Listen, I love Libba Bray as much as the next YA enthusiast- but there's always an element of tension in her books that just doesn't jive with me. Tension in literature is good, I know. It's what makes you turn the next page, read just one more chapter before bed, and obsessively think about the story long after you closed the book. But the tension I'm talking about is brought about by an almost mean girl dynamic exhibited by her characters. I loved The Sweet Far Thing, but I kept getting super irritated by the main character's idiotic devotion to her frenemy. I was like- "just dump her! You have better friends! Stop taking her into the magical dream world place!" Ahem.
While the mean girl character is a realistic, if (in my opinion) overused trope, - I just can't relate to it. Well, neither can Destiny Soria. We discussed the unnerving 'frenemy' trend in YA literature at the ALA conference and she was like, who has friends like that? Soria, says that the friendship in her book reflects the true friendships that she has had in her own life. Friends that build each other up, instead of cattily compete. Friends that will always be there to support each other in their weaker moments. Friends that know each other so well that all you need is a secret handshake to tell each other "it's ok."
Aside from the wonderfully empowering friendship aspect of Soria's novel, there are a few other things you should know about it. There's a bit of a fantasy/sci-fi element to it. Enough to attract fans like me, but not enough to turn off dedicated readers of realistic fiction. The story is set around the time of Libba Bray's The Diviners, and similarly displays a social/economical/racial cross-section of metropolitan life in the Roaring 20's.
Like The Lie Tree, Iron Cast is pretty tame for a YA. Except for some drinking and maybe a light swear here and there, this is a fairly safe book for younger YA fans.
For a quick plot summary, visit Soria's site here!
Soria, D. 2016. Iron Cast. New York: Amulet.
Pairs well with champagne! Or gin!
..... oh! or champagne and gin!