Monday, February 9, 2009

Dread Locks

The first YA lit book I've read in a while is Dread Locks, part of Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion series. In this particular novel, Shusterman fuses Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Baers) with the story of the gorgon Medusa.

So far, a bored teenager has befriended the kooky girl who just moved in next door, who has golden ringlets that often seem alive, and a thing for dark reflective sunglasses. No doubt, Tara, the girl, is supposed to be a gorgon, most likely the gorgeous one who offends Athena, though I'm not sure yet how much of the mythology is infused in the novel. She does have two sisters, however, but they're away shopping in Europe.

The meet-cute for the two main characters, Parker Baer (sound like 'bear' anyone?) and Tara whose last name is French and more than I can remember off the top of my head, is one that Tara describes as "memorable," and I am inclined to agree with her. Chapter two, when Parker comes hom from riding around on his motorcross bike, his father is roaring something akin to "Who's been sitting in my chair?" A chair that is designed and adjusted to support Mr. Baer's back problems and has since been moved. Then, at breakfast, Parker's younger sister Katrina cries about someone having eaten her cereal. Of course, since Parker is our main character, the climax of the scene comes when he runs out of his room, in search of his father because "someone's been sleeping in my bed." And clearly is still there.

It is Tara's sunglasses that interest me the most. In the myth, it is the gaze of Medusa that turns anyone who comes up against her into stone. There are many statues in Tara's house, but she wears these reflective sunglasses all the time. I gather that she is relatively old; she said she came from Crete, and the sunglasses are an effective way for her to be part of society, claiming (and rightfully so) to have sensitive eyes.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Tara and Baby Baer...

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