Elle’s mom’s new boyfriend doesn’t like teenagers, so Elle is forced to live in an apartment on her own. On the first day she moves in, she meets a ki...moreElle’s mom’s new boyfriend doesn’t like teenagers, so Elle is forced to live in an apartment on her own. On the first day she moves in, she meets a kind young man, Frank, upon whom she quickly develops a serious crush. But when Elle learns Frank is transgender, she’s forced to re-evaluate many of her assumptions about the world – and her relationships with other people.
Hyde’s book is a quick read featuring well-developed characters who confront their own prejudices in an honest, messy fashion. Although the plotting can be slightly contrived at times, the dialogue is real and emotionally satisfying, sure to appeal to older teens and adults who enjoy realistic fiction involving contemporary social issues and personal relationships. The one false note for me was when Elle is talking to another character (who also displays some gender fluidity) about Frank and she asks him if he’s trans, and he replies, “Not really. Not the way he is. I mean, I don’t want to have surgery. I don’t need to be a girl.” I felt like Hyde makes an unnecessarily sharp and problematic distinction – implying that Frank’s identity as a transman is somehow more “real” than this other character’s gender identity because he elected to have surgery. Other than that, I think Hyde’s portrayal of trans, queer, and genderqueer characters is well-rounded and believable.
Meet the freak: Charlie is definitely dancing to his own tune. He is crazily smart and impulsive. He acts like a big kid who doesn’t worry about what...moreMeet the freak: Charlie is definitely dancing to his own tune. He is crazily smart and impulsive. He acts like a big kid who doesn’t worry about what people think to an extreme. His family is very poor and his mom is very ill. He likes to pretend he is Superman.
Meet the magnet: Gloria is beautiful and annoyed. She keeps a “Freak Folio” to record her interactions with the freaks of the world. Her father is gone. Her mother is perfect (high-priced lawyer with not a hair out of place). Her older sister dresses like she’s straight out of a manga. Her brother is dead.
Maybe it wasn’t love at first sight, but it was something. Charlie knew this girl was anything but typical, particularly to him. The first thing he thought when he saw her was that she was the most beautiful girl in the world. This is all fine and good, but Charlie didn’t know Gloria was also in a very grumpy/bitchy phase. This caused a slight set back in what was to come. But in an almost cosmic way, Charlie and Gloria develop a meaningful relationship. They’re not sure what this is at first and Gloria is too sad and bitchy to see it at first, but then…
This book bothered me, then grew on me, and then I loved it… sort of like the relationship it explores. I would definitely recommend it to older teens and even mature younger teens. Serious themes are explored about familial relationships, mourning, growing up, and falling in love, but there is nothing here that would make more sensitive readers blush. The dialog is witty and rings true. My favorite aspect of this book is that the characters are both likable and annoying, just like all of us. (less)
A funny, informative, and accessible guide to sex and sexuality for teens of all ages and sexual orientations written by the host of the web show “The...moreA funny, informative, and accessible guide to sex and sexuality for teens of all ages and sexual orientations written by the host of the web show “The Midwest Teen Sex Show.” This book manages to cover a lot of vital information including basic anatomy, sexual identity, masturbation, all varieties of sexual practices, birth control, safe sex, relationships, and more in less than 200 pages. Sexual content is explicit, but never exploitative, and teens will appreciate the author’s honesty, candor and non-judgmental attitude on a wide range of topics that most adults feel very uncomfortable talking to teens about. The author’s tongue-in-cheek, humorous tone is a real breath of fresh air in a subject area that is usually presented to teens in a deadly serious (and deadly boring) manner.
The chapters on dating & relationships, kinks, fantasies & fetishes, and communicating about sex are also noteworthy, since these topics are rarely explored (and certainly not with such humor and respect for teens’ intelligence and feelings) in most nonfiction books about sex for teens. There is also a good but brief list of online, print and other resources on sexuality and sexual health for teens in the back of the book. My only complaint is that I wish the author had included anecdotes from actual teens, a la “Changing Bodies, Changing Lives,” (which is also a fantastic guide to sex & relationships for teens but unfortunately hasn’t been updated since 1998), so teen readers would have the opportunity to read about their peers’ experiences and feelings with sex and relationships in their own words. Otherwise, I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it to all teens. (less)
Who was Carrie Bradshaw, heroine of the hit HBO TV series “Sex and the City,” before she moved to her beloved New York and started writing a sex colum...moreWho was Carrie Bradshaw, heroine of the hit HBO TV series “Sex and the City,” before she moved to her beloved New York and started writing a sex column? In her first YA novel, writer Candace Bushnell answers this question by taking the reader back to 1980 and Carrie’s senior year of high school in a small Connecticut town. At first, things are not going so well for Carrie. Her mother recently passed away, she’s been rejected from a prestigious writing program, and she’s obsessed with the gorgeous but remote Sebastian Kydd, who just happens to be dating the meanest and prettiest girl in school. As Carrie struggles with these issues, she comes to grips with who she is and begins to figure out who she wants to be.
