their own, and to feel control over their lives. Again, something women didn’t have a lot of then, really.

Obviously the gender roles are very strict in this time period, but I do think this book has something interesting to say about women. It’s interesting to compare all the women in this book who have very different lives. Compare just Anne and Diana – Anne is working and plans to go to college, while Diana is basically killing time til she gets married.

Marilla has never married and is perfectly content with her life. Miss Lavendar has never married either and is mostly happy. Miss Sarah Copp, the Andrwews sisters, there’s actually a lot of women who don’t marry and are happy.

But then you have Mrs Rachel enjoyed her full, rich life being married and having children. And then Emily Harrison has a marriage that isn’t really based on romantic love, but on a practical partnership, but she’s also perfectly happy with that! I just find that interesting.

Anyways Anne thinks it’s a very good idea, as she would also miss Mrs Rachel very much and Marilla says if she does move in, that means Anne can go to college. Mrs Rachel will be both company for Marilla and she can help take care of the twins. Honestly, I think Mrs Rachel will be good for Davy, personally.

That night, Anne is equally full of “joy and regret” as she’s really happy to go to college, but she’s going to deeply miss her school and friends and home. I adore this line. ““I’ve put out a lot of little roots these two years,” Anne told the moon, “and when I’m pulled up they’re going to hurt a great deal.”

That just… it’s so pretty and it speaks to me so much.

Avonlea gossip basically assumes Marilla and Mrs Rachel are going to kill each other, but they’re both just like, “You do you, I do me, we’ll be good.” Mrs Rachel says she’ll be glad to help with the twins as much as she can… except answering all of Davy’s questions.

This kid needs more to do, I swear. Teach him to knit or something.

“Gilbert Blythe was probably the only person to whom the news of Anne’s resignation brought unmixed pleasure.”

All her students are devastated, even Anthony Pye. Poor Jane is going to have a rough time taking over the Avonlea school. It’ll be nice, though, to have her home for Diana.

Speaking of Diana, she’s “very pessimistic” and obviously going to miss Anne dearly.

Even the Allans are leaving, moving to Charlottetown. Poor Mrs Allan is really conflicted about it.

(CW child death)

Along with how at home in Avonlea she feels, their baby who passed at only three months old is buried there. Anne promised to always put flowers on the baby’s grave and Diana quickly offers to take over for her, along with leaving them on Matthew and Hester Gray’s graves.

That really is such a lovely moment.

Also tbh the image of Mrs Allan singing a lullaby to her lost baby’s grave almost every night is so casually heartbreaking I can’t deal with it. Poor woman has had a hard two years. I’m glad their second little one is doing better.

Diana also worries the AVIS is done for, but Anne is optimistic. She thinks it’ll continue to do well as the “older people” are really into it now and she’ll still send suggestions and stuff.

Then she asks Diana to please stop being such a buzzkill LOL. Anne says she knows she’s going to be sad later, and she wants to enjoy being excited now.

Diana is worried Anne will make new friends and forget her, much like she was when Anne went to Queen’s. She also has some insecurities about being a “stupid little country girl”. The ableist language there isn’t great, obviously, but I do feel really bad for Diana. Her parents did her such a disservice.

She’s really insecure about her education. Remember how much young Diana loved to read and write? But her parents didn’t like that she read so much. Like obviously I don’t think college is for everyone, but Diana seemed to really want more from life.

She’s also so insecure about Anne’s friendship, which I find fascinating. I hate to say it, but that is something the 2016 movies got right, that Anne is not really a jealous person, but Diana does get jealous of Anne making other friends. Like I think Diana had other friends as a kid, if not super close ones, before Anne came along, but Anne had no other friends. And yet Diana is the one who is insecure about losing Anne’s friendship.

That’s really a subversion from what you’d expect.

This is an interesting part. Diana says, “Anne, I’m going to ask you a question… a serious question. Don’t be vexed and do answer seriously. Do you care anything for Gilbert?”

The response? ““Ever so much as a friend and not a bit in the way you mean,” said Anne calmly and decidedly; she also thought she was speaking sincerely.

Diana sighed. She wished, somehow, that Anne had answered differently.”

Diana is on that Sherbert ship 😛

This is an amusing part, too. Diana asks if Anne ever plans to marry, and Anne is like, “Maybe if I meet the PERFECT man, and my idea of the perfect man will always be the exact same as when I decided it at 15.” She is perfectly happy about the idea of dying “an old maid”, though.

Diana fusses about her weight, which ugh, but then mentions Nelson Atkins proposing to Ruby Gillis and we get some gossip. Ruby never intended to accept, but she was especially insulted to find his entire proposal, basically word for word, ripped off from an etiquette book.

She apparently has plenty of other suitors, something Diana can’t help being a little jealous of. Anne doesn’t have much patience for any of this, and both Anne and Diana say they don’t like Ruby much anymore.

Diana says, “It’s the Gillis coming out in her… she can’t help it. Mrs. Lynde says that if ever a Gillis girl thought about anything but the boys she never showed it in her walk and conversation” and “it’s what Ruby always wanted, I suppose.”

They both agree Jane is much more “sensible” and “lady-like”.

…2016 movie, I owe you another slight apology. You did have some basis for your Ruby bashing.

Not that it isn’t real shitty that they’re basically slut-shaming Ruby for liking boys/boys liking her.

Anne says she’ll never have a better friend than Diana, and how grateful she is to have had Diana in her life. Diana replies, “if I ever do marry and have a little girl of my own, I’m going to name her Anne” which is so sweet.

I really like this chapter. It’s a little sad, but it’s very sweet.

Chapter Twenty-Seven: An Afternoon at the Stone House

(Original thread here.) This is a chapter featuring a Davy moment where I actually find him kind of hilarious. That might actually be a miracle.

Anne comes “down to dinner in a new dress of pale green muslin” and it says this is “the first color she had worn since Matthew’s death”. The book had only previously mentioned that one “black lawn” dress and then white dresses. I probably should have, but I didn’t actually realize she was still only wearing black.

She also, apparently, looks VERY nice – it suits her hair and skin. Davy compliments her quite sweetly and asks where she’s going. She’s going to spend the afternoon at Echo Lodge and says it’s too far for him to walk and Paul is coming anyways.

Davy says he likes Paul a lot more now since he’s “got pretty good” himself. Plus Paul, bless his heart, is very kind to all the younger boys and teaches them new games and such.

