Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 29, 2008


Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — kariredmond @ 10:31 pm

Last week for bookclub I shared a book that I had just started called TTYL by Lauren Myracle.  It is basically a novel that is entirely written by way of Instant messaging conversations.  There are three best friends that are starting their sophmore year of high school with all of the basic concerns of teenage girls.  Their priorities and worries include frienship, boys, a group of snobby/bullying girls, and parents.  This is a very easy read, there is some sexual reference and content but I don’t see why a HS freshman couldn’t read this novel.  It seems to touch on several issues that teens can relate to, as well as having an interesting dynamic of innapropriate behavior between a student and her teacher. 

This is definately not a book I would normally pick up, but lately I have been reading a ton of heavy novels for teens and this seemed like a good way to break my current mold. Also, as Joyce and I discussed, we have been noticing it’s bright pink cover and smilies (GREAT marketing technique to entice teen girls) every time we pass by the “Whats good for teens” table at B&N and it just jumps off of the shelf. 

In addition, it was recommended to me by a 15-year-old girl at my riding stables that I converse with frequently about YA lit. She told me she had read it and enjoyed it, and also encouraged me to purchase a novel called Perfect which I now own but know nothing about. Mary also let me borrow the movie for Speak so if I can get to it at some point I will let you know how that is!



Tony Hawk, Professional Skateboarder

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — scrollman @ 11:47 am

Following a request for a YA skateboarding title, I picked up Tony Hawk, Professional Skateboarder,  an autiobiography co-written by Sean Mortimer.  In some ways, the beginning of this book reminds of King of the Mild Frontier.  As a child, Tony is prone to serious temper tantrums, and drives his parents up the wall.  At school he is smart, but bored, and frequently gets into trouble.  It is only until his brother gives him his old skateboard that Tony finds an outlet for his intense energy, and begins his long, arduous, and passionate journey toward becoming a professional skateboarder.  This book is fantastic for anyone interested in skateboarding, or a true story about someone who made his dreams come true. 


April 28, 2008


Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — katefrazer @ 9:20 pm

After reading and loving Looking for Alaska this winter, I was very eager to read John Green’s An Abundance of Katherine’s, which I am almost finished reading now.  I am really enjoying this book, but I don’t really put it on the same level as Alaska

An Abundance of Katherine‘s is about a washed-up child prodigy named Colin, who has just been dumped by his nineteenth Katherine.  Colin is 18 and just graduated from high school.  He’s a prodigy, not a genius, so he is struggling to make his mark, to make himself matter.  Unfortunately, at the same time he is trying to recover from his recent break-up, and he’s not doing too well. 

Colin and his friend Hassan decide to go on a road trip, and end up living with a 17 year-old named Lindsey and her mom, who happens to own the major factory in a very small town.  It’s a pretty interesting town, and while I like Colin, I love Hassan.  He’s a funny guy.  The further I read in the book, the more I like it.  It started a little slowly, but it is really picking up.  I also have no real idea about how the book will end, and I like that. 

April 24, 2008

Raph, summer reading

Filed under: Book Club Violation, Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — Joyce @ 10:20 pm

hi Raph-

I just picked up the Barack Obama memoir, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. I look forward to reading it over the summer. Today I heard through the grape vine that you’ve read this? Is that true? If so, what did you think of it? I’m really interested to hear your reaction.



Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — jexter1 @ 2:40 pm

As for CUT, by Patricia McCormick, I enjoyed this book immensely. Perhaps enjoyed is the wrong choice of word. I appreciated and connected with this novel. Callie, a 15 year-old who is admitted to Sea Pines- known as “Sick Minds” by the patients-for cutting herself. Upon entering the facility, Callie turns more inward than ever before, becoming mute. Interestingly enough, the novel is written in Callie’s voice to her therapist. She constantly refers to her therapist as “you” and tells the therapist all her thoughts, feelings, desires and pains in the novel. Callie explains that there is so much she wants to say and scream, but then she would be giving into everyone’s requests/demands for her to speak. Callie speaks for so many teens who want to be heard and need to talk to someone, but cannot find the right person to turn to or are not ready to open up. Callie’s biggest fear is LOSING, in both the metaphorical and literal senses. Eventually, Callie speaks, but guarded. The fear of losing control over the one thing in her life: her voice, means losing all power (in her eyes) and that terrifies her. Control is such a large part of a teenager’s life. Control by one’s parents, significant others, cliques/friends, and oneself. A great novel for both young men and women to read.



Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — jexter1 @ 2:17 pm

Hello All,

I apologize for my absence this past week. Passover and doctors’ appointments hindered my internet/computer access. Anyway, I read two books for this week… well, attempted one and completed another.