Bushnell is frank but not explicit in her portrayal of her teen characters’ sex lives (Carrie is a virgin, but her friends are not), and casual drinking is frequently depicted (but not illegal, since it’s 1980 and the age limit is 18), so this book may be more appropriate for older teens. I wonder how many teens who aren’t already fans of the TV series will pick up this book – adult SATC fans are the natural audience for this title and they’re definitely the ones driving up the holds list on this title at the library. I would recommend this title to older teens who liked the show, but also teens who enjoy gossipy high school dramas with catty female characters like Gossip Girl, The A-List, Private, etc. This book is better written and thoughtful more than those series, but it also features a lot of drama, back-stabbing and general unpleasantness between several of the main female characters (all about boys, of course!) that reminded me more of those types of teen books than other kinds of realistic teen fiction. Positive reviews from Booklist, PW, and Kirkus. (less)
Bro-Jitsu has a great title and a good concept, but fails to deliver. The book lists techniques and ways to get back at your siblings (hopefully) with...moreBro-Jitsu has a great title and a good concept, but fails to deliver. The book lists techniques and ways to get back at your siblings (hopefully) without getting in trouble. This book is great for 5th - 7th graders, but won't keep the attention of older teens or adults. I couldn't actually finish it myself because of the one note humor. Cheresse(less)
Yancy’s brother is a terror. Yancy is not. Yancy has to get away or he may not live. So, Yancy takes off into the suburban wilderness of Southern Cali...moreYancy’s brother is a terror. Yancy is not. Yancy has to get away or he may not live. So, Yancy takes off into the suburban wilderness of Southern California and finds a place to hide for a while.
Mental illness, fear, growing up, are all themes in this engaging, “not your little brother’s diary of wimpy kid”. (less)
I gave it 3 stars because I'm not a big sports book fan, but it's a perfectly good example of the genre. Issues are address, problems are resolved, et...moreI gave it 3 stars because I'm not a big sports book fan, but it's a perfectly good example of the genre. Issues are address, problems are resolved, etc. Plus, local author. (less)
Really 3.5 stars because Louis Sachar is such a great writer that he can make any story interesting--but not more because he really had to work to mak...moreReally 3.5 stars because Louis Sachar is such a great writer that he can make any story interesting--but not more because he really had to work to make this one so. To be fair, it's the best young adult novel about the game of bridge I've ever read. Everyone said, "You can just skip all the parts about bridge and enjoy the story" and this was true, but I'd have preferred to read a book I didn't want to skip any parts of.
Pros: The main character is appealing and I think it's good to have books about relationships between teens and older adults (there is really only one other teen in the book, plus two who are mostly off-stage, and an eleven-year-old sister). In many ways, it's much like Holes, which I loved: short, episodic chapters; a little magic realism; the story of star-crossed lovers from the past affecting the contemporary story. In another way, it's a traditional sports story (underdog triumphs, etc.) only the sport is mental.
I'll definitely recommend it to those teens who have read "everything" and appreciate good characters and a good story, but I won't booktalk it. (less)
The Prince of Mist was written in 1993 when Zafon was in his early twenties. It has only recently been published in English, but although this could m...moreThe Prince of Mist was written in 1993 when Zafon was in his early twenties. It has only recently been published in English, but although this could make the book feel dated, this is one of those stories that feel timeless.
Timeless kind of like Something Wicked This Way Comes. Also like SWTWC in the way that it almost brings you to tears you are so scared, but always brings you back just in time.
The story takes place during World War II. Max's father decides that he will move his family to a safer, sleepier town, than the large city that they currently live in. Max is 13 when this happens. He is the boy in the middle of an older, brooding teenage sister, and a younger, silly and smart little sister. The relationships between the family members are a bit underdeveloped but, because they are central to the story and played a role in my enjoyment of this story, I think there is enough there to support the story.
Over the course of the story Max learns a lot about himself and his abilities. He also gets to know and really love his older sister. I thought this was one of the best parts of the book. The siblings gain respect and trust in each other and form a lifelong bond. Awesome.
Enough of the touchy feely stuff... this book is also pretty terrifying at times. There is a very very bad character, The Prince of Mist himself, who is evil incarnate and doesn't give a fig for anyone but himself. The Prince of Mist is also beyond human, likes to dress as a clown (seriously scary one, too), and never forgets you once he has met you (so scary!). Max is really no match for TPoM and this makes the story even better. The story is much bigger than just Max and his family, but Max's persistance and courage help to resolve a long and tragic tale.
I put this book on the middle school shelf because I think it is definitely appropriate for younger teens. The horror is, like I said, just enough and doesn't go too far. There is a love story, but it is integrated well into the overall story and is very tame as far as physical contact (some kissing on the beach, yummy!).
The tale of 14 year old Lucia begins with her charmed life in Cuba. She loves her home and her family, but when Castro comes into power he threatens e...moreThe tale of 14 year old Lucia begins with her charmed life in Cuba. She loves her home and her family, but when Castro comes into power he threatens everything. Her friends turn into revolutionaries, her father is threatened and she sees abuse and death all around her. Lucia’s parents send her and her brother to America to get them out, but cannot come themselves. Lucia and Frankie have to learn English, immerse in a new culture and make new friends, all the while worrying about their parents and whether they will ever be able to return to Cuba. The story is well plotted and this book is a nice option to give to those doing historical fiction reports. It is suitable for all ages--many adults would like it as well.(less)
Wish I had this book for the YALSA Travel list. All forms of transportation represented. Ry goes by train to camp, but ends up on a journey with a nic...moreWish I had this book for the YALSA Travel list. All forms of transportation represented. Ry goes by train to camp, but ends up on a journey with a nice man by doubledecker truck, station wagon, plane, etc. His parents are sailing the Carribean, his Grandfather has fallen down and can't get up. The dogs are trying to find their old home. Comic style drawing add to the story and enable the dogs to talk. An epic journey with interesting language and characters. 12 and up (less)