Since Anne will be at Echo Lodge, Davy decides to go visit Mrs Harrison, of whom he has become a big fan. He likes that she always keeps cookies in the pantry and observes she’s made Mr Harrison twice as happy as he ever was. He says, “I guess getting married makes folks nicer. Why don’t YOU get married, Marilla? I want to know.”

And this next part is really funny to me.

“Marilla’s state of single blessedness had never been a sore point with her, so she answered amiably, with an exchange of significant looks with Anne, that she supposed it was because nobody would have her.”

Then Davy says, “But maybe you never asked anybody to have you” shocking Dora into saying men are supposed to “do the asking”.

Davy thinks this is deeply unfair and men shouldn’t have to everything. Surprise feminist Davy!

He asks for more pudding (using the British English definition) and Marilla says he’s had plenty but then gives him a second helping anyways.

She got so soft XD

He wonders if people could live on pudding alone, but say “it’s better to have pudding only on fish and company days than none at all” like, apparently, at Milty Boulter’s house. He says, “Milty says when company comes, his mother gives them cheese and cuts it herself” and only one small piece each.

Marilla says Milty shouldn’t talk about his mother like that, and even if he does, Davy shouldn’t repeat it.

Davy innocently says Milty said it as a compliment. “He’s awful proud of his mother, ’cause folks say she could scratch a living on a rock.”

Then: “”I… I suppose them pesky hens are in my pansy bed again,” said Marilla, rising and going out hurriedly.” They’re not – she sits on the cellar hatch and bursts out laughing “until she was ashamed of herself”.

Honesly that’s adorable! And short – that’s all the Davy in this chapter, and it was only a couple pages. Now that’s how to do it.

Miss Lavendar is very excited to see Anne and Paul. Paul is really hoping to hear the echoes today, as it was too windy on his first visit. I’m gonna skim a little here as the next bit is just them talking about food and Paul’s grandmother’s rules about snacking

And porridge. Again. They spend a lot of time talking about porridge.

There’s some interesting stuff comparing Anne’s view of religion verus Mrs Irving’s, though. Paul says, “Grandma says we should never think anything but religious thought on Sundays.”

Meanwhile Anne’s opinion is “every really beautiful thought” is religious. And I actually really respect that? Like I’m not religious, but Anne is, and I think it’s cool for her to talk about how she finds meaning in the beauty of the world and how she sees like, God’s work or whatever you want to call it, in everything. I think it’s cool to see Anne find meaning in religion, and what it means to her, and WHY she’s drawn towards it, versus just going along with it because it’s expected of her.

Paul agrees with Anne, but points out his grandma did raise his father, who turned out pretty good, while Anne has only helped with the twins, and they’re not grown yet, so they can’t tell how raising a kid her way will turn out. Anne is very diplomatic, saying she thinks at the base of things, she and Mrs Irving really mean “much the same thing” and just express it differently.

They have “lunch” which at this point I have no idea what meal that is. Anne has had dinner already and then they still have tea later. I guess lunch is like a between meals snack for them????

I don’t even know.

Poor Miss Lavendar tries to be happy for Anne, but she’s sad to hear of her leaving for college. More, even though Anne reassures her she’ll write and visit on vacations, Miss Lavendar says she’s “just tired of everything”.

She says, “Perhaps all I need is a course of blue pills.” I’ll tell you, googling “blue pills” is a risky game. But the general consensus after very careful searching seem to be a prepared mercury pill, also known as “blue mass”. Mercury was commonly prescribed for “melancholy”. That’s apparently the theorized cause of Lincoln’s anger issues.

So there’s that.

Charlotta the Fourth announces a nearby field is thick with early strawberries and asks if Anne would like to go with her to pick some, cheering Miss Lavendar up.

Mood, though. I love strawberries.

Charlotta the Fourth is awed by Anne and tries to adopt her way of talking and moving. There’s a line here about “the trick of that dainty uplift of the chin” that I love because in the 1985 mini-series Megan Follows does that CONSTANTLY.

Charlotta the Fourth thinks Diana is more traditionally pretty, but says, “I’d rather look like you than be pretty.” LOL what a compliment.

“Anne laughed, sipped the honey from the tribute, and cast away the sting. She was used to taking her compliments mixed.”

The book says, “Public opinion never agreed on Anne’s looks. People who had heard her called handsome met her and were disappointed. People who had heard her called plain saw her and wondered where other people’s eyes were.” It basically says if she wasn’t Anne, she wouldn’t be seen as so pretty – her personality and basically her “self” makes her pretty.

And that, really, is lovely.

Charlotta confesses she’s been quite worried about Miss Lavendar, that she thinks Miss Lavendar “isn’t well” and she’s been tired and lonely unless Anne is visiting. Anne declares as soon as school is over, she’ll come and stay a whole week, which delights Charlotta the Fourth.

When Miss Lavendar hears this, she says, “If you come for a week, I’ll keep you for two.”

Poor Miss Lavendar. I feel bad for her.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (169): lol nice

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado

Release date: February 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.

Except it’s all fake.

Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the facade.

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.

But it might already be too late.

The part where I talk: I thought Fat Chance Charlie Vega was really good and I think this sounds really good, too. The concept is wild – can you imagine finding out someone has been catfishing using your pictures and it’s just like a kid who wants friends?

The cover is also super pretty. And I like how it would match with Fat Chance Charlie Vega.

What are y’all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina

Queer Middle Grade Coming Out in 2022 I’m Excited About

Every year in January I like to do a post talking about all the queer MG I know about coming out that year. And it’s time for that now!!

And for some quick context, I use a fairly loose definition for “Queer MG” that I wouldn’t necessarily use for YA or Adult books. When talking about middle grade, I often include books where the main character isn’t queer, but someone significant in their life is, like a best friend or sibling, or an adult like a parent or teacher.

I believe all kids should see their lives reflected in books, including those with queer families and I don’t want kids to think queer people disappear after the age of 18. Queer kids seeing queer adults as role models is super important.

Also, this probably isn’t every queer MG book coming out this year. Books constantly get announced and sometimes you can’t tell just from the summary. And I don’t actually know everything. But this is a pretty good start!!

Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee

Release date: January 4th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently, the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artifact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honour to the clan.

Nothing goes according to plan, however. As soon as Sebin arrives for orientation, they are met by a special investigator named Yi and his assistant, a girl named Min. Yi informs Sebin that they must immediately report to the ship Haetae and await further instructions. Sebin finds this highly unusual, but soon all protocol is forgotten when there’s an explosion on the ship, the crew is knocked out, and the communication system goes down. It’s up to Sebin, three other cadets, and Yi and Min to determine who is sabotaging the battlecruiser. When Sebin is suddenly accused of collaborating with the enemy, the cadet realizes that Min is the most dangerous foe of all…

The part where I talk: This is the sequel to Dragon Pearl, and is available now!