The first novel I attempted was PUSH, by Sapphire. Karen recommended for me to read PUSH since my seminar piece is on sexual content in YA lit. She prefaced handing the book over to me by warning that the novel is extremely graphic, contains not just explicit language, but horrid events that a 12 year-old should never have to endure or see. Karen added that this would be too much and too risky for me to give a student, but it is a novel I should be aware of. Unfortunately, I only made it 40 pages in. Despite the sexual content that I have read for my seminar and for Book Club (e.g. BOY TOY, DOING IT, BLOOD and CHOCOLATE, FOREVER, …), I could not handle the content of this novel. The brutality that Precious, a black 12 year-old girl who is pregnant for the second time with her father’s child, goes through was too much for my stomach and heart to handle. This poor girl is abused, neglected, illiterate, socially inept, learning disabled, and so much more (if I had continued to read, I would know what else encompassed her life). This is the first book in graduate school that I absolutely could not force myself to finish. My apologies.


April 23, 2008

Give a Boy a Gun

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — ebrazee @ 4:59 pm

I read Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser after our last class. About a school shooting, just like Endgame, I found it to be more interesting than Endgame was for me. Give a Boy is written from the points of view of the parents, guidance counselor, a few teachers, friends and neighbors – and even the tormentors – of the two shooters. This multi-faceted story telling made for a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. The book is divided into chapters about each shooter separately, and each grade 7 thru 10, and one titled The Day It Happened. There are also parts of each shooter’s suicide note throughout the book, and they appear in full form at the end. I thought Strasser did an excellent job at conveying their anger and confusion and hopelessness in the letters.

The Introduction and Postscript are narrated by one of the shooter’s stepsister. In the introduction she sets up the perface for the book; she conducts interviews herself in attempt to better understand what happened and how and why. Even though this book is 8 years old, the facts at the bottom of almost every page are still stunning; I imagine some of the statistics are now worse. At the end of the book there is a list of school shootings that occurred while the book was in the works (a startling 19 in less than a year!)

Although you can probably guess at the ending of this book since it’s about a school shooting incident, there is a surprise ending. And it’s pretty gruesome… but good.

This is Karen’s book so I’ll be returning it to her at tomorrow’s class unless of course someone wishes to read it next.


April 21, 2008

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — kariredmond @ 7:16 pm

Like Sarah (who is, btw, kicking all of our asses in blogging this week- you go girl) I also read Perks and really really enjoyed it! I seriously need to find something different, however, because all I have read recently has been in the “heavy” category.  Heaviness aside, I fell in love with Charlie and his quirkiness, his dorkdom, and his constant questioning of the unknown.  I also really enjoyed the 90’s references but wonder if those would turn off a younger reader? Like Sarah mentioned there is a plethora of worthy discussion topics in this novel, and one I was particularly interested in was the topic of teen homosexuality.  Besides, Luna, I haven’t read any of the teen sexuality novels and really thought that the portrayal of homosexuality in this novel seemed realistic and tasteful.



Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — sostrom @ 9:29 am

I realize that Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is something that a lot of people have read or at least heard about, which is why I chose it for my book club book.  It was written in 2000, and Spinelli has since written a sequel, Love, Stargirl.  I can see why this book is so popular and has such longevity.  The title character is an extremely altruistic tenth grader.  At first she is looked at with curiosity, then she is accepted, and then, when her altruism seems too far-reaching for her fellow students, she is shunned.  Stargirl’s altruism is an example for readers of all ages.  Leo’s (the narrator) struggle to answer the question, “Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others?” will also resonate with all readers.  I would recommend Stargirl for younger or struggling readers.  It’s a quick read whose simple language and thought-provoking message will last long after you finish it.


April 19, 2008

Each Little Bird…and More on Twilight

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — katefrazer @ 10:08 am

I have read Each Little Bird that Singsby Deborah Wiles for book club this week.  The book focused on many common issues young adults face, such as issues with friends and younger family members and the loss of people you love.  However, the context in which all of this happened was rather unique.  It is narrated by 10 year-old Comfort Snowberger, who lives and works with her family at the funeral home they run.  Obviously the book tackled issues with death, showing both the emotional side and a little humor as well.  This book was recommended to me by a student last year, and I’m glad she did.  Comfort was a likable narrator, both fiesty and funny!

I also finished the three books that are currently out in Twilight series this weekend.  The second and third books are New Moon and Eclipse.  I definitely enjoyed Eclipse more than New Moon, but they were both great and very addicting.  I don’t want to give anything away about them, as they all build upon the previous novel.  I would recommend them.  I know a few of my students will be asking me if I finished them when we get back from break, and I am excited to have that discussion!

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