Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is Shyness by Leanne Hall

Before I begin my review: here's the stunning trailer for Leanne Hall's debut This Is Shyness, which hit Australian shelves in August.

This trailer is my favourite book trailer ever. 

This Is Shyness from All Things Considered on Vimeo.
About the Book:

A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget. 

In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night. 

But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless...dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.

Check out the reviews @ goodreads 

My Review:

(Did you watch that trailer? ;) It's completely awesome.)

I had no idea what to expect from this book and now it's hard to tell you all what to expect. In some ways, it's perfect going into it with no idea, but here's a small taste...

This is Shyness reads like a contemporary novel but there are fantastical elements.
  • Such as: the suburb of Shyness itself. It is a place where one day, the sun went down, and it hasn't ever risen again. It's in permanent night-time, but right next door (over the border) - the sun's still doing it's usual thing.
  • It's still set in our world, with mobile phones and school and India and everywhere else. But it feels different.
  • The novel takes place over one night. 
  • There's are sugar-crazed kidds and tarsier's (wild monkey-type creatures)
  • It alternates between the POV of wolfboy (enigmatic, charming in an off-beat way, and hot ) and Wildgirl (fiesty, whimsical, a Girl You Will Absolutely Love) . Wolfboy and Wildgirl meet in a bar at night and end up wandering through the streets of Shyness and you never quite know just who they are going to bump into next.
Really these points still don't give any indication what to expect - but you should expect that you have never read anything like this book before.

It felt like a dream, reading this

One of those gorgeous dreams where everything is slightly different but you believe your dream world to be the truth. 
One of those dreams that when you wake up you hold onto it hard, not wanting to leave the magical dream behind, wanting to savour the taste and sound and feel and essence of it.
Like some dreams, it's occasionally a little bit dark and creepy and some parts don't make absolute sense as it's all unfolding.
This is a dream you want to be a part of. And it's the kind of dream you won't ever forget.

I couldn't put this book down - it's a classic example of a book transporting you to another place and time. 

It's also a writer's dream: prose that slips and slides over you in the most evocative of ways.
Descriptions and feelings nailed in a few well-chosen words.
Even the nondescript characters and locations are given their own distinct vibe.

Recommended: This is Shyness is a brilliant novel unlike any I have ever read before. Charming and fantastical, in some places, even cute - yet also gritty and scarily-feral in parts. It's a book for dreamers: imaginative and haunting and completely unexpected. Yay for novels that blow my mind while still making me grin. 4.5 stars.


Some of my favourite quotes below for those who are interested & to give you a taste of the gorgeous and funny prose:
I love Wildgirl

‘We’re going bowling?’ I can’t keep the disappointment of of my voice. Bowling is not badass.  
I watch Wolfboy look at the guitar, his yearning painted all over his face. It’s pretty adorable, even though I’d prefer he look at me like that instead. 
I smile to myself. 
He’s so hot. 
If the girls at school could see me in this fancy bar with this hot guy they’d throw up with jealousy. 

 Wolfboy is completely cool too - despite his gruff-tough persona 
My falling shadow looks ominous, even to me.   
There’s a pause so yawning I can’t help but think about what it would be like to lean in and kiss her, but if I’m getting the signals wrong then I’m about to destroy the best run we’ve had all evening. It’s been at least ten minutes since I’ve done or said anything stupid.  

Stunning descriptions that evoke great imagery in the simplest of lines:

The trees outside scrape their twiggy fingers on the glass as if they want to be let in. 
People grow couches and bikes and concrete in their front gardens instead of roses.  
Wolfboy whispers the password to the door, practically kissing the peeling paint. 

Random people descriptions:

The Elf is weedy, with lank blond hair and skin the colour of uncooked dough. 

Sebastein's bodiless voice is as dry and papery as his skin. 

The girl with the curly hair is a porcelain doll in army pants. Goatee guy looks half drowned in on oversized black jumper. 
Her daughter poses with a cardboard sword in one hand and a torch in the other. She wears a too-big tunic and a lumpy foil helmet. Her expression is halfway between goofy grin and ferocious battle-face.


  1. Oh man, everyone keeps telling me about how fantastic this book is and WOW at those snippets you posted. I especially loved: 'People grow couches and bikes and concrete in their front gardens instead of roses.'

    And yes, I watched the trailer. And yes, it was awesome :D

  2. Lovely review as always, Nomes! I always love what you bring. I had no idea what this book was about, but I'm definitely interested now. Especially if it can transport me to this strange place, Shyness. I'm wondering what significance the very name holds for the book. Yes--the trailer is treasure. I'm glad you included it because I hadn't seen it before just then. It's already released. I'm going to see if they have it listed in the local library.

  3. @ Vee: so glad you've heard about this one. It's so completely different and kyrical - you'd completely love it. and yay for loving the trailer!

    @ Cass: Thanks :) It's such a hard book to say what it is about - you kinda have to experience it for yourself. I hope your library has it!

  4. This book sounds great! I loved your review!This book goes on my wishlist now.

  5. Really loved this review! Have been looking at this book in the bookstore I work at but couldn't decide whether to give it a go or not. Definitely keen to do that now! Great writing :)

  6. Nomes, another amazing review that makes me hungry to read this book. You have a gift for wetting my appetite and leaving me salivating for every book you review.

    I don't have Flash player so I am going to see if I find the trailer on You Tube.

  7. sounds awesomely awesome! xxx

  8. Just found your blog and HOLY WOW BATMAN! I LOVES IT!

    Okay, so it takes a lot to get me excited for a book. Reviews don't really make me WANT to buy a book, i kind of already have to want it myself a little. BUT this review is total genius because I have no clue what this book is about just that it's characters have funky weird names like wildgirl and wolfboy, which is SO random. And then the review? well, it's like its saying "OMG CARLA GO BUY THIS BOOK GO BUY IT NOW BUY IT BUY IT" and now I have to buy it, which NEVER happens to me when I read reviews.

    I suspect this blog is going to be dangerous for me and my bank balance, however, I like living dangerously so I think this is perfect. GRAZIE!

  9. Oh how I want to read this now! For a book which was difficult to describe, you sure painted a wonderful picture. Thanks!

  10. Dang Nomes, I must get this book. What a fantastic review! More Aussie Aussomness :-)

  11. Wolfboy.
    Why don't I have this already?

    And your review is giving me a really hard time. I so want this book right now.

  12. Like a dream, huh? Sounds cool. Great video/music.

  13. Oooh, I cannot wait for this book to come out over here (and I might see if I can buy a sneaky copy online.) Great review, and I love the trailer!

  14. Amazing review! Loved the quotes and the trailer. I am now on a mission to try and find this book tomorrow. Please let it be in stores :)

  15. Yay for all these brilliant comments that make my day!

    I am so hoping This is Shyness makes it's way around the world :) It's so wildly different and very very cool.

    And thanks for the compliments re the review :0 Really, it's so hard to express this stuff.


  16. Wow! I've never heard of this book before. Therefore, I must check it out, especially after reading your raving review. Ahh! Thanks for the quotes, too!

  17. Beautiful review Nomes :)
    Tye x

  18. that trailer was amazing... I really wish this was in the US right now! Lovely review.

  19. Another one of my favourites!

  20. I love YOUR review too! :) And yes, coolest book trailer ever (loved the pink ukelele).


Thanks for the commenty love :)