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry

Release date: February 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago.

Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them… is Cameron ready to be the hero they need?

The part where I talk: The MC in this is queer but like no one on Goodreads is talking about it in reviews which I think is a shame because it’s super cool.

Drew LeClair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury

Release date: March 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Drew Leclair knows what it takes to be a great detective. She’s pored over the cases solved by her hero, criminal profiler Lita Miyamoto. She tracked down the graffiti artist at school, and even solved the mystery of her neighbor’s missing rabbit. But when her mother runs off to Hawaii with the school guidance counselor, Drew is shocked. How did she miss all of the clues?

Drew is determined to keep her family life a secret, even from her best friend. But when a cyberbully starts posting embarrassing rumors about other students at school, it’s only a matter of time before Drew’s secret is out.

Armed with her notebooks full of observations about her classmates, Drew knows what she has to do: profile all of the bullies in her grade to find the culprit. But being a detective is more complicated when the suspects can be your friends. Will Drew crack the case if it means losing the people she cares about most?

The part where I talk: I believe Drew is also fat, and has chronic illness, both of which I think are super cool.

The Best Liars in Riverview by Lin Thompson

Release date: March 8th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Aubrey and Joel are like two tomato vines that grew along the same crooked fence—weird, yet the same kind of weird. But lately, even their shared weirdness seems weird. Then Joel disappears. Vanishes. Poof. The whole town is looking for him, and Aubrey was the last person to see Joel. Aubrey can’t say much, but since lies of omission are still lies, here’s what they know for sure: 

-For the last two weeks of the school year, when sixth grade became too much, Aubrey and Joel have been building a raft in the woods.

-The raft was supposed to be just another part of their running away game.

-The raft is gone now, too.

Aubrey doesn’t know where Joel is, but they might know how to find him. As Aubrey, their friend Mari, and sister Teagan search along the river, Aubrey has to fess up to who they really are, all the things they never said, and the word that bully Rudy Thomas used that set all this into motion. 

Ellen Outside the Lines by A. J. Sass

Release date: March 22nd, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday. Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal. But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps. A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track.

Except it doesn’t. Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned.

The part where I talk: I’m very excited about this one!! It sounds super sweet.

Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée

Release date: March 29th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Aimée, a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler, is on a class trip to offer gifts to Paayehnsag, the water spirits known to protect the land. While stories are told about the water spirits and the threat of the land being taken over for development, Aimée zones out, distracting themselves from the bullying and isolation they’ve experienced since expressing their non-binary identity. When Aimée accidentally wanders off, they are transported to an alternate dimension populated by traditional Anishinaabe figures in a story inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

To gain the way back home, Aimée is called on to help Trickster by hunting down dark water spirits with guidance from Paayehnsag. On their journey, Aimée faces off with the land-grabbing Queen and her robotic guards and fights the dark water spirits against increasingly stacked odds. Illustrated by KC Oster with a modern take on their own Ojibwe style and cultural representation, Rabbit Chase is a story of self-discovery, community, and finding one’s place in the world.

The part where I talk: This is a graphic novel.

Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino

Release date: April 5th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Sam is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary as well. Sam’s family is very cool with it… as long as Sam remembers that nonbinary kids are also required to clean their rooms, do their homework, and try not to antagonize their teachers too much.

The teacher-respect thing is hard when it comes to Sam’s history class, because their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. When Sam’s home borough of Staten Island opens up a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades.

Soon, Sam’s project isn’t just about winning the contest. It’s about discovering a rich queer history that Sam’s a part of — a queer history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are kids like Sam and TJ to stand up for it.

The part where I talk: I’m a huge history nerd so this sounds super fun to me!

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

Release date: April 12th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Annabelle Blake fully expects this school year to be the same as every other: same teachers, same classmates, same, same, same. So she’s elated to discover there’s a new kid in town. To Annabelle, Bailey is a breath of fresh air. She loves hearing about their life in Seattle, meeting their loquacious (and kinda corny) parents, and hanging out at their massive house. And it doesn’t hurt that Bailey has a cute smile, nice hands (how can someone even have nice hands?) and smells really good.

Suddenly sixth grade is anything but the same. And when her irascible father shares that he and Bailey have something big–and surprising–in common, Annabelle begins to see herself, and her family, in a whole new light. At the same time she starts to realize that her community, which she always thought of as home, might not be as welcoming as she had thought. Together Annabelle, Bailey, and their families discover how these categories that seem to mean so much—boy, girl, gay, straight, fruit, vegetable—aren’t so clear-cut after all.

The part where I talk: We stan Kyle Lukoff in this house.

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington

Release date: April 26th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Thirteen-year-old Andi feels stranded after the loss of her mother, the artist who swept color onto Andi’s blank canvas. When she is accepted to a music camp, Andi finds herself struggling to play her trumpet like she used to before her whole world changed. Meanwhile, Zora, a returning camper, is exhausted trying to please her parents, who are determined to make her a flute prodigy, even though she secretly has a dancer’s heart.

At Harmony Music Camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their loss, insecurities, and hopes for the future. And as they struggle to figure out who they really are, they may just come to realize who they really need: each other.

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

Release date: May 3rd, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.

The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers.

And if Zack can’t finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.

The part where I talk: This is tagged as queer on Goodreads, but I can’t tell what the rep is. Don’t @ me if it’s not.

The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott

Release date: May 3rd, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Fifth grade is just not Riley’s vibe. Everyone else is squaded up–except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it.

One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to write letters to people they admire, of course Riley’s picking Joy Powers!

Things start to look up when a classmate, Cate, offers to help Riley with the letter, and a new kid, Aaron, actually seems to get her weird sense of humor. But when mean girl Whitney spreads a rumor about her, things begin to click into place for Riley. Her curiosity about Aaron’s two dads and her celebrity crush on Joy Powers suddenly make more sense.

The part where I talk: This is also a graphic novel.

Moonflower by Kacen Callendar

Release date: May 3rd, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living. But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause.

Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves. 

Every Bird Prince by Jenn Reese

Release date: May 10th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): The only time Eren Evers feels like herself is when she’s on her bike, racing through the deep woods. While so much of her life at home and at school is flying out of control, the muddy trails and the sting of wind in her face are familiar comforts.

Until she rescues a strange, magical bird, who reveals a shocking secret: their forest kingdom is under attack by an ancient foe—the vile Frostfangs—and the birds need Eren’s help to survive.

