The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door had me at hello—REVENGE in huge font on the cover, sartorial choices that are reminiscent of Gingerbread, but with a more confrontational pose—and when I actually opened the book and started reading, I just loved it more and more and more with every page I turned.
Celia is angry, irritable, empathetic, creative, funny, smart, and completely believable. She's a huge reader—she has a crush on Diana Wynne Jones' Howl!—and her poetry, as in Sharon Creech's Love that Dog, reflects what she's currently studying as well as allowing her to mull over some of the stuff that's going on in her life.
Additionally? Her poetry? Makes for genuinely enjoyable reading.
Best of all, as I said in my review, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door isn't about a how a romance changes her life: it's about how a friendship changes her life.
Love love love, full stop.
And now I shall turn this post over to Karen Finneyfrock, who has compiled a list of Revenge Classics that made Celia's story possible:
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
Ask a reader to name a revenge tale and this might be the first on her list. Alexandre Dumas also wrote The Three Musketeers, and these books are famous for a reason. Big emotion, big action! They blend fast-paced story telling with emotionally charged scenes. Read them when your life is sitting still and you need to feel swept away.
Hamlet or Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare
People pop off Hamlet as the Shakespeare’s most revenge-happy protagonist because of the revenge Hamlet wants back at the people who murdered his father. But, I think the darker and more terrifying revenge scene lives in Titus Andronicus. Let’s just say that someone in the play eats a meat pie, and the meat used in that pie was once a couple of characters.
*Note: if you plan to read Titus Andronicus, go ahead and schedule your therapy appointments now. It’s sort of like the Shakespearian answer to that movie Saw.
*Note: I never watched Saw.
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
Who can resist pairing revenge with the madness of Captain Ahab, stalking through the wild southern ocean bent on killing a predatory animal for being predatory? This is one of my favorite books and should be on your shelf if you have a curiosity about American history, the sea or just enjoy a solidly built story.
For a really fun Moby Dick experience, check out Moby Dick Big Read, where you can hear people like Tilda Swinton and John Waters read chapters aloud.
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
What’s up with so many revenge stories being written by men? Good thing we’ve got Emily Bronte and her dark story of Heathcliff, whose true love didn’t find him worthy of marriage due to his station in life. Chew on that for a number of years and see if you don’t find yourself walking back over the moors, intent on ruining some snobby elites’ privilege party.
Previously:Lauren Roedy Vaughn's Five Favorite Literary Adult Mentors... Plus Two Characters Who Need One.