Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn
"Prepare to be blown away—or rather, carried away on huge muscular wings—by this blissfully outlandish, bracingly-smart, tour de force about a teen who has to come to terms with relinquishing control for the first time as she falls for the hot new…pterodactyl…at school. After all, everybody wants him!
Sheils is very pleased with her perfectly controlled life (controlling others while she’s at it). She’s smart, powerful, the Student Body Chair, and she even has a loving boyfriend. What more could a girl ask for?
But everything changes when the first-ever interspecies transfer student, a pterodactyl named Pyke, enrolls at her school. There’s something about him—something primal—that causes the students to lose control whenever he’s around. Even Sheils, the seemingly perfect self-confident girl that she is, can’t keep her mind off of him, despite her doting boyfriend and despite the fact that Pyke immediately starts dating Jocelyn, the school’s fastest runner who Sheils has always discounted as a nobody.
Pyke, hugely popular in a school whose motto is to embrace differences, is asked to join a band, and when his band plays at the Autumn Whirl dance, his preternatural shrieking music sends everyone into a literal frenzy. No one can remember what happened the next day, but Shiels learns that she danced far too long with Pyke, her nose has turned purple, and she may have done something with her boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Who’s in control now?
Hilarious and relatable (despite the dinosaur), Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is about a teen who must come to terms with not being in control of all things at all times, break free of her mundane life, discover who her true self is, and, oh, finding out that going primal isn’t always a bad thing."
So I know right now you're probably thinking that this is a joke, or that this is a parody novel, not a real novel. Nope and nope. This is the latest book from Alan Cumyn (who also happens to be faculty chair at VCFA) and you guys, it is hysterical. At every VCFA residency, faculty are given the opportunity to read from their latest work or their works in progress. It's this really cool moment in the schedule where we can just sort of relax and soak in the brilliance and get all inspired. Or just laugh and laugh and laugh. I think that Alan read from Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend every single residency I was in the program, without fail. And every single time we all roared with laughter (because it is supposed to be funny!) and were also struck by just how good this novel is.
It's already got some haters on Goodreads, but all I can do is implore you to just roll with it. It'll surprise you. I promise.
The Secret Twin by Adi Rule
"For eighteen years, Redwing has lived in hiding in a city of hissing pipes and curving temples perched on the side of Mol, the great volcano. Her father hoped she would grow up to be a real human girl and not a wicked creature out of mythology, so he secretly spared her life as an infant.
But when two priests track her down and attack, she calls forth fire to protect herself, and her secret is out. Redwing soon catches the attention of a cult with a thousand year-old grudge, a group of underground rebels, and the son of the Empress. And when Redwing’s sister goes missing, she uncovers a greater plot to awaken Mol and bring his lava down upon them all.
Now, Redwing must draw a line between myth and history and prove herself more than a monster if she is to save both her sister and her home."
Adi is the author of Strange Sweet Song, which I love love love love and I recommend it to fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone every chance I get. You can read my review here, but know that Adi is the kind of writer to watch. Her writing is strong and brilliant and lovely and deep, and I cannot wait to get my hands on this novel.
And yeah, both of those books are by VCFA authors, what of it? I promise you that this blog is not turning into a VCFA parade, but hey, a lot of great writers and books come out of that program. And if you are interested in a VCFA parade, check out their official kidlit and YA blog The Launchpad!