Seventh grade is hard enough without adding “bird champion” to her list of after-school activities. Lately, Eren’s friends seem obsessed with their crushes and the upcoming dance, while Eren can’t figure out what a crush should even feel like. Still, if she doesn’t play along, they may leave her behind…or just leave her all together. Then the birds enlist one of Eren’s classmates, forcing her separate lives to collide.

When her own mother starts behaving oddly, Eren realizes that the Frostfangs—with their insidious whispers—are now hunting outside the woods. In order to save her mom, defend an entire kingdom, and keep the friendships she holds dearest, Eren will need to do something utterly terrifying: be brave enough to embrace her innermost truths, no matter the cost.

The part where I talk: In an amusing twist, this one isn’t tagged as queer on Goodreads, but the author confirmed it on Twitter, so I kinda feel like I discovered a secret.

the one who loves you most by medina

Release date: May 10th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Gabriela is trying to find their place in the world. In their body, which feels less and less right with each passing day. As an adoptee, in their all-white family. With their mom, whom they love fiercely and do anything they can to help with her depression. And at school, where they search for friends.

A new year will bring a school project, trans and queer friends, and a YouTube channel that help Gabriela find purpose in their journey. From debut author medina comes a beautifully told story of finding oneself and one’s community, at last. 

The part where I talk: I think I talked about this one previously but it was delayed? Not sure.

The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby

Release date: May 10th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push her (former) best friend (and crush), Layla, a little bit too roughly.

After a meltdown at Joey’s apartment building leads to her family’s eviction, Joey is desperate to figure out why she’s so mad. A new unit in science class makes her wonder if the reason is genetics. Does she lose control because of something she inherited from the donor her mothers chose?

Twelfth by Janet Key

Release date: May 17th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Maren is sure theater camp isn’t for her. Theater camp is for loud, confident, artsy people: people like her older sister, Hadley—the last person Maren wants to think about—and her cinema-obsessed, nonbinary bunkmate, Theo. But when a prank goes wrong, Maren gets drawn into the hunt for a diamond ring that, legend has it, is linked to the camp’s namesake, Charlotte “Charlie” Goodman, a promising director in Blacklist Era Hollywood.

When Maren connects the clues to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, she and her new friends are off searching through lighting booths, orchestra pits and costume storages, discovering the trail and dodging camp counselors. But they’re not the only ones searching for the ring, and with the growing threat of camp closing forever, they’re almost out of time.

The part where I talk: I really like MG books where there are queer characters but the focus of the book is, like, a mystery or something. It’s neat.

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor

Release date: May 17th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad.

He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet — and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali 

Release date: May 24th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He’s been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them.

Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal–and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight.

The part where I talk: Another queer history book!! I like it.

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

Release date: May 31st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.

When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.

Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.

But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

The part where I talk: This sounds so cuuuute? I read this summary and turned into this meme.

The Trouble With Robots by Michelle Mohrweis

Release date: September 6th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.

So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.

Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?

The part where I talk: I saw this announced on twitter and saw that one of the main characters is ace, and no one had added it to Goodreads, so I did, and I’m very pleased with myself.

More MG ace rep!!

Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Release date: October 11th, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Eliot is grieving Babung, her paternal grandmother who just passed away, and she feels like she’s the only one. She’s less than excited to move to her new house, which smells like lemons and deception, and is searching for a sign, any sign, that ghosts are real. Because if ghosts are real, it means she can find a way back to Babung.

When Eliot chases the promise of paranormal activity to the presumably haunted Honeyfield Hall, she finds her proof of spirits. But these ghosts are losing their memory, stuck between this world and the next, waiting to cross over. With the help of Hazel, the granddaughter of Honeyfield’s owner (and Eliot’s new crush), she attempts to uncover the mystery behind Honeyfield Hall and the ghosts residing within.

And as Eliot fits the pieces together, she may just be able to help the spirits remember their pasts, and hold on to her grandmother’s memory.

The part where I talk: This cover is gorgeous, it’s spooky, and it’s queer. What more can a girl ask for?

Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith

Release date: November 2022

Summary (from goodreads): When 12-year-old nonbinary Callie’s ex-hero dad is summoned to the royal capitol of Helston to train a hopeless prince as an epic war looms, Callie lunges for the opportunity to become an official knight in training.

Helston is full of powerful people who believe knighthood is for boys and magic is for girls, and Callie and the new friends they make will have to fight both the dangers beyond the kingdom and the bigotry from within.

The part where I talk: I think I also mentioned this one in a previous post and it was delayed.

The Last Hope in Hopetown by Maria Tureaud

Release date: Fall 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old human Sophie Dawes lives a good life in Hopetown. There, vampires and humans live in harmony and Sophie and her adoptive vampire moms are living (or unliving) proof. There are a lot of rules that vampires must follow to keep the humans they live around feeling safe, but if regular visits from child protective services and abiding by a nightly curfew keeps their family together, Sophie will do anything to stay with her loving vampire parents. But then, normal, law-abiding vampires begin to go rogue.

After Sophie’s own mother— the sweetest person she knows— goes rogue, Sophie decides it’s up to her to find a cure. But taking matters into her own hands might be way more than she bargained for if it means braving a secret council of vampires, executing epic heists, and facing the true bad guys head on. With her best friend by her side, Sophie will fight for hope, freedom and a family bonded by a love that’s thicker than blood.

The part where I talk: It’s middle grade, it’s queer, and it’s about VAMPIRES. It’s all my favourite things!

Also, I need you all to know this cover dropped SIX HOURS before I started writing this post.

Calling the Moon edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez

Release date: 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Candlewick Press has bought Calling the Moon, edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez. The anthology collects short stories and poems about menstruation written by contributors of color, including Méndez, Salazar, Hilda Burgus, Veeda Bybee, Margarita Engle, Saadia Faruqi, Nikki Grimes, Leah Henderson, Erin Entrada Kelly, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Elise McMullen-Ciotti, Mason J., Emma Otheguy, Naheed Hasnat Senzai, Christina Soontornvat, and Ibi Zoboi.

Calling the Moon will feature contemporary fictional middle grade stories that reflect a range of emotions, experiences, cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender expressions. The book is planned for spring 2022.

The part where I talk: Just to be clear, I’m not 100% sure this is queer, but I hope it is!

Grace Needs Space! by Alison Wilgus

Release date: 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Whitney Leopard at Random House Graphic has acquired world rights to Alison Wilgus (l.) and Rii Abrego’s middle-grade graphic novel Grace Needs Space!.

