What's in a Name
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What's in a Name

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  16 reviews
What's really going on here?There's something brewing in the town of Scrub Harbor and it's not just about changing the name from Scrub Harbor to Folly Bay. O'Neill has a secret. Adam is starting over. Christine has a crush. Gretchen has a cause. You'll get an earful getting to know them!
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Simon Pulse (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Wittlinger is an asset to the LGBT young adult market. This novel, written in chapters from each individual's first person perspective, has a strong premise and an excellent theme. However, the format made it necessary to continually review previous chapters in order to understand the peer group and their relationships to each other. This became tedious. The ten stories each have their own strengths and come together beautifully by the end. But it takes effort for the reader.

I have read this a s...more
Aug 20, 2008 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens, teens who read, teens who don't read, adults
Recommended to Julia by: I read all books by Wittlinger
Shelves: ya
This novel concerns identity, not just of the kids in town, but if the town itself.
Adults in the town of Scrub Harbor want to change its name to Folly Bay, which is the basis for this YA novel about identity told in ten different first person chapters. Georgie lives above a dog groomer and her single mom is the art teacher at her high school. O’Neill is trying an experiment from his English teacher: be honest. So he comes out in a poem to his friend Christine the editor of the school literary ma...more
This is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. I've already placed it on my Amazon Wish List.

The story unfolds in a very unique fashion, with each chapter being narrated by a different student. The town of Scrub Harbor is considering changing its name to Folly Bay, and families are on one side or the other of the debate, for various reasons. The main reason for the name change is that people believe the name "Scrub Harbor" is unattractive, and tourists will be more enticed to come to "...more
Kristin Aker Howell
Feb 25, 2009 Kristin Aker Howell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 12 & up
These connected short stories could be read individually, but I read them in one sitting. They are each told from a different teen's point of view, addressing themes of love, identity, including sexual, and class. The voices are authentic, with a rare off-note, and varied. My favorite is "Ricardo," if you only want to read one. Whittlinger does a good job keeping twelve characters distinct and the reader turning pages.
This book has an inner story that mirrors that outer story - I love that. The title, What's in a Name, has to do with a group of people that want to change the name of a town and the way all of the people feel about - how political it becomes. Each chapter is told from the POV of a different teen. Each teen is so well defined and the chapters and what happens are all skillfully interwoven. A great book to study.
Apr 18, 2010 Spencer added it
Shelves: sophomore-q3
I really enjoyed this book. Everyone should read what's in a name because I think it teaches us very valuable lessons. We see the effect of generalizing, racism and popularity. It also touches on issues many of us can relate to because we are all in a typical high school situation. There is a lot to be said about high school drama and What's in a Name says it well.
Each of the chapters in this novel is written from a different POV. Together, ten characters form a complete story. It was a great technique, particularly because each character had a diverse and distinct voice.

Favorite line:
"All I want to tell him is: I am the person I am because you are the person you are. I'd like him to know that." (page 56)
Ally Gatien
I liked this book because I liked the story of the book, and the way that I could relate to the book. The story had many times where she was talking about school and I could've said that sometimes happens to me too. Overall I would reccomend this book.
Olean Public Library
-This book is about a town trying to change its name, which splits the town into the Follys and the Scrubs, or the rich and the poor. This book also shows that people can come together as friends to be proud of their town.
I liked Hard Love when I read it during my summer education courses, but this one just didn't do it for me. Each chapter is the story of a seperate character and, although some chapters were quite good, others just fell flat.
Enjoyable story. Wittlinger raises plenty of interesting identity issues. I enjoyed the way the story was told from the different characters' points of view and it seemed it would ring true with teens.
A very easy young adult read. Set in a fictional suburb of Boston, this is an enjoyable book that students/reluctant readers in 8th grade and up can access and relate to independently.
As a big fan of Ellen Wittlinger when I was in high school, I remember being very disappointed with this book. It was a let-down from her other books.
Taryn Renay
Came full circle, but felt unfinished.
I like everything by her. This isn't her best work, but as always it's a story that makes you think.
Well-done, but not as good as other Wittlinger books. Told from different points of view.
Janelle marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2014
Annie marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2014
Sajean marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2014
Amy marked it as to-read
May 23, 2014
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Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of the teen novels Heart on My Sleeve, The Long Night of Leo and Bree, Razzle, What's in a Name, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book, a Lambda Literary Award winner, and a Booklist Editors' Choice). She has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and an M.F.A. from the University...more
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