gods with a little g

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Oh this BOOK! Hassman has such an incredible gift as a writer from the teenage voice. This book, with its short chapters is a fast-paced and delightful window into Helen, a young woman who has lost her mother and is being raised by an emotionally traumatized father in the evangelical-minded town of Rosary, CA. Helen and her cast of friends hang out in a Tire Yard trying to find their way to adulthood when they can flee to, hopefully, bigger and brighter futures. Filled with teenage angst, but just the right amount, you will love these characters and be very sad when turning the last page. 
 

Discussed on Episode 25 of Book Cougars Podcast
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Overall, I enjoyed this book, though find it a bit hard to summarize/categorize. My best attempt would be that it's a sort of semi-dystopian mixed bag of bittersweet, snarky, teenage angst. Leaves you with a somewhat hopeful feeling at the end.
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“If you were flying in a plane over Rosary, California, the first thing you’d see is me, a skinny white girl with messy hair and a big backpack, waving you on. ‘Keep going,’ I’d say. The second thing you’d see, on an afternoon when school was just out and the wind was starting to shift, would be teenagers closing in on a tire yard like bits of metal pulling to a magnet. Until we were all gathered there, negative and positive, and jumping from the force of being near each other.”

This is the opening passage of Tupelo Hassman’s “gods with a little g,” and let me tell you, it only gets better from there. It’s a hefty little book — the longest I've read this year, and probably ever, at 350 pages — about a girl named Helen (a.k.a. “Hell,” whose narration i fucking love) and her gang of misfits (a.k.a “the Dickheads”) living in an predominantly white, evangelical-ran city that seems more like a ghost town than anything. There’s no Internet, tattoos and other forms of personal expression will be outlawed, and so its overpopulated town of teens kill their angst with sex, beer and time — time which begets freedom for some and evokes fear in others. I’m not very far into it, but the writing is sharp and sobering and the form she’s taken — bursts of vignettes — is so wise and captivating. Wasting in a predominantly white ghost town, a group of misfits kill their boredom with sex and booze before time blindsides them with new fears and freedoms in a glittering novel of cheeky teenage angst.
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t's never easy to be 16 but Helen has it harder than most.  She's grieving, her dad is grieving and dating, the town she lives in is dreadful, and all in all, she can take comfort only in her friends, who have named themselves the Dickheads.  Win's got one set of issues  and Rain has another but everyone wants to grow up and get out of Rosary.  Her aunt Bev the psychic sort of helps but she's not an straight laced person either.  This is a modern coming of age story that packs in a lot of topical issues.  Not a lot happens, to be honest, but the characters are well done and sympathetic.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Well done.
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An amazing and well written book, full of quirky and likeable characters and food for thought.
It's a story about coming of age but also about the time we are living.
The style of writing is excellent as well as the character development and the descriptions.
I loved it and it's highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was an engaging coming of age tale that I enjoyed very much. The author has a way with words. Look forward to more.
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Rosary - a town dominated by Evangelicals. Helen - a teenaged girl dealing with grief and loss, self identity, and a desire to be loved and wanted. This book is a journey with Helen, her friends and family towards self discovery. I was a fairly adventurous teenager(my church youth group went skinny dipping), but some of the teens activities in this story made me blink a few times. Have I grown too old! The chapters with Helen's inner dialogues were bittersweet and hopeful. A little gem.
Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy.
#NrtGalley
#Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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A snarky and off-beat coming of age novel set in the California town of Rosary. The town is populated by a lot of very religious people (dubbed the Thumpers), but we follow Helen and her friends who dub themselves "The Dickheads" and spend their time drinking beer at a tyre yard and reading porn novels. Helen is in her junior year and navigating crushes, her father's new relationship in the wake of her mother's death and the usual trials and tribulations of high school. Ultimately a little light on plot for my liking, I'm sure this novel will speak to many with similar teenage experiences.
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I was loving it.  I did love it.  I do love it, but there’s a but, and we’ll get to that later.  Snarkily self-protective high school student Helen Dedleder (hmm, her dad’s a postman) lives in Rosary, California.  Her mother is deceased, so it’s just Helen and her dad, but her dad is zombified with grief, so her Aunt Bev, a psychic, moves to Rosary and opens the Psychic Encounter Shoppe, henceforth referred to as the shoppe.  Now, Rosary, you see, is home to a giant belching refinery, lots and lots of churches and lots and lots of religious folks that Helen calls Thumpers.  The Thumpers pretty much control Rosary, and they are not happy to have a psychic shoppe in their town.  They’re even more unhappy with Aunt Bev’s second job in the back of the shoppe after hours.