In this SF adventure, Grace is excited to spend the weekend away from her overbearing mother and finally get to spend time with her “fun” mom on a delivery to Titan, but when things go sideways, it’s up to Grace (with some help from her mother back home) to save the day.

The part where I talk: As this says, this is a graphic novel.

Also this is a “kid with queer parents” book, as you can tell from the summary. 


 

Anne by Jo Gros

Release date: 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Inspired by Anne of Green Gables, contemporary middle grade graphic novel Anne follows feisty red-haired Anne, who finally finds the perfect foster family and confronts her perhaps more-than-platonic feelings for her new best friend Diana.

The part where I talk: I’m pretty sure I made this happen. I think I willed it into existence.

But, no, for real, this is cool. Can’t wait to see more.


Nikhil Out Loud by Maulik Pancholy

Release date: 2022

Summary (from goodreads): A middle grade story about a gay Indian American boy, the star of a hit animated series, who learns the power of using his own voice after his family relocates to a small town in Ohio.

The part where I talk: I have to put some text here or the formatting gets all wonky.

There’s not a lot of info on this one but it sounds cute.


Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom by Nina Varela

Release date: Summer 2022

Summary (from goodreads): In this contemporary middle grade fantasy, a 12-year-old girl, desperate for friends in middle-of-nowhere Florida, paints the girl who has been appearing in her dreams.

But when her art comes to life, she is thrust into an unexpected chase across a parallel world—all while navigating new friendships and her first queer crush.

The part where I talk: The author’s website has some really cute art so I’m just going to link that for funsies.


Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne

Release date: Fall 2022

Summary (from goodreads): Out Fall 2022 with Clarion Books, HAZEL HILL IS GONNA WIN THIS ONE is a queer Middle Grade book that tells the story of 12-year-old Hazel, who, after learning the girls at her school are being sexually harassed by the school’s golden boy, devises a plan with a couple new friends to try and take him down.

The part where I talk: All girls named Hazel are queer now. I don’t make the rules, that’s just how it works. Three middle grade books about queer girls named Hazel – it’s not like an impossible thing but what are the odds?

So, if I’m counting right, that’s 29 queer MG books that I know about coming out this year!!

Do you know about any I missed? What are your most anticipated ones? Let me know in the comments!!

– Laina

Anne of Avonlea Read-Along: Chapters 22-24

Chapter Twenty-Two: Odds and Ends

(Original thread here.) Last thread, Anne and Diana stumbled upon a house in the woods and met Miss Lavendar Lewis!

…and oh boy, there’s some stuff to unpack in this one. Buckle up, kids.

It’s breakfast following the visit to Miss Lavendar’s and Anne is filling Marilla in on everything that happened. Marilla hasn’t seen Miss Lavendar in fifteen years but says Lavendar was “reckoned a great beauty when she was a girl” and Marilla always liked her, though they didn’t know each other well.

*whispers* Crush? XD

Anne says Miss Lavendar is different, but “maybe it’s because she is one of those people who never grow old”. Marilla is unimpresed by this, as it makes it hard for people to fit in. “Far as I can learn Lavendar Lewis has just dropped out of everything.”

She’s also always been curious about why Miss Lavendar and Stephen Irving didn’t work out. He apparently left for the US after they broke up, and hasn’t been back home since. Anne, “with one of those flashes of insight which experience could not have bettered”, figures it was nothing huge, but just the little things that add up.

Yeah, I can see that.

Anne also asks Marilla not to talk to Mrs Rachel about this. She’s not ready to talk about it so publicly, and wants to respect Miss Lavendar’s privacy, which I think is really thoughtful of her. Marilla admits Rachel would normally be curious, but she’s been preoccupied with Thomas’ illness. No one really thinks he’s going to get better at this point.

Mrs Rachel doesn’t know what she’ll do if he dies, as all her kids live out west besides one daughter. Which, uh. Is perhaps somewhat telling that of her TEN (living) children, NINE of them moved full across Canada. I’m sure Mrs Rachel was a good mother, but she also seems like a mother who is easier to love from afar.

Marilla says, “Rachel says if he’d only brace up and exert his will power he’d get better. But what is the use of asking a jellyfish to sit up straight?”

And then she basically says Thomas would never have done anything in his life without Mrs Rachel and he’s lucky to have her to save “him the bother of ever making up his own mind about anything”.

Hey, if it works, it work. As long as they’re happy, good for them.

Meanwhile, this whole time Davy has been displaying his usual awful table manners. He specifically horrifies them by licking his plate and Marilla says if he ever does that again “you’ll be made to wait for your meals till everyone else is done, like the French”.

Again, you know. Yikes. Big yikes, even. French people were REALLY treated badly in this time period.

Racism/anti-Indigenous racism cw for this next bit. Also, animal abuse.

Apparently Davy also recently pulled feathers out of the rooster’s tail because he wanted, and I quote, “an Injun headdress”, which is apparently a big trend in the local schoolboys. Yeaaah, that’s fucked up. I don’t have to point out how fucked up that is, right?

Like… wow.

Timeline note, the book mentions “the past six years” so my timeline is correct right now as far as counting years Anne has been at Green Gables

Besides the racism and animal cruelty, they both think Davy is behaving better since starting school which makes sense.

This is also when Montgomery remembered the twins have an uncle and Marilla wonders about him. There’s been no news since “last May”.

In literally the next paragraph, it says, “A month later a letter did come.”

He’s dead.

Yup, just like that. The book remembered he exists and then he just dies. It is, honestly, hilariously abrupt. Absolutely no buildup. Just dead. He did, however, leave two thousand dollars in a trust for when they’re adults and the interest will be used for raising them.

Say it’s 1896 (I do), that’s in the neighbourhood of $65k, according to the calculator I just checked. This is obviously a big relief for Marilla as kids are expensive and the farm rent only goes so far.

Marilla also refuses to use any of Anne’s money on the twin and I was like, “What money does Anne have?”

She… she has a job. She’s a teacher. That’s a whole-ass job. Did I just forget she was being paid?

Brains are so weird.

Davy and Dora are delighted to be staying at Green Gables – they’re seven so an uncle they’ve never met dying doesn’t make them very sad, OBVIOUSLY. This is super normal. Dora, however, is nervous he’ll show up walking around in the house like Mirabel Cotton’s uncle did.

Tbh that’s pretty darn funny.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Miss Lavendar’s Romance

(Original thread here.) I actually really like this chapter. It’s a really cute chapter. We’re visiting Miss Lavendar again and learning about her past!

