“This is not just a luminescent work, it is a transcendent and transformative one. Jill Malone finds and plays the desperate times of the teenaged years like an old Gibson. The reader is instantly, effortlessly, back in those halls of high school, the auditoriums and locker rooms and gyms, the whispered conversations in the library, solving math problems on the phone, sneaking out late at night, wondering, always wondering, if you have gone too far this time, or not far enough. . . . Malone continues to delight with each new book. Her writing reveals a sure, deft skill at the subtleties and ever-changing emotions of characters as they grow and progress. . . . Malone is the real thing, a novelist of great touch and tone, like a fine musician, the kind who play because they love the music and look up at the end of a song, surprised to find an audience.” Lesbian.com, June 4, 2013
Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.
And then, of course, there’s Meghan.
Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.
But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.
Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.
Praise for Jill Malone's debut Red Audrey and the Roping:
"A lyrical, passionate novel about desire, about danger, and about the need for self-forgiveness. A wonderfully impressive writing debut."Sarah Waters
"With its lyrical dialogue, complex characters, and atmospheric setting, this is a dazzling and dramatic debut."Richard Labonte, Book Marks Reviews
"Finely tuned, daring, and perceptive, Malone's auspicious debut leaves us wanting more."Booklist
Praise for Jill Malone's A Field Guide to Deception:
"This gem of a book avoids the second-book blahs and gives us a poignant, real story of relationships and all they cost."OutSmart Magazine
"An absolutely gripping and beautifully written story."AfterEllen.com
"Beautiful, essential reading."Outinprint.net
Jill Malone's second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Literary Award. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, won the Bywater Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction. Jill Malone is a regular blogger and her following is moving beyond the queer reading community. She lives in Spokane, Washington.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jill Malone is an award winning author for her previous books, but Giraffe People is probably more readable by the general public. This is likely to due to the fact that it’s a coming of age story, something that most people can relate to. Cole Peters is fifteen years old; a difficult age for anyone, but especially the child of a military chaplain. Cole is trying to figure out who she is, what she wants and where she fits in the general scheme of the universe while dealing with the shifting impermanence of military life. As she says in the book, “We never get to keep anything. Never. Temporary quarters, and temporary friends, and temporary school…” It’s no wonder that Cole boomerangs all over the place in her emotions and perceptions. She seems happy playing soccer and dating her boyfriend; then she seems willing to give them up for the rebellious life of a rock and roll band. Is her admiration for Meghan, an older girl who is preparing for West Point, simply the normal hero worship for a role model or the budding of early lesbian interests? Cole describes herself and her family by saying, “Nigel and Nate and I have the exact body of our dad: stooped, long-legged, with a narrow chest and flat feet. We’re like giraffe people.” Maybe what she’s saying is that it’s very difficult to be normal and different at the same time. The reader can feel sympathetic towards Cole on a number of issues, mainly because she has so many issues to deal with – teenage, the military lifestyle, a girl in athletics, indefinite sexuality, and her father is a chaplain, bringing in the religious aspect. What’s left for the poor kid not to have to deal with? The most interesting one turns out to be the impact on the life of a military child. This is an area most people never consider, but the constant shifting of areas and the inconstancy of friends and schools is destabilizing more than anything. It provokes a question of whether or not families with children should be in the military or if they should be stationed in one place for longer periods of time. Giraffe People is the least esoteric of Malone’s books, but perhaps her most thought provoking because it deals with issues almost anyone can relate to. The reader can identify with struggles that have been experienced. It might not be a good idea to give the book to an actual teenager however since it might upset more than help them.
"Luminescent" writing. Nicole Peters would like that word. Booklist also called this novel "finely tuned, daring, and perceptive." I agree. I love Jill Malone's writing, and his new novel really shows her talents well. Cole Peters defines words using gut feelings instead of a dictionary. Fifteen, trapped in a family whose life is punctuated by dashes from one military base to another, further enclosed by being a chaplain's kid, a subset within a subset, she calls it, making her feel doubly weird. No just a military brat, but a preacher's kid, those two facts encircle her life like a Venn diagram. Set on base housing in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in the years 1990 and 1991, Cole is bound to excel in everything she does, school, sports, music. Bound to excellence, not ordained to excel, instead, she is tied to it. Hours of homework in Geometry and Spanish, history and English, hours at practice running drills, running, hours practicing in her room with a guitar. Fifteen, not quite sixteen. And running all the time,like a sustained note pitched to a frequency no one can hear. What is my name? she writes in the margins of her book. Nic, Nicky, Nicole, Cole? Am I a jock? She plays and letters in three varsity sports. She worries about her GPA. This is not just a luminescent work, it is a transcendent and transformative one. Jill Malone finds and plays the desperate times of the teenaged years like an old Gibson. The reader is instantly, effortlessly, back in those halls of high school, the auditoriums and locker rooms and gyms, the whispered conversations in the library, solving math problems on the phone, sneaking out late at night, wondering, always wondering, if you have gone too far this time, or not far enough. In sweaty, steamed up, over-heated cars, in the mud and glaring lights of a soccer field, inside a smoky, smelly bar, hanging out in a boy's room, just as friends, more than friends, Cole rises. She rises up, and up, until she is shining, glowing, luminescent, as reviewers describe too the writing in this, Jill Malone's third novel. A past winner of the 2010 Lambda award for A Field Guide to Deception, Malone continues to delight with each new book. Her writing reveals a sure, deft skill at the subtleties and ever-changing emotions of characters as they grow and progress. Malone is the real thing, a novelist of great touch and tone, like a fine musician, the kind who play because they love the music and look up at the end of a song, surprised to find an audience. I hope Malone's work continues to find the audience it certainly deserves. I invite you to begin to enjoy her work with Giraffe People, which I believe is her best yet.