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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Spider Brains" by Susan Wingate ~ YA "Metamorphosis"

If one were to bake the story SPIDER BRAINS into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit!

A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.
After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim, a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on the teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she begins visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner?

A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, SPIDER BRAINS poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder

Particulars of the Book:
Published by: Roberts Press
Pages:  284
Genre:  YA fiction ~ paranormal(ish)/comedy
Author's website:  Susan Wingate

You may find this book on: Amazon 

A Bit About Ms Wingate :
Most recently, Susan’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books.

Susan's Favorite Quote: “If the doctor told me I had only six minutes to live… I’d type a little faster.” — Isaac Asimov. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.

The Dame's Take on the Spider Thing :

Ordinarily, I would be simply freaked out about anything having to do with spiders!  No so with this spunky and sparkling story of a girl just trying to get by in a slow-moving world of dysfunctional adults!  LOL  I died laughing at her insights, her obsessions over "spideritis" and her midnight maraudings!  This is a treasure of a book, and one I have to buy several copies of for my teen niece's!
As for adults readers, you have to get this one, if nothing else than to just live in the mind of a slippery little 15 year old for a moment.  I think Susan Wingate hits a home run with "Spider Brains."

What won't wait being talked about are the darling illustrations in this book.  I love them!  Why can't we have more illustrations in books, people!?  Doesn't it make it fun to read and see pictures?  I don't mean we need a lot of them, but this book is a treasure with the inclusion of them.  Tiny stampish drawings, and then larger ones including a spider anatomy.  It's just hilarious.  I could have hugged this book.

"Spider Brain" took me back years to the sort of diary I used to write as a teenager.  And this book is written like a teen's diary.  So loose, so word flowing and so imaginative.  It is one of those books with the surface full of one story, while the underlying angst is hanging there like a wilted daisy hoping you'll pick it up and water it.  This book is a treasure of symbolism for those who cherish this reading experience, and I'm one of them.

Wingate's characters are so delightful.  I loved each of them.  Even the ridiculous teacher who became Susie's nemesis, was funny and quirky.  I loved to hate her.  Susie and Matt are a pair that teens will surely relate to.  They are full of teen-aged angst, for one, but they also tackle some of the major issues that face children today...loss of parents in one form or another, fears about college, hostile teachers, and dealing with parents who have issues of their own.

There is much that could be said about this very surprising book, but I'll summarize by telling you that it's one I would highly recommend you get for this summer.  Whether you want a trip down memory lane, want to surprise a teen who doesn't think you're very "cool," or want to understand a thing or two about what may be lurking in the corners of your ceiling(!), you can't go wrong picking up a copy of "Spider Brain."  Better buy two copies, actually.  As soon as someone sees you with yours, they'll want it!!!

5 stars                 Deborah/TheBookishDame


Susan Wingate

Oh, thank you for the glowing remarks. Writing SPIDER BRAINS was a wonderful ride. From my heart, thank you. -Susan.


Excellent book, Susan! I wanted to be a spider, myself. And on soooo many walls!! LOL

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