One Friday afternoon in December, Anne decides to walk out to visit Miss Lavendar. Marilla worries as it looks like snow, but Anne plans to stay the night. She’s visited Echo Lodge many times since the first, often with Diana but alone as well. Anne and Miss Lavendar are real kindred spirits, having developed a good friendship. It’s very sweet and good for everyone involved. Very cute.

Turns out, Charlotta the Fourth is away for the night as her mother is sick, so Anne’s visit is a very welcome surprise to help stave off Miss Lavendar’s loneliness.

I gotta say, though. An old stone house in the woods as soft December snow begins to fall sounds so beautiful.

They spend the evening “cooking and feasting and making candy and laughing”, eventually settling down on the rug by the fire eating candy. It gets windy, too, and the snow comes down all soft and heavy and seriously this sounds so nice????

Ngl the super hot summer has been really hard on me and I’m just over it. Just. I wanna sweat a little less.

They talk about how this isn’t exactly how Miss Lavendar planned for her life to turn out, but she’s decided to make the best of it and be the best version of herself she could. It’s honestly relateable. She’s not like bitter or anything, but she’s honest that she’s not exactly where she wants to be in life.

Then she asks if Anne wants to hear about her relationship with Stephen Irving and what happened. Anne does very much, of course.

Lavendar and Stephen were childhood friends and sweethearts and were close to marrying – she had her wedding dress made already. (Side note, I’ve been reading a bit about wedding dress history lately and it’s super interesting.)

They had a silly argument, that she doesn’t even remember the reason for, and they “parted in a temper on both sides”. He came back to apologize, but she was still angry and didn’t forgive him. And he was too stubborn to try again. This is quite similar to the backstory of Marilla and John Blythe, actually. Seems like a theme Montgomery really enjoyed writing about.

Miss Lavendar says, “I’m really a very happy, contented little person in spite of my broken heart.”

And I think she is! Just I also think she’s lonely. And I think that’s a really interesting thing Montgomery does here. I think you can both be happy with your life and a little lonely. She says it’s not so bad, that a broken heart is like a bad tooth – hurts sometimes, but between those times of hurting, you can still have a good time.

Later, Miss Lavendar admits hearing of Paul Irving, Stephen’s son, was quite a shock, and she asks about him. Anne sings his praises, of course, and Miss Lavendar says she’d like to meet him, but she needs time to adjust to the idea first.

So one month later (there’s no transition, it’s basically the next paragraph) Anne brings Paul to visit. That would be January then – my timeline has been updated.

Miss Lavendar clearly has some strong feelings when she sees Paul, but she doesn’t let them affect how she treats him, and they’re soon fast friends.

As they walk home, Paul tells Anne how much he liked Miss Lavendar and what a good time he had. I will say, for as much as I bag on Paul, his manners are very good.

Chapter Twenty-Four: A Prophet in His Own Country

(Original thread here.) Apparently there have been some “Avonlea Notes” published in the Charlottetown Daily Enterprise, signed only by an individual calling themself “Observer”.

Most people in Avonlea figure they’re being written by Charlie Sloane. They think this especially because one note kinda insults Gilbert and the youth of Avonlea is convinced Charlie Sloane and Gilbert are romantic rivals for Anne’s heart.

This is wrong on both counts – not only is the love triangle totally not a thing, but GILBERT is the one writing them, with Anne’s help.

There are two notes the book tells us are important – the first is about rumours there’ll be a wedding this spring. The gossip is about Isabella Andrews and Mr Harrison. Anne doesn’t really believe they’re courting, but Mrs Rachel says Isabella is so happy she must be getting married. I guess that’s… the only thing that can truly make a woman happy.

And then I found a mistake!

It says that Anne says Mr Harrison only goes there to play checkers with “Mr. Harrison Andrews”. That was weird to me. Montgomery does repeat names a lot, but Mr J. A. Harrison being friends with Mr. Harrison Andrews? That’s a lot.

So I went back to when this character was mentioned at other points and sure enough, his name is Mr HARMON Andrews.

I find it kind of amazing no one ever corrected this mistake!

Anyways, the second note is the one we’ll be talking about today. It’s about Uncle Abe Andrews, remember him? The one who predicts the weather and then people plan for the opposite, because he’s always wrong? The notes claim he has predicted a violent storm for May 23rd, starting seven pm sharp. Uncle Abe angrily denies making this claim, but no one believes him or believes the storm will happen.

Side note, Anne talks about Thanksgiving in this chapter. She says it should be celebrated in the spring instead of in November because it’s easier to be thankful in spring.

*whispers* Maybe that’s the point, Anne. I’m surprised the book missed that!

Like beyond that I LOVE autumn and I find it personally very easy to be grateful for stuff when it’s all golden and red and beautiful, you could so easily spin that into a lesson about how when being thankful for stuff in life is harder, you should do it more. Something something God and you can even spin it into a religious thing. Not my thing, but it’s right there XD

BUT. I’m more interested in that for the timeline. You may know Thanksgiving is celebrated in October in Canada – but it hasn’t always been. Let’s talk about that for a minute, because it’s a bit interesting.

Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in Canada, held on November 6th, in 1879. It wasn’t officially changed to October until 1957 after the wars, because of Remembrance Day.
But it did happen only in in October by the 30s, though – in the 20s it was combined with “Armistice Day”, the precursor to Remembrance Day. So it can be no earlier than 1879 right now. (I have other evidence supporting my timeline, but this is an addition.)

Back to the story.

This spring, Marilla gave both the twins a small patch of dirt to turn into a garden, which I think is a great idea! Kids really like plants and growing things. I gave my friend’s kid a tomato plant one year and she loved it.

Dora’s is thriving, but Davy has been loving his to death. Marilla suggests he should spend less time pulling them “up by the roots every other day to see how they’re getting on ‘at the other end'”. But honestly he’s having a good time so. Who cares.

The 23rd of May comes and is “an unseasonably warm day”. There’s distant thunder at three-thirty and Anne sends the kids home at once. As she watches them go, she sees a huge cloud, “dead black, save where its curled and fringes edges showed a ghastly, livid white”.

Love that description!

Mr Harmon Andrews (see, it’s not Harrison) pulls up with “his truck wagon” and takes all the students going his way, telling any who have more than a quarter mile to go to stay in the post office. The post office was probably built a lot sturdier than the school, just judging by my own experience with old buildings.

Anne grabs the twins and rushes them home, reaching Green Gables just as “the light seemed to vanish, as if blown out by some mighty breath”. Then “the awful cloud rolled over the sun and a darkness as of late twilight fell across the world. At the same moment, with a crash of thunder and a blinding glare of lightning, the hail swooped down and blotted the landscape out in one white fury.”

