Yes, in fact I AM going to use “something is awesome in the state of Denmark!” at every conceivable opportunity, just because I love that such a gleeful mutation of the Bard’s eternal prose can be found in a review of Michelle Ray‘s FALLING FOR HAMLET (in this case by Mandy Boles of Young Adult Smash). And if you’re thinking “well geez Mike, that’s just blatant book-review favoritism,” my response is YES. YES IT IS.
But enough about me and my favoritism, we’re here to talk about miniskirts! As in, the one I didn’t photograph myself wearing in homage to FALLING FOR HAMLET. I found the perfect skirt! And it’s not available anywhere in the United States in my size (extra-ginormous). Yes, I could have had it shipped from the U.K., but you people are forgetting what a miser I am. So, um, sorry? Trust me, the world’s better off without seeing me in a too-short miniskirt designed for flirty high schoolers.
Anyway, what we have here is a roundup of some internet chatter about our debut EMU’s Debut debut novel. Mandy Boles’s declaration of awesomeness afoot in Denmark is my personal favorite, but there’s plenty of other stuff. For example, this is what fellow EMLA client, Al Roker honoree, Arthur A. Levine Books author and all-around superstar Trent Reedy had to say last week:
FALLING FOR HAMLET is on store shelves starting today! This is a stellar novel, a chance to look at the events of Shakespeare’s HAMLET in a modern setting and from a different perspective. It’s great if you love HAMLET, great YA novels, or if you’ve just never been satisfied by Queen Gertrude’s fishy explanation of Ophelia’s “death.”
Other reviewers have made their own contributions too. Eve’s Fan Garden has added FALLING FOR HAMLET to their Tree of Knowledge; Katie B. at Mundie Moms declares it “a great modern twist on a classic story”; the Chesapeake Public Library’s Bottom Line Book Reviews recommends the book to “those who like to read about the affects of fame on people, or anyone who likes a good tragedy”; the good people at Tucker Free Library Teen Readers are not afraid to acknowledge the hoary root system of the source play, saying “Over all, this is a wonderful retelling of a Shakespeare play that has been poked, prodded, stretched and beaten to death”; Word for Teens posted my second-favorite review, emphasizing brevity and directness; Sarah at The Reading Zone says “how much would Shakespeare have loved the addition of tabloids and paparazzi?” – good point, yo; and Mrs. V’s Reviews eponymous Mrs. V. “love, love, loved this book.”
Michelle is also touring the blog interview circuit, dishing up answers and sharing her creative process. From the Mixed-Up Files of Jennifer Bertman has a peek into Michelle’s creative workspace and process (with a special hidden butt imprint in her living room couch); Peter Salomon fired off three questions about the author’s personal history; Penny Blubaugh does some insightful dissection of the book; Qutessy gets emotional with the character love questions; and Elizabeth Eulberg didn’t just interview the author, she also blurbed the book, and elicited a mention of R.E.M.’s Find the River, one of my own favorite tunes and a highly appropriate choice for writing about a girl like Ophelia.
“But Mike!” you say. “We want your opinion!” Okay, let me quote Michelle Ray’s latter-day Ophelia – or, as I will now forever call her, Phee – and say that “man cannot live on coffee alone.” Sometimes a brawny, strapping knuckle-dragger like myse–HEY, STOP LAUGHING–sometimes a man’s just gotta take in a contemporary Shakespeare retelling with a generous dollop of writerly zing, a blend of old-school Bardian poetry and newfangled YA attitude, and a teenage girl in a short skirt who figures out she’s way more than a nutty prince’s arm candy (no matter how sweet said prince might be when he’s strumming a guitar). FALLING FOR HAMLET is as fabulous a novel as we EMU’s Debuts could hope to send out into the world as our first debut. There’s no doubt, people. Something is awesome in the–well, you know.
Yours in paparazzi-dodging good humor,