I was surprised at how *sad* this book made me feel. Schwa's invisibility felt kinda wrenching to me, not particularly funny. I think it's possible thI was surprised at how *sad* this book made me feel. Schwa's invisibility felt kinda wrenching to me, not particularly funny. I think it's possible that I'm being too tenderhearted and the idea of being/ feeling invisible in the midst of a meatheaded world will resonate with many readers. It took me some time to get into the novel, but once Old Man Crawley came onto the scene, the pages started turning. He reminded me of the wheelchair-bound, cranky Lebowski in The Big Lebowski, and I liked him for that. ...more
This is one of my favorites to recommend to reluctant readers. It's pretty short and has a compelling plot told from an unusual perspective, that of aThis is one of my favorites to recommend to reluctant readers. It's pretty short and has a compelling plot told from an unusual perspective, that of a teenage boy raising his newborn daughter. There aren't too many characters to track (lots of characters can get confusing to a struggling reader), but it's not so straightforward that it gets boring. There's plenty to wonder about here, especially the question of what happened to Nia, the teen mom. ...more
Growing up in a small New York town in 1968, Doug is surrounded by bullies, including his father, brother, and gym teacher to name just a few. When hiGrowing up in a small New York town in 1968, Doug is surrounded by bullies, including his father, brother, and gym teacher to name just a few. When his family moves to a new town because his father has lost a job, Doug initially fronts like a tough guy, trying to hide his many vulnerabilities. He survives his toxic home environment when he makes a friend, sassy Lil, the daughter of the town grocer, and realizes his passion for drawing. The book is a testament to the transformative power of art, friendship and a few caring adults in the life of a troubled kid.
I would give this a five but felt that the plot got a little too busy in places, and a few of the personal transformations felt a little too easy. Also, who on earth designed the book cover? I don't think it does justice to the book at all! ...more
An important book I'm really glad to have read. Sharon Flake is a voice I trust and turn to in discussions about YA literature. One of her primary conAn important book I'm really glad to have read. Sharon Flake is a voice I trust and turn to in discussions about YA literature. One of her primary concerns is that kids of color don't see themselves reflected enough on the covers of YA books--they need to be able to read more books about kids who solve mysteries, fall in love, take big risks or travel to other planets--who look something like them.
The Skin I'm In is about a dark-skinned girl, Maleeka, who is bullied because of the darkness of her skin and funky, homemade clothes. For protection, she makes a deal with the baddest girl in her class, Char. Maleeka's tenuous situation falls apart when an unusual new teacher shows up at her school, a woman who is comfortable with herself in spite of the massive scar on her face. A powerful novel about bullying, insiders & outsiders, and the long, hard road to self-love and acceptance. ...more
Quentin is a high school senior growing up in a central Florida town. He doesn't play in the band but hangs with the band crowd, trying to fly under tQuentin is a high school senior growing up in a central Florida town. He doesn't play in the band but hangs with the band crowd, trying to fly under the radar and avoid the horrors inflicted on his kind by the cool kids. He is in love with his neighbor Margot Roth Spiegelman, the girl who has entranced him since childhood with her bold & mysterious ways. When she comes to his window dressed as a ninja and summons him on an adventure, he obeys. The next day, Margot disappears. He tries to find her following clues she has left behind, a blend of references to Walt Whitman, Woody Guthrie, and abandoned subdivisions. As his search for Margot deepens, he begins to understand all that he doesn't know about her.
Quentin's voice feels authentic in a goofy, seventeen-year-old boy kind of way, which makes the language less than poetic in places, especially in the first 2/3 of the novel. As he gains insight, his narrative voice becomes more graceful. The guy is downright poetic in the last few chapters.
As much as I enjoyed the plot-line of the novel--I was definitely turning the pages to find out what had happened to Margot--I think I enjoyed even more the meditation on place. What does it mean to come of age in the suburban United States with all of the subdivisions and mini-malls that look disorientingly the same? A major part of Margot's crisis has to do with a search for authenticity. She's trying to get away from the fakeness of the 'paper towns' but they are all she's ever known.
Is Margot alive? If so, does she even want to be found? What about Quentin? Does he really know who Margot Roth Spielman is? How will the search for Margot change Quentin? All these questions and more await Paper Towns readers.
Two narrators, both named Will Grayson, live their lives in an emotional state of paralysis in the suburbs of Chicago. They do not know each other andTwo narrators, both named Will Grayson, live their lives in an emotional state of paralysis in the suburbs of Chicago. They do not know each other and have little in common until their lives intersect outside of an unlikely spot in Chicago. They are unwittingly brought together by an enormous football player/ high school student/producer/ director/ actor/ drama queen named Tiny Cooper. Tiny is in the midst of writing and producing a high school musical about his own life, and both Will Grayson and Will Grayson achieve epiphanies as the musical approaches opening night.
This novel is co-written by John Green (author of Looking for Alaska) and David Levithan (author of Boy Meets Boy and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and the two alternate chapters taking on the voice of one of the Will Graysons. Take the cynicism and dark humor of a high school depressive and blend it with the camp, drama and queeniness of a high school musical, and you've got Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I can't recommend it highly enough! ...more
Technically, this is a YA novel, but I've got a hunch that it's a bigger hit with adult readers. This is a classic coming-of-age story that chroniclesTechnically, this is a YA novel, but I've got a hunch that it's a bigger hit with adult readers. This is a classic coming-of-age story that chronicles Jacob Green's trials navigating his aggressive, controlling father, his parents' disintegrating marriage, and problems at school. He finds comfort (maybe a little something else?) from his sexy babysitter who likes to give back-scratches, all the while going back and forth between admiration and confusion at his brother's rebellion against their (sorta) Orthodox Jewish upbringing. I practically peed my pants laughing a few times only to have my heart torn out on the next page with the agonies of this fifteen-year old boy's existence. Check it out--you might like it. ...more
The summer before her senior year, Beatrice moves to a new town as her academic father chases the next best thing in university life. She hopes to makThe summer before her senior year, Beatrice moves to a new town as her academic father chases the next best thing in university life. She hopes to make a friend or two and maybe get a grip on her mother's increasingly bizarre behavior. She ends up becoming friends with the social outcast at her Baltimore private school, and they enter into something that's not exactly a romance, but deeper & more enmeshed than an everyday friendship. For anyone with an affinity for weird kids (or who identifies as a weird kid), Beatrice is a terrific new voice in the literary landscape. Other books may depict teenage outsiders who are cutters or drug addicts, and that's all fine, but Beatrice doesn't go down any such paths. She's true to herself, listening to late night radio on the AM dial, explaining happiness in terms of Icelandic hairdressers, and dressing up as a beheaded John the Baptist. Check her out. ...more