Amazing.

Every west and north window in Green Gables is completely smashed, hail the size of eggs come down, and the storm rages for forty-five minutes while Marilla “for once in her life shaken out of her composure by sheer terror” actually is sobbing between cracks of thunder. Poor Marilla!

Davy assumes this is Judgement Day and God is basically personally smiting him which is kinda messed up but also deeply hilarious to me.

The book SAYS Dora is “somewhat pale but quite composed” but that sounds like being too scared to speak to me. But go off, book.

Then, “almost as suddenly as it began”, it stops. The sun comes out and it just stops.

Anne gives Marilla a much earned glass of her strong wine to calm her nerves, and they go to assess what the damage is. The ground is carpeted with hailstones, knee deep, that take multiple days to melt. They’ve destroyed basically everything in the garden and all the blossoms in the apple trees. Most of the trees the AVIS recently planted were also destroyed.

Luckily none of the children were caught in it, as they did all reach home or the safety of the post office in time, so that’s obviously a big relief.

Mr Harrison’s farmhand comes over, sent to see if they were all okay. That’s sweet.

Apparently Mr Harrison’s chimney was hit by lightning, that came down the flue, “knocked over Ginger’s cage and tore a hole in the floor” and went into the cellar. Could that happen?? I just don’t know enough about lightning to know if this is realistic or not XD

But yeah, the bird’s dead and Mr Harrison is super bummed when Anne visits later. He does also point out that no one will be laughing at Uncle Abe’s predictions anymore. Uncle Abe himself enjoy all the attention, forgetting he ever denied predicting a storm that day.

The day after the storm, people do nothing but “visit each other and compare damages”. All over the province, people were injured or even killed, and there’s a lot of damage to crops, trees, and loss of livestock.

There’s a mention of “the whole telephone and telegram system” being affected, which I think is interesting. 1885 is when PEI got its first telephone, in Charlottetown. That’s fun to know!

That evening, Gilbert comes by Green Gables. The storm was just as bad at White Sands, but he got stuck in the school with a whole schoolful of terrified kids. Yikes.

Also Anne isn’t there at first when he shows up. He’s just chatting with Marilla. I think that is adorable, that he’s comfortable just chilling with her, and that she clearly has grown to like him. Gilbert is a good boy.

Anne eventually comes down and asks Gilbert if he’s heard that Mr Levi Boulter’s old house was hit by lightning and burned down. Mr Boulter is half-convinced the AVIS “magicked up that storm on purpose” LOL.

Anne is guiltily glad to see it go, and Gilbert laughs but admits he feels almost responsible for the storm himself, as they really were the ones who made the prediction in the first place. He also shares all the trees they planted were destroyed, but Anne says they can plant more next spring, as the good thing about life is “there are always sure to be more springs”.

Ngl that was a very cute way to end this chapter.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (168): New Years New Books

It’s the laziest joke there is!

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

Release date: February 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.

But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.

Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.

The part where I talk: I am really excited about this Underlined imprint. It reminds me so much of Point Horror and I think it’s really cool to have a modern version of that. 

And I’m not going to lie, I am so into the ghost hunting in a haunted hotel. That is right up my alley!

I’m so excited about this line that I’m including another book!!

A Night to Die For by Lisa Schroeder

Release date: March 1st, 2022

Summary (from goodreads): All Mario wants is one normal night before he graduates. He’s spent most of high school riding solo and gaming with his only friend, Lucas. But when his mom asks him to take Elana Dexter to the prom as a favor to her father, his mother’s boss, he figures this might be his chance to be less of a loner.

Only, the night takes a turn quickly. First, Mario gets crowned Prom King alongside the school’s it-girl, Maribelle Starr. Which is weird enough. But what’s weirder is that when they put the crown on his head, hundreds of worms slither out of it and all over Mario. Just when Mario thought the night couldn’t get any worse, he sees something on the side of the road while driving Elana home. That something is Prom Queen Maribelle Starr—murdered and left for dead.

All Mario wanted was to go to prom…but somehow, he ended up in hell.

The part where I talk: This also sounds really fun. This sounds so weird and creepy and I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Fun start to the year! What are y’all looking forward to reading?

– Laina

2022 Reading Goals

So, the thing is, I am very indecisive and I also struggle with motivation. If left to my own devices, I would just read what my library got and what I would buy from, like, yard sales and the thrift store. Reading challenges help me a lot with being more active about what I read, and with actually reading books I’m interested in, and not just ones that are convenient.

I also find the actual challenge aspect fun. I like finding books that match the prompts.

So, here’s the 2022 Fold Challenge!

I really like these prompts.

I also enjoyed the Nerd Daily Challenge and seeing how many of the books I read could fit into the categories, so I’m going to do it again this year:

Now, the other thing I found really useful last year was this thing I did in September where I did a casual update about my reading goals and I picked a bunch of books from different categories off my goodreads tbr and made an easy list to order library books from.

With pictures!! First, here’s some stuff I wanted to read last year and never did, including the books I have checked out from the library:

Middle Grade options:

YA options:

Adult options:

I don’t have that many, though I do wanna read more adult this year, but we’re starting with these. I also don’t have any non-fiction to list right now.

Remember, this isn’t a strict TBR – it’s just a list to help narrow things down for myself. I also got a new phone for Christmas, and now I have my library app on my phone so I don’t have to log in on my computer to order stuff, and I really like that. And I discovered how to post-date my holds this year. I am thriving.

Maybe I’ll do every 5 months for this. January-May, and June-October, and then the last two months will be my “catch up” months.

Then every year I try to find some kind of backlist challenge, but I’m just going to start calling it my “Read the Fucking Books You Own” challenge because honestly I do this every year and I really don’t need another challenge for this. I just like tracking it.

Also I’m not really talking blogging goals this year. I’m pretty pleased with how things are going and the world is too unpredictable right now, lol. So, we’ll stick with reading goals.

What adult books do you think I’d like? I’m on a quest to read a book that scares me. Have you read anything you think I’d like?

Talk books to me in the comments!!

– Laina

2021 Reading Challenge Finale/2021 Wrap Up Post

Why do I alway forget about these posts until like December 28th? XD I always leave myself having to write a long post and take pictures and make graphics and all that good stuff with like a day to spare, lol.

So, I hit my Goodreads goal plus a little!

I hit 100 books this year.

Wait, I hit 100 books this year. I read 100 books this year? That kind of didn’t sink in until just now. I only read 56 last year. Whoa! Hey, go me.