Helen and her friends call themselves the Dickheads and they hang out after school at Fast Eddie’s Tire Salvage, drinking beer.  Thumpers aren’t happy with the Dickheads either, and the Dickheads aren’t happy with the Thumpers, so there you go.  Me, I was riding the crest – sexually-obsessed teenagers, quirky misfit angst, a rollicking good time.  Then, near the end, almost home-free with a standing ovation, Ms. Hassman throws in an ill-advised scene that gave me the vapors.  I won’t go into it, but I will say that no one is hurt, so there’s that.  It is, however, ugly, unnecessary, and unnecessarily ugly.  Now this particular scene might not bother you; it doesn’t have to.  And, when all is said and done, this is a meaningful book, a raucous riot of a book, but……..it did bother me.  So, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Full Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided to me by Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I would like to thank the publisher, the author and NetGalley for providing me this opportunity.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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"If you were flying in a plane over Rosary, California, the first thing you'd see is me, a skinny white girl with messy hair and a big backpack, waving you on. 'Keep going,' I'd say." *

Helen is tired of living in Rosary, a town named by Catholics but now run by Thumpers (Bible-thumping evangelicals) who have alienated the surrounding towns.

Rosary doesn't want to be isolated from their neighboring city Sky but they don't condone their lifestyle choices and they certainly don't want them to influence the teens of Rosary.

Little do the Thumpers know Helen and her group of misfit friends, the self-proclaimed Dickheads, spend their afternoons at Fast Eddie's Tire Yard drinking beer and their nights dialing in to a Sky radio station that discusses topics that are off-limits in their hometown.  

gods with a little g follows Helen through her junior year: navigating life with her best friends Win and Rain, coming to terms with her dad's first relationship since her mom died, and harboring a secret crush on bad boy Bird ...who may become her stepbrother (awkwaaaard).

Full of lovable quirky characters in a modern dystopia, gods with a little g is a unique and gritty coming-of-age story that doesn't shy away from complicated and relevant topics like gender identity and abortion.

Thanks to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  gods with a little g is scheduled for release on August 13, 2019.

*Quote included is from a digital advanced reader's copy and is subject to change upon final publication.
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Hassman's novel is bittersweet; raw and unflinching, "gods with a little g" is nostalgic, engrossing and unique, both the characters and the progress of the plot itself sticks with the reader long after the last page has been turned.
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Sometimes it's hard to categorise a book, which makes it hard to review it, and much harder to give it a score out of five. Some books don't need a score, they are what they are. This book is sweet and sad and hopeful, and self contained and sure of itself. I initially found the short chapters offputting, but it works very well with the tone of the book. The ending was maybe a bit too sweet, but that could just be my cynical old heart talking, and the journey to get there was a lovely, happy / sad  trip.

Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Company for the eArc in exchange for an honest review.
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A town of religion an evangelical sect teenagers controlled by strut religious rules a gang of rag tag kids a gang anything but reigiousva group of rebels a town a collision of groups.So well written so involving.#netgalley #fsg
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A strict Evangelical suburb vs a ragtag, scally band of rebels makes for an interesting deep dive into the teenage psyche being restricted by religion. Nostalgic, raw and wonderful.
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I requested Gods with a little g because I absolutely loved Girlchild. This novel has the same grit and glory all wrapped up in a fabulous package (the cover is absolutely perfect once you read the book).  Rosary is a town of thumpers (Bible Thumpers, that is) that suppress and oppress so much that the town is a place out of time. The nearby city of Sky offers hope for the Dickheads, an assembly of teenagers who feel like outsiders. The brilliance of this book is that there is much healing of individuals and community within its pages.
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Rosary, California, is not an easy place to grow up, particularly without a mom. So cut off from the rest of the world that even the Internet is blocked, Rosary is a town run by evangelicals but named by Catholics (and the evangelicals aren’t particularly happy about that). It’s a town on very formal relations with its neighbors, one that doesn’t have much traffic in or out and that boasts an oil refinery as well as a fairly sizable population of teenagers.

For Helen and her friends, the Tire Yard, sex, and beer are the best ways to pass the days until they turn eighteen and can leave town entirely. Her best friends, Win and Rainbolene, late arrivals to Rosary, are particularly keen to depart—Rain because she’ll finally be able to get the hormones she needs to fully become herself. Watching over them is Aunt Bev, an outcast like the kids, who runs the barely tolerated Psychic Encounter Shoppe. As time passes, though, tensions build for everyone and threats against the Psychic Encounter Shoppe become serious actions. In Tupelo Hassman's gods with a little g, these flawed, lovable characters discover aspects of each other's hearts that reshape how they think about trust and family, and how to make a future you can see.

Thanks for the advance copy from NetGalley. I liked most of the book.  I felt connected with the whole town. 
I saw so much in gods with a little g . But, in the end, it was a smile.
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