As usual, I did the FOLD Reading Challenge.

And here’s what I read:

Row 1 – Hungry Hearts, They Said This Would Be Fun, Like Home

Row 2 – Barely Functioning Adult, Mexican Gothic, Disintegrate/Dissociate

Row 3 – Ace of Spades, The Best Man, The Girl Who Wasn’t There

Row 4 – Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, The Only Good Indians, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Buttermilk Graffiti

I really enjoyed all the books I read for the challenge this year. There were definitely some I liked more than others, but most I enjoyed a lot, and I’m definitely satisfied with the results.

I also did the Nerd Daily’s 2021 Reading Challenge, but I tried to do that by using the books I was already reading and just seeing where they fit. It really was just for fun.

1. An audiobook – Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
2. 2020 Goodreads Choice Nominee – Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
3. Gold on cover – Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz
4. Two word title – Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
5. Author starting with E – They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternty Martis
6. Nightbooks by J. A. White
7. Part of a trilogy – Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
8. NYT Bestseller – Ace of Spaces by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
9. An anthology – Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke
10. Debut author – Like Home by Louisa Onomé
11. Released in April – Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
12. Protagonist starting with L – The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhiill
13. Title starts with ‘G’ or ‘K’ – Greenglass House by Kate Milford
14. Multiple perspectives – One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
15. Features travelling – Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field by Angela Ahn
16. Standalone – Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenna
17. Written by a queer author – Disintegrate/Dissociate by Arielle Twist
18. Recommended on social media – Come Find Me by Megan Miranda
19. Set in winter – Tremendous Things by Susan Nielsen
20. A quest – The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung (This one might have been cheating, too, but oh well)
21. Bought based on cover – Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola (I cheated this one and did “ordered from library based on the cover” because I don’t really buy many books)
22. SFF or Mystery – The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
23. A new author to you – The Good Gils by Claire Eliza Bartlett
24. Between 460-495 pages – Close to Home by Lisa Jackson
25. Food on the cover – The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit
26. Bookstore recommendation – Witch Please by Ann Aguire
27. Same first initial as you – Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
28. Reviewed by Us in 2021 – Dustborn by Erin Bowman
29. Romance or YA – Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
30. Recommended by family – Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (And by recommended, I mean I pointed at my tbr shelf and told my mom to pick one)
31. A book you never finished – Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
32. A dash of royalty – The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby
33. Holiday Event Themed- Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs
34. Author Starting With N – A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
35. An Emotion in Title – Hate List by Jennifer Brown
36. Truth or Dare by Jayne Ann Krentz
37. BIPOC Author – Barely Functioning Adult by Meichi Ng
38. Set in the future – Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
39. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
40. Released in 2020 – You Were Never Here by Kathleen Peacock
41. Body Part in Title – My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
42. Written by Two Authors – The Babysitter by Lisa Rodman and Jennifer Jordan
43. A Retelling – Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
44. Indie Author – Stake Sauce Arc 2 by RoAnna Sylver
45. Purchased Year Ago – Home in Time for Christmas by Heathe Graham
46. Pink Cover – Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie
47. Released in July – Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
48. Five Word Title – The Girl Who Wasn’t There by Penny Joelson
49. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
50. Recommended by a Friend (thank, Luce) – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

And then I also track backlist books/books I physically own:

  1. A Winter Scandal by Candace Camp
  2. Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie
  3. Courting Susannah by Linda Lael Miller
  4. A Little Fate by Nora Roberts
  5. When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah
  6. Light in Shadow by Jayne Anne Krentz
  7. Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
  8. Close to Home by Lisa Jackson
  9. The Stonewalkers by Vivien Alcock
  10. So Young to Die by Candice Ransom
  11. Going to the Sun by Jean Craighead George
  12. Coast to Coast by Betsy Byars
  13. Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs
  14. First Impressions by Nora Roberts
  15. What Child Is This? by Caroline B. Cooney
  16. Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, and Lori Foster
  17. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  18. Here Comes the Holidays! by David Wenzel
  19. The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff
  20. Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham
  21. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  22. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  23. The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby
  24. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  25. Witch by Christopher Pike

Let me show you what that looks like!!

The books on the left are books I read, and the books on the left are books I DNFed or decided not to read.

The left stack is books I’m keeping, and the middle and right are books I’m getting rid of. I also gave away a big stack when I decluttered my bookshelves, but I don’t have a picture of that.

My mom’s happy about this XD And so am I. It was nice getting rid of some books I’m never going to read, and some I did read and didn’t like very much.

I do believe it is pie chart time!

I read so many more adult books this year!! Compare to years past.

Shall we talk favourites? I had some. I’m not going to give you a top 10 or a top 5 because I’m indecisive, but I have other ideas for top things.

For instance…

My top 3 favourite fat positive books of the year:

You Were Never Here – A thriller with a fat protagonist!! This was really fun.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown – This is one of the first, if not the first, romance books I’ve read with a fat heroine and it was funny and sweet and really good.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega – Contemporary YA isn’t super my vibe these days, but this is very good and I would recommend it to those who do love contemporary.

My top 3 surprising YA books:

Legendborn – I’m not particularly into Arthurian legend, and I don’t read a lot of YA Fantasy but I loved this book!!

Come Find Me – I expected to like this because I like thrillers, but I read this as an audiobook and that is unexpected for me. This was a really good audiobook.

Blood Like Magic – Again, a YA fantasy – blended with science fiction – and isn’t what I’d normally read, but I really liked it.

My top 3 “I didn’t expect to like these at all” books:

Gods of Jade and Shadow – I could not tell you the last adult fantasy book I read. This was another rone of my FOLD challenge books and I quite enjoyed it.

Where the Crawdads Sing – This is like lit fit and I don’t read that basically at all, and I actually expected to dislike this, but I liked it!

The Echo Wife – I loved this. It’s adult science fiction and I ALSO could not tell you the last adult science fiction book I read, but I saw a bunch of people talking about how much they liked this, and I’m so glad I read it. BIG recommend.

Top 3 “Wait do I like Gothic books?” books:

Mexican Gothic – Big Crimson Peak vibes, loved this.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Luce read this for a class and thought I would like it, so I read it and I did really enjoy it. I loved the vibes and the writing was so good.

Foxlowe – This wasn’t a HUGE favourite, but I did like it, and I particularly liked that it was a weird book.

And I think that’s my year! Other than linking you to my Goodreads Year In Books, I do believe this is as wrapped as we’re going to get.

What did you all read this year? Link me to your wrap ups in the comments